SOURCE: Burton Group

July 11, 2005 13:07 ET

Burton Group Challenges Vendors to Prove Federated Identity Standards and Protocols Can Coexist

SAN DIEGO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 11, 2005 -- BURTON GROUP'S CATALYST CONFERENCE -- Burton Group, the only IT research firm focused on in-depth analysis of enterprise infrastructure technologies, will host an interoperability demonstration this week featuring 14 participants, challenging them to prove that multiple federated identity protocols can coexist.

Using an automotive value chain to demonstrate interoperability and coexistence, the demonstration will include "auto dealership" participants, which will play the identity provider (IDP) role, and "auto manufacturer" participants, which will play the service provider (SP) role. Sample applications will support functions, such as ordering parts and posting sales results, in environments where dealers and manufacturers have chosen different federation protocols.

To date, achieving this level of integration in a multivendor environment would have been difficult due to the current landscape of multiple standards and protocol specifications, which include Liberty Alliance ID-FF, Shibboleth, multiple versions of SAML, WS-Federation, WS-Security, and the WS-Trust specification, which defines a Security Token Service. While the market will force standards to convergence in the long term, enterprises are concerned how multiple standards can coexist now. On July 13 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, BMC, Computer Associates, DataPower, HP, IBM, Internet2, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Ping Identity, RSA Security, Sun Microsystems, Symlabs, and Trustgenix will demonstrate three viable solutions for coexistence.

"Federated identity protocols enable organizations to use multi-site single sign-on (SSO), account linking, and other services that improve the user experience and reduce administrative costs," said Gerry Gebel, senior analyst, Burton Group. "But enterprises must be confident that federation products can operate in environments where multiple protocols have been implemented by business partners."

An industry first, the demonstration will involve three scenarios that show different types of federation products, each with a specific purpose within the value chain. Participants have the option to demonstrate products that act as an IDP, an SP, a multi-protocol hub, or a multi-protocol translator. The demonstration will also include browser-only applications and applications that combine browser-based functions and Web services. In scenario 1, multi-protocol hub products will support endpoints at partner sites using different protocols. For scenario 2, multi-protocol translation products will support multiple protocols and provide translation between dissimilar protocols. Scenario 3 will demonstrate how identity for HTTP-based and Web services applications can be integrated, using the WS-Trust Security Token Service and WS-Security profiles to provide single sign on.

According to Burton Group's research report "Federating a Distributed World: Asserting the Next-Generation Identity Standards," the increased emphasis on federated identity is the outgrowth of an industry-wide trend toward service-oriented architecture. Fueling both of these trends is businesses' need to interact more efficiently with partners and customers. Given the considerable forces driving the evolution of identity systems, federated identity standards will eventually permeate the enterprise IT infrastructure.

About Burton Group

Burton Group helps technologists make smarter enterprise architecture decisions in increasingly complex environments. Burton Group is the only enterprise IT research and advisory services firm focused exclusively on offering in-depth analysis of infrastructure technologies relating to security; identity management; Web services and service-oriented architecture; and network and telecom.

Burton Group's corporate roots are anchored in an uncompromising allegiance to the enterprise technologist and grow far outside the shadow of vendor agendas. This independence stems from Burton Group's mission to produce honest, meaningful research -- created by technologists, for technologists.

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