• United States

Catching up with four ID mgmt. vendors at Catalyst

Aug 09, 20043 mins
Access ControlNetworking

* About Vintela, Blockade Systems, Trusted Network Technologies and Symlabs

Today, in what’s probably my last full review of the events at this year’s Catalyst Conference, I’d like to mention some of the new (or, at least, new-to-me) companies that came to my attention at the show and which deserve some of your attention as well.

I mentioned Vintela in the Windows Networking newsletter last month (see editorial link below). I got the chance to sit down with CEO Dave Wilson and CTO Matt Peterson at Catalyst before running into the company again at last week’s SCO Forum. Vintela is a spin-off from Caldera (now SCO) and has a Kerberos-based, Active Directory-enabled single sign-on package for Linux and Unix – a perfect way to tie in a few ‘nix hosts in a large Windows network.

Toronto’s Blockade Systems is a “new-to-me” company that has been around since 1988. Chief Marketing Officer Rosa Caputo (who’s far too cheerful to be an ex-head of information security for the Bank of Montreal – or maybe she’s happier doing marketing!) was quick to point out that mainframes – so often called “legacy systems” with the connotation of old and on the way out – are still core systems to many enterprises. Blockade has leveraged its long history with mainframes and security to implement single sign-on, self-service password reset and automated provisioning products as part of a user lifecycle suite for enterprises that use mainframes and mini-computers.

Trusted Network Technologies (TNT) founder and CEO Steve Gant, along with CTO Dave Shay, like to talk about “identity management at the network layer.” Heck, they really just want to talk about identity – but mostly because they managed to snag a trademark on the word for its lead product.

Essentially, Identity allows every IP packet to carry its own digital signature without having to change anything between the end points on the network the packet traverses. No PKI, no Secure Sockets Layer, no VPN needed; although you might want to add those things to further enhance your security, TNT doesn’t think most folks will need them. There’s a server and client component to the product, as well as a “gateway” appliance, which vets and approves (or discards) every packet coming in. Read its white papers, they’re fascinating.

Last, but not least, there’s Symlabs, founded by a German, a Finn and a Spaniard, and headquartered in Lisbon (ah, the wonders of the EU!). The company’s engaging Vice President of Marketing and co-founder Felix Gaehtgens (he’s the German) tracked me down to talk about the relatively new (3-year-old) organization.

Symlabs’ main offering is Directory Extender, described as “a virtual directory, LDAP proxy and LDAP gateway all in one.” In reality it’s a high-speed, scriptable directory engine that can fairly quickly and easily be adapted to fill whatever directory need you might have – it extends your existing directory. Symlabs has recently added a Liberty Alliance-based identity management product called Symlabs Liberty Identity Manager (SLIM), which is also worth your time to investigate.

Not many of you will be able to use the products of all four companies, but most of you probably have a need for the offerings of at least one. Take a look, it’s definitely worth the time you’ll spend.