Putting Novells iChain in Its Place

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2001-07-02 Print this article Print

As a reborn security company, Novell Inc. has some pretty good products to tout.

As a reborn security company, Novell Inc. has some pretty good products to tout. But businesses should make sure that Novells claims arent exceeding reality. eWeek Labs recently met with Novell to discuss its forthcoming iChain 2.0, which is shaping up as a strong competitor to other access-control products such as Netegrity Inc.s SiteMinder.

iChain handles access control through the use of a proxy server, an approach that is easy to implement and manage but lacks the fine-grained control of products that require plug-ins or server development. With Version 2.0, Novell, in Provo, Utah, has added an Extensible Markup Language-based technology that gives iChain much more granular control than is traditionally found in proxy-based systems.

However, Novells claim that this provides the same level of control as plug-in-based approaches isnt accurate. When we asked Novell officials about providing fine-grained access control to Web-based components and within database-driven applications—something that products such as SiteMinder have always provided—they conceded that development at the server level would be required to gain equivalent controls.

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr Rapoza's current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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