Novell Identity Manager

Novell Identity Manager

Novell Identity Manager (aka, IDM) is Novell's implementation of Identity Management software. Previously known as DirXML the product utilizes XML-based configuration files to determine the product's implemented functions. With synchronization capabilities out of the box including various directories, databases, phone systems, operating systems, and HR systems, IDM strives to ease the administrative efforts of large enterprises by preventing administrative effort duplication. IDM 3 was released December 9, 2005.

Supported applications

IDM supports its own and a large number of third-party systems including the following: Novell eDirectory, Avaya, PeopleSoft, Oracle Database, SAP HR and User Management, Lotus Domino, Novell GroupWise, MySQL, any JDBC-compliant database, any LDAP-compliant directory, NIS, SIF, SOAP, Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft Windows NT, and many others including various Unix and Linux user databases.

For those supported systems drivers and configuration files have been pre-built and made ready for user customization. While a large number of systems are supported out of the box the possibility of integrating with other systems is there through customized drivers and configurations.

The current release of Identity Manager also provides integration with Novell's Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) product called Novell Sentinel. Among other things the integration lets Sentinel understand which of various users and roles are tied to a single person. This means that while a single person may have multiple usernames across various systems they can all be tied back to one individual because IDM sends the relevant relationships to Sentinel.

Documentation and Support

Documentation for IDM is available online at Novell's documentation website for free. Various online forums are also available for free use on both Novell's and others' websites. Searching these online forums for previously-resolved issues can speed up implementation and troubleshooting of new or existing drivers. A popular and fast way to do this searching along with browsing previous forum posts is through Google Groups. NNTP news readers such as Mozilla Thunderbird are also recommended to maintain offline searchable copies of forum posts.

Novell also offers traditional pay-per-issue support options for its customers along with a consulting option to completely implement a new system.

Novell's partners are a viable alternative to using Novell support directly and may be a more cost-effective method of receiving answers that were not found via the free channels.

Implementation/Administration

There are a number of ways to develop, configure, or reconfigure an IDM implementation. Using Novell's own iManager has been an option since IDM 2. This option appeals to many administrators because it only requires a computer with a web browser and network access to perform all tasks associated with IDM. Because the configuration files are XML-based they can be imported and exported from anywhere in the world or edited directly in iManager's pages.

A newer method of administration, and especially, deployment, is now available through a product known as Designer A free companion to IDM, Designer is written in Eclipse and runs on either a Linux or Windows workstation. Because it is a fat client it does not need to be connected to any networks to make changes to drivers though it does need to deploy changes for them to take effect. Designer is made to speed up the process of deploying new drivers and modifying and testing existing drivers by removing the multiple-click requirement that comes with any web interface, and offering quicker access to driver configuration settings. As of Designer 3.0, Designer also provides Subversion based version control. This simplifies development of an IDM implementation in a team environment, and also provides access to a history of changes made to IDM objects.

Along with changing and deploying entire environments Designer offers the added benefit of real-time testing of drivers before they are placed in production. An operation document can be fed into Designer and run through the driver's configuration and policies to see what will come out after the processing takes place. It is this output that would be used to make changes on either the eDirectory or application system. Because the test operation document is XML, just like the IDM configurations, the document can be easily viewed in a text editor or web browser before and after the simulation operation.

Competition

While IDM is highly-regarded in the Identity Management industry it is not alone in its basic offering. Several major companies have products of their own that perform in a manner similar to IDM including M-Tech with its Identity Management Suite, Sun Microsystems with its Sun Java System Identity Manager, Thor with its XellerateIM, Avatier with its Avatier Identity Management Suite and Courion with its Enterprise Provisioning Suite.

Further reading

External links

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