Identity Management Tops the Agenda at Catalyst Conference

Chen: It should come as no surprise that the theme for this year's Burton Group Catalyst Conference is "Enterprise Identity Management: Creating a Secure Business Context."

By now, it should be obvious that identity management and Web services are closely related. In order for Web services to flourish, good identity-based mechanisms are necessary.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the theme for this years Burton Group Catalyst Conference is "Enterprise Identity Management: Creating a Secure Business Context." The conference, which runs from July 9 through 11 in San Francisco, is in its tenth year.

Catalyst has focused on identity services since its inception, and over the years, it has been the place IT managers have gone to learn about the latest identity strategies. It was at Catalyst 2001 that we started hearing about SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language). At Catalyst 2002, OASIS hosted the first public interoperability demonstration of SAML when 12 vendors came together to demonstrate real working code. The Liberty Alliance took the opportunity that year to announce a specification that leveraged SAML. And Microsoft and IBM discussed their WS (Web services) framework.

This year will be no different in terms of exciting identity management news. Jamie Lewis, Burton Group CEO and research chair, says to expect several developments around identity management and Web services. As the Liberty Alliance and Microsoft/IBM continue to develop Web services specifications that follow their own roadmaps, the question on the lips of attendees is whether or not those roadmaps will converge, Lewis said. And if so, how?

Along with identity services, Lewis said interoperability around provisioning will be another big issue at the conference. This year, OASIS will host another demonstration featuring SPML (services provisioning markup language). Although announcements of vendor support will likely emerge after that demonstration, it still isnt clear if SPML will have the backing seen by SAML. Catalyst will likely be the place for organizations to see who is and isnt lining up behind SPML.

Most of the emphasis will be on identity management and security, but Catalysts Networking and Telecom Strategies track will focus primarily on IP telephony. Next year, Lewis said to expect a new two-and-a-half-day track solely on Web services, which is a two-third of a day event this year.

Lewis said he expects around 1,200 people to attend Catalyst this year. My colleagues and I will be in attendance as well. I look forward to watching you engage in the identity management discussion.

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