Microsoft Throws Hat Into ID Management Ring

Microsoft Identity Integration Server 2003 allows Active Directory to communicate with other LDAP-enabled directories.

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday plans to announce its new Identity Integration Server 2003, a stand-alone identity management server meant for large enterprise deployments. The new offering is Microsofts first real jump into the ID management market and comes at a time when a gaggle of vendors are all fighting for sales and name recognition in the emerging space.

The key feature of MIIS will be its ability to allow Active Directory to communicate with other LDAP-enabled directories, such as Sun Microsystems Inc.s Sun ONE Identity Server and Novell Inc.s eDirectory. MIIS is essentially a major overhaul of what was previously known as Microsoft MetaDirectory Services and will use Microsofts own SQL Server as the database for user information.

Until now, Microsoft has relied on the prevalence of Windows to drive support for Active Directory and has shown little interest in tying into other vendors directories. But customer demand for interoperability between directories has given rise to the need for MIIS.

Like most other ID management solutions, MIIS is expected to give administrators a single point from which to manage all of their users identity information and a way to quickly push changes to a wide variety of applications. Microsoft may also include a version of its TrustBridge technology, which was introduced last year as a way for companies using Active Directory to exchange user identity data.

As with most Microsoft announcements, the introduction of MIIS will be accompanied by support from a variety of vendors.

OpenNetwork Technologies will announce that its Universal Identity Platform supports MIIS and will serve as the Web single sign-on solution for the new server. OpenNetworks platform is built on .Net technology and includes support for Active Directory in Application Mode, a new capability in Windows Server 2003. ADAM, as its known, allows administrators to store directory information that is only applicable to one application in a local directory store. This data can be modified without changing the main corporate directory because ADAM runs as an independent service and not as an operating system service.

The Universal Identity Platform also includes support for all of the Windows 2003 servers as well as SAML and the new Service Provisioning Markup Language, company officials said.

Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., is entering an ID management space that already has numerous strong, established players. Novell has been the leader in this area for some time, but Sun has recently made several ID management announcements and plans to introduce a new joint offering with Waveset Technologies Inc. next week.

And Oblix Inc. will also announce that it will provide support for MIIS.