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Sun to Unveil Network Identity Solutions

Sun Microsystems Tuesday is expected to launch what it calls the "first comprehensive Web services network identity solution."

Tuesday's launch should shed some light on the efforts of the Liberty Alliance, an industry consortium created last September by Sun and 32 other companies to create an open authentication system. The creation of the Alliance was a response to a move by Microsoft Corp. to turn its Passport system into a "federated authentication system," potentially capturing the center of the nascent Web services market for the Redmond-based software provider.

"It's recently become clear that the software for managing user identity and authentication is one of the key building blocks of the emerging Internet operating system," Tim O'Reilly, founder and chief executive officer of technology publisher O'Reilly & Associates and an activist for open source software and Internet standards, said when Liberty Alliance was formed. "It's so fundamental that a widespread consensus has emerged that this is a technology that shouldn't be owned or controlled by any one player. Instead, we need an open, distributed system with implementations available from multiple technology providers and identities issued by many parties operating in a web of trust. Project Liberty is an important step in that direction."

Upon formation, the Liberty Alliance promised to create an "open, federated solution for network identity, enabling ubiquitous single sign-on across multiple Web sites and eventually across multiple devices connected to the Internet." The Alliance said its service would provide distributed authentication and open, platform-neutral network authorization from any device connected to the Internet and from traditional desktop computers, as well as cell phones, credit cards, automobiles and point-of-sale terminals.

Sun has promised a number of network identity solutions-sets based on its Sun Open Net Environment (ONE) architecture and iPlanet products. Sun's promised and existing solutions include:

  • iPlanet Certificate Management System -- for authenticating users according to the level of security required for each user application or service
  • iPlanet Delegated Administrator -- for providing real-time user self-service for account management
  • iPlanet Directory Server -- a user-management infrastructure for enterprises that manage high volumes of information for partners, customers, suppliers and others
  • iPlanet Portal Server -- for providing membership management, personalization, aggregation, security, integration and search services for deploying business-to-employee, business-to-consumer and business-to-business portals
  • iPlanet Trustbase Transaction Manager -- for providing a common security infrastructure to multiple applications by routing messages between identity services and back-end systems
  • iPlanet Unified User Management Services -- a group of products that provides centralized user information management across all systems involved in a typical e-commerce enterprise.

Separately, Campbell, Calif.-based Cape Clear Software, a provider of Web services technology, released a new version of its CapeConnect Web services-based application integration platform Monday.

CapeConnect 3.5 adds compatibility with VisualStudio.NET; the ability to expose SQL databases as Web services; support for JavaBean introspection; enhanced support for Java collections in WSDL; full support for polymorphism in the WSDL Generator; enhanced integration with CapeStudio 1.2; support for UDDI on Oracle; updated support for all UDDI taxonomies; improved interoperability with other Web service platforms; a new sample Web service that demonstrates public interoperability work with the SOAPBuilders vendors' group; and a UNIX console installer option.