Sharing Attributes

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-07-21 Print this article Print

Ashish Larivee, director of product marketing for Novells Nsure (Novell Security Identity Management) and exteNd (Novells application development of Web services technology), said Odyssey is technology that enables centralized authentication, policy management and single sign-on at the service level so that enterprises dont have to build it into each and every application concerned. What do businesses get from this? "You can enable single sign-on through federation of identity, which means you can share identity attributes without violating user privacy," Larivee said. "With federation enabling single sign-on, youre able to utilize users identity attributes to provide them accessibility to more applications—not just from the pure authentication point of view but also by sharing user attributes … so you can apply policies and business rules to it, and do all of that without compromising users privacy."
Odyssey is also based on SAML and is expected to ship in the first half of 2005. It will enter beta testing within a few months, Larivee said.
Mike Neuenschwander, an analyst with Burton Group, said the interesting thing about Novells announcement is that it was the first company to talk about going beyond what the Liberty Alliance is now addressing by attempting functions such as provisioning. "Its using a protocol thats a standard, fairly well-accepted, to do something thats necessary," he said. "On one hand, the Liberty Alliance suggests theres an ability to capture information youre sending over a [Liberty Alliance] protocol. If you send information about identity and say So-and-so is authenticated, theres the ability to capture that information and store it in a secure way. "Novells saying, Why not create a new account at the same time if theres a new user? Not only avoid sign-on, but avoid the expense of creating and managing accounts. Thats something the SPML [Service Provision Markup Language] group has been working on … for a while." Its not clear, though, how successful Novell will be at getting provisioning up and running. "What Novell is doing will [provide the opportunity] to do similar scenarios with what SPML is doing, but with Liberty," Neuenschwander said. "They need to clarify how that can be done and what their take is on SPML." Check out eWEEK.coms Developer & Web Services Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

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Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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