Sun To Ship Identity Management Federation Services

To that end, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft are extending their identity management platforms with federation capabilities to enable cross-company pollination.

On Monday, Sun unveiled the Sun Java System Federation Manager and Sun Java System Identity Manager Service Provider Edition. The new products are designed to allow customers to extend identity management beyond traditional boundaries to partners, suppliers, new devices and external applications, Sun executives said.

For example, Federation Manager will help customers create secure partner networks by automatically linking identities across multiple sites, said Eric Leach, director of product management for Sun Java System Federation Manager at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based vendor. The product also will enable integration among Web services.

With the Service Provider Edition, customers and service providers will get a tool for automating provisioning and account registration through portals, according to Sun. Customers also will be able to create new applications and customize services from third-party providers.

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The new products, slated to be rolled out within 90 days, are add-ons to Sun's Java Enterprise System and plug into the Directory Server Enterprise Edition and Sun Identity Manager. For enabling cross-company authentication, the products are much easier to use than passing certificates, Leach said.

The products are priced on a per-user basis. Federation Manager starts at $150,000, and the Service Provider Edition with Federation Manager included begins at $300,000, Sun executives said.

Microsoft, meanwhile, in the fourth quarter plans to launch an upgrade to Windows Server 2003 that features Active Directory Federation Services. The services, which are slated to be delivered in the Release 2 edition of Windows sServer, will offer cross-company authentication of users, devices and resources.

Sun executives said their company's new federation products support industry standards and will complement Sun and Microsoft's work to enable interoperability between their platforms.

For example, Sun's Federation Manager supports Security Assertions Markup Language (SAML) and several standards backed by the Liberty Alliance, including the Liberty Identity Federation Framework and the Liberty Identity Web Services Framework. And last month, Sun and Microsoft announced the development of new specifications that will enable Web single sign-on between systems that use Liberty protocols and Microsoft's homegrown WS-* Web services architectures.