Friday, July 18, 2008

Lost in the Jungle?

To add more thoughts and explanation to my last posting, "Are we lost?"

The idea is to not cut through the jungle every time we have a new initiative  At least solve the integration problem, once.  Don't reinvent the wheel every time you have a new application or new initiative.  Don't replicate data everywhere, employ complex synchronizations, and in general make everything 10X more complicated, compounded with each new deployment. 

Build one platform to plug everything into.  Sounds too good to be true?  Yeah, maybe it's not "everything" yet, but almost.  AND I believe this technology will evolve further and will become even more useful. 

This doesn't address the plethora of applications and methods available in the IdM market, but it does give you the opportunity to not care.  You can integrate any application you want, use any protocol, any schema, any data structure, any security means, any authorization/authentication schemes you want, as many as you want.  That is the power of virtualization. 

For me, within the virtualization platform you need proxy, data modeling, synchronization, service bus, and the ability to do build a correlation index (key mapping) if needed.  If you have these things within a virtualization "platform", then you will be ready to face the future.  You know where you can start, at least your identity stores are integrated into a common platform.

If you need LDAP, you have it. If you have the need for web services, use it. If you need to concatenate, transform, and otherwise alter objects, you have the tools.  If you need to query data, you can, if you need to push / synchronization data, you can.

The beauty is you do this work once; integrate your sources, then you just need to build a virtual object (e.g. in XML) to meet the needs of a new application or initiative and how you want to access it.  This is where you save time, money, and the headaches. 

You might still get lost in the IdM jungle, but at least you have a point of reference, a stronghold in the jungle.  A starting point instead of starting from scratch each time. This means you are free to choose a solution or application based on the business needs and its own merits, not your environment.  Otherwise you get lost in trying to calculate integration costs, deployment times, feasibility studies, and so on.

Solve what we can today, let others worry about the future. "Tomorrow has enough worries of its own." Simplify your workload, use virtualization to solve the problem of identity integration, don't stay lost in the jungle.

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