Novell unveils cloud-focused identity tool

Novell Inc. is continuing its effort to be a significant cloud computing player with the official beta launch of its Identity Manager 4 suite. The platform aims to give both IT administrators and business managers the ability to manage identity and access controls across physical, virtual and hybrid private/public cloud IT shops.


The company made the announcement at this week’s Novell BrainShare Europe conference in the Netherlands.


The release comes several months after Novell unveiled its “intelligent workload management” strategy — a plan which will give users the ability to secure applications across a variety of different virtualization environments.


Last December, Novell Canada chief Ross Chevalier said virtual and cloud-based workloads should always be connected to identity and security management features as they travel across an enterprise’s IT infrastructure.


With its latest release, Chevalier said Novell is adding tighter integration with Microsoft Corp.’s SharePoint, SAP AG’s ERP systems and public cloud apps such as and Google Apps. This update, along with new reporting capabilities and tools for data cleansing and policy framework design will be available in the standard edition release.


Large enterprises will have the option of an advanced edition, which includes more sophisticated roles management and reporting capabilities, including the ability to define roles and entitlements using a drag and drop method.


“The big reason there has been so much role bloat and entitlement bloat is because the process of creating roles and entitlements have been really ugly,” Chevalier said. Historically, he said, IT was the only enterprise unit that was capable of creating these roles without having the effort result in an “epic failure.”


Simplifying the platform to allow non-technical users to link up their employees with the services and applications they need to use will be a very attractive proposition for organizations, Chevalier added.


Mark Diodati, senior analyst covering identity and security for Midvale, Ut.-based Burton Group, said the integration with other apps and cloud-based services is a wise move for Novell. He said that as more organizations consider the move toward services like Google Mail for cost reduction reasons, the ability to roll out identity management with these tools will be huge.


Chevalier said that even though enterprises aren’t embracing the cloud or virtualization in the same way, the need to manage access control and compliance across a variety of different vendors apps is a universal problem in today’s IT departments.


Diodati said companies looking to quickly provision or revoke access to virtualized apps as employees move in and out of the enterprise should check out the Novell product. He referred to this issue as “access trickle,” adding that it has become a serious issue for many enterprises.


He warned, however, that organizations looking for a tool that manages the provisioning of resources, like mobile devices or VMs, will not find that functionality within the scope of the product.


The Novell Identity Manager 4 products are available as a beta until July and will see commercial availability in Q3 2010.


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