Friday, April 25, 2008


Oracle Authentication Services for Operating Systems

Mark Wilcox discusses the first release of software that simplifies the authentication and account management process of Unix/Linux servers. On one level, this feels like a good story, but on another it feels like a long-term trap.

First, if you are running Solaris, this you can setup NIS domains to aid in this problem. However, if you are left out in the wilderness because you are using Redhat Linux and haven't been pestering them to provide equivalent functionality, then your choices are more limited. There are however some sound alternatives that are less expensive than what Mark is proposing.

Consider that if you are a shop running Active Directory, Microsoft provides Active Directory Services for Unix where by you can have Unix servers and daemons participate as if they are native to the Windows domain. This simplifies administration significantly, cheap to rollout and even cheaper over the lifetime. There are of course some features missing, which Microsoft will be addressing in upcoming releases.

You can also consider third party software such as Vintela and Centrify which also provide deeper Unix/Linux integration to Active Directory. Anyway, I humbly predict that the open source community will realize that this type of integration should be in the box and not something add-on and therefore will address within the next six months.

As for Oracle, they shouldn't worry as most architects in large enterprises are asleep at the helm. Provide them with good Powerpoint and some trinkets, and this product will do well...

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