Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Active Directory 2.0...

Nishant Kaushik wrote a post entitled Is AD really the dominant Identity Store out there?. Of course, I will attempt to provide additional perspective...

Let's analyze Nishant's post:
Nishant, let's consider for a moment that we both agree that every Fortune 500 enterprise has Active Directory (Sun is the oddball) in production. Can we also acknowledge that those not in the Fortune 500 like the medical practice down the street from my house filled with twenty doctors also has Active Directory but probably doesn't have a provisioning system? The ecosystem is made up of more than just large enterprisey customers who purchase Sun directories and store on Sun servers. If we look at the numbers holistically, we can probably conclude that Active Directory outside of the Fortune 500 is even more pervasive that what you have outlined.

Education isn't just making APIs available but requires actually interfacing with developers. If I were to compare/contrast Microsoft to Oracle, I would say that Oracle's model of interaction tends to be with Architects in large enterprises and the CIO while Microsoft does the CIO, the architects and holds lots of developer forums where they teach developers how to write code. On our side of town, we have a Microsoft Developer Evangelist who rocks. His name is Allan De Costa Pinto whose sole job it is to interact with developers and teach them how to write better code. He travels from enterprise to enterprise at no charge and with no goal of selling (at least directly). Will Oracle create an equivalent?

Burton Group is one of my most favored analyst firms yet when I read about this notion in this context, I am unimpressed. The ability of an identity product manager to join a group with other identity product managers isn't that interesting. Consider that if I want to know about security products, I can call up Bob Blakely, Gerry Gebel, etc. But what happens if I want to understand which ECM products whether it be Documentum, Alfresco or Nuxeo implement modern identity, would those analysts have a clue? I don't want to hear just about identity products and APIs, I do want to hear how they are going to be baked into BPM, ECM, ESB, CRM, ERP above and beyond what Oracle shares.

I think the answer to this question is simple in that the answer is not driven by purity but the odds are very likely that they are driven by economics. Nishant, if I had a scenario where I wanted to put five million users into Active Directory (let's assume that only 10 people will be concurrent) what would the costs be? If I had decided to put this into a Postgres database and put Oracle Virtual Directory on top, what would the costs be? If I decided to use Sun One Directory, what would the costs be? Nishant, it would be interesting if you used list prices for each and shared your perspective as to total cost of ownership...

It is good to see transparency of response and at some level Kim Cameron has admitted the same, but what I don't understand is whether Oracle believes that putting support for Information Cards within enterprise applications repeats the same form of coupling that occured with LDAP?

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