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 applicationsnot 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 http://developer.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.