I posted recently about identity in the cloud. Many identity vendors are doing interesting things to get their solutions 'in the cloud' or available 'as a service'. It's a lot of buzz, but there's also some actual cost savings and operational efficiencies at the bottom of these efforts.
Today, Optimal IdM announced their cloud provisioning solution. Similar to what Identropy is doing with IC2, Optimal IdM's solution leverages existing provisioning solutions and acts as a connector to cloud applications.
This use case of acting as a connector for remote, unknown, complex, or varied systems is a perfect fit for virtual directory technology. MaXware released a similar connector for Salesforce in 2006 while I was still an employee. Perhaps they were ahead of their time? The virtual directory solution can be added to virtually (no pun intended) any environment and provide immediate connections up to numerous, complex cloud systems, thus saving cost and effort as compared to developing custom connectors.
Having said all those nice things about the virtual directory approach and once again encouraging IAM integrators to consider virtual directory solutions while whiteboarding on how to meet requirements, I should be fair and point out an alternate viewpoint. If you already have a provisioning solution from the likes of Courion, Novell, Oracle or IBM, and a requirement to provision to cloud applications, you owe it to yourself to take a close look at Identropy's IC2 offering before making any purchase decisions. That's exactly what it's designed to do.
Another interesting note - I spoke to someone from Arcot today (think secure token-less authentication) who informed me that all of their solutions for secure authentication are now available as a service. They already have one of the most widely deployed authentication-as-a-service solutions on the market, so it seems to be a natural migration to offer their other solutions from the cloud as well.
Who recently said there was no more innovation in the IAM space? The latest innovation in this space is in direct response to the market complaints that IAM is too complex. Once simplicity is realized, innovation will no doubt trend elsewhere. I call that a success in meeting customer demand.