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Thor finally gets it

Jan 22, 20033 mins
Access ControlEnterprise Applications

* Thor embraces the identity management revolution

Last year, I picked out Thor Technologies as an example of a security software company that didn’t “get” the identity management revolution that was caused by the ubiquity of directory services. What led to this conclusion was some hilarious, if scary, comments sent to me by a Thor executive (see editorial links below). That person isn’t with Thor any more. In fact, Thor’s entire executive team is so new that some still can’t find their way back to their desk from the washroom (that’s a joke, son). But more importantly, they’ve brought the company into the 21st century.

Thor began a dozen years ago in the provisioning business. Not, I hasten to add the electronic provisioning business we talk about so much, but the original provisioning so beloved of telephone companies.

AT&T had provisioning systems that could semi-automate the business of giving out phone numbers, extensions, etc., to business customer’s employees. Anyone wanting to challenge AT&T in the long-distance field needed to offer similar services. AT&T rival, MCI wanted to win business from investment house Merrill Lynch by offering a provisioning system. Enter Brian Young whose fledgling organization took on the task. It was successful and a new business was born.

After a dozen years of providing provisioning solutions which, more and more, got into the security aspects of the telecommunications network, Thor can, indeed, offer a unique perspective on the business of e-provisioning.

In fact, Thor now believes it can successfully compete with the e-provisioning “big guys” – Business Layers, Waveset, and Tivoli. Thor’s product is called Xellerate and it is at Version 6.5.

According to Thor, six attributes set Xellerate apart from its competitors. These are:

*Open And Scalable Architecture – Xellerate’s modular nature supports unbounded scalability, redundancy, failover, load balancing and rapid recovery while being hardware- and software-vendor agnostic. Xellerate maintains State (important when carrying out multiple operations on a single object) and is standards-based (Java, JDBC, WBEM, LDAP v3 support, UDDI/WSDL/SOAP and more).

*Xellerate supports any ANSI SQL 92 based data store.

*The product was specifically designed to provide Business Process Management (BPM) support: it includes extensive workflow capabilities (asynchronous and synchronous), can follow existing business rules and supports process modeling.

*Thor has enhanced the product with easy to use point-and-click integration with source targets through its patented Adapter Factory technology, while building in self documenting protocols and allowing the customer to select agent location – remote or local.

*The built-in reporting & auditing functions fulfill certification requirements.

*Xellerate provides a rich package of groupings and templates so that actions can be controlled by individual triggers as well as by rules, roles groups and even organizations.

I’m not entirely pleased with all of the attributes; certainly the necessity for an ANSI SQL 92 database is a sore point (although most will have one already installed somewhere in the enterprise), but the important thing is that Thor is now in the directory-enabled family. We should applaud that while those of you interested in e-provisioning solutions should investigate Xellerate ( and compare it to other offerings you may be considering.