Sun's identity guru moves up

* Sun adds to its identity numbers

A Texas whirlwind plopped down in the San Francisco Bay Area last week so, naturally, I had to sit down with her for a chat. Sun's Sara Gates used to have what I considered the most interesting title in high tech. Until recently, Gates was Sun's vice president of identity, in charge of vision, strategy and product for all of Sun's identity management systems. She's always been a tireless, indefatigable proponent of identity systems.

In a previous newsletter, I described Gates as "ebullient" and said we'd have to add "peripatetic" to the description because it seemed she was popping up everywhere I looked these days. It appears that Gates and the top brass at Sun thought she had too much free time because she's now taken on new responsibilities.

She's still in charge of identity but she's added other so-called "middleware" apps and services to her portfolio. It's all a fairly recent change, so recent, that there's not really a title for her new position just yet. After all, how can you top "vice president of identity"? (Well, you can, and I'll tell you that story next issue.)

Gates was out here on the West Coast to introduce the new top guy for Sun identity. He's Rob Beauchamp (pronounced Beachem, because he's from Texas) and I'm pleased to say that his experience goes back to his days in enterprise IT - he knows first hand the trouble software, applications, services and "systems" can cause to those who actually have to install and maintain it.

Beauchamp will be reporting to Gates and they do seem to have a good relationship. He called her a "hard act to follow" but also said she should be considered a "freak of nature"! And he still works for her. That was in reference to her ability, it seems, to be motivating her team, writing a white paper, speaking at a conference and logging hundreds of thousands of air miles - all at the same time!

I hadn't heard much in the way of hard news from Sun over the past few months and now I know why - the company was busy consolidating programs and lining up the new product management structure. But both Beauchamp and Gates told me to expect a couple of rounds of "big" news in the fall, beginning around the time of Digital ID World in September. I can hardly wait.

There was other identity news out of Sun last week but it came from (to me) an unlikely source. More on that next time.

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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