Identify, simplify, Centrify

* Centrify DirectControl delivers native AD 'client' for non-Microsoft systems

One of the hardest parts of starting a new technology business these days isn't finding funding (the venture capitalists need to invest somewhere), nor is it finding a market niche or a need to be filled. No, the hardest part is finding a name - something that is both available as a domain name, isn't already the name of another product, and can help identify what it is that your product does.

I got a call last week from Tom Cromelin, PR maven at Centrify, a relatively new start-up in Mountain View, Calif. He invited me to stop by (it's only 10 minutes away from my office) to see what founder Tom Kemp and his team were up to. I knew Kemp from NetIQ (he and I had spoken when NetIQ acquired Mission Critical software), so I was pretty sure he would be doing something that involved Windows servers and/or clients. But "Centrify"? What did that mean?

Just as Julius Caesar said when crossing the Rubicon, "Veni, Vidi, Vici", Kemp's battle cry is "Identify, Simplify, Centrify."

<aside> I'd be willing to bet Centrify first found that centrify.com was available, and then came up with the mantra. </aside>

The company gives the following explanation of Identify, Smplify and Centrify:

* Identify - Consolidate all user accounts into the directory you already own (Active Directory).

* Simplify - Eliminate multiple identity stores and administer your entire environment from a single, familiar interface.

* Centrify - Provide end users with single sign-on and enforce global password and other security policies.

Nothing to argue with there, but nothing really catchy, either. After all, aren't all of your user accounts already in Active Directory?

Well, no. At least not for most people. There are Linux boxes, Solaris hosts, Apache servers (and other Java application environments) - all of which aren't part of Microsoft's vision for Active Directory. That's why I was so enthusiastic last year (http://www.nwfusion.com/newsletters/nt/2004/0726nt1.html) when Vintela announced Vintela Authentication Services - the first service to tie Linux users into your Active Directory environment.

Kemp had the same idea (he says he was very surprised to read the Vintela announcement, he thought he was alone in seeing this need) but decided not to rush to market to counter Vintela's obvious lead in securing dominance in this niche.

Instead, according to Kemp, he'd rather be right than first. He claims that Centrify DirectControl is the only product that:

* Delivers a native Active Directory "client" for non-Microsoft systems - not a synchronization solution.

* Provides a single, seamlessly integrated architecture that delivers Active Directory's authentication, authorization and Group Policy capabilities for both Unix/Linux and Java/J2EE apps - no patchwork of miscellaneous products.

* Makes no costly or intrusive changes to Active Directory - e.g., no schema changes or software on domain controllers.

* Makes no costly or intrusive changes to Unix/Linux - e.g. no rationalization of UIDs.

* Provides centralized management and reporting - no "managing the management system."

The product makes an impressive showing. If you have a heterogeneous environment and you want an effective, non-intrusive way to manage all of your users centrally, then Centrify DirectControl deserves a good look.

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