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Crossing paths with SPML

Jan 26, 20043 mins
Access ControlEnterprise Applications

* Why we should take note of Service Provisioning Markup Language

I highlighted Service Provisioning Markup Language last week when referring to its mention in a survey of identity federation projects. SPML also came up last week in a conversation I had with former Waveset Vice President Mark McClain, and it came up again in an announcement Novell made about a change in product alignment, packaging and nomenclature.

That’s a lot of discussion about an aspect of identity management that I referred to only two weeks ago in my New Year’s resolutions newsletter (see link below). In that issue, I said that while electronic provisioning fueled the identity management revolution, it’s time to move on beyond that particular niche. Maybe provisioning isn’t going to go quietly.

McClain may be a former Waveset vice president but he’s now vice president of Identity Management Marketing at Sun – and he’s still sitting in the same office. You’ll remember, I hope, that Sun recently completed the acquisition of Waveset. SPML came up because Waveset’s Darren Rolls chairs the OASIS Technical Committee, which is creating the data exchange language.

According to McClain, Darren will continue in that position even though he now works for Sun (as does just about everyone else formerly with Waveset). In fact, Rolls was out of the office at an SPML “face-to-face” meeting while I was talking to Mark. I’ll sit down with Darren in a couple of weeks to find out where SPML v. 2 is going.

Novell, meanwhile, rolled out “Novell Nsure Identity Manager 2” which is, essentially, a new name for DirXML with a lot of “extra bits” thrown in. DirXML, of course, is the basis for Novell’s provisioning product, Nsure Resources. But, I’d recommend you not look into buying Nsure Resources just yet, as all of its functionality is being rolled into the new Nsure Identity Manager product and Nsure Resources will quietly drift away. That’s just one more sign that the “stand-alone” provisioning solution is fast becoming a thing of the past as the entire concept of identity management evolves. That’s not a bad thing.

I remember when I discovered Xtree (and some people still remember it fondly – see, the utility that graphically presented my PC’s file system way back in 1986 (it was already a year old). Then came Xtreenet in 1989, a graphical display of a server’s file system. But eventually this functionality was built into Windows and tied tightly to the file system. Windows’ File Manager is a lot more efficient than Xtree while maintaining all of its functionality. That’s how I feel about provisioning – it’s time to roll it into a full-blown identity management package so that it’s more tightly integrated with the rest of the identity system. At least one company disagrees, though, and I’ll talk about them next time.