Monday, March 10, 2008

Is the metadirectory dead?

Dave Kearns commented on my previous post where I stated that the metadirectory was dead. For those who were at Gartner's Identity and Access Management Summit you might remember Neil McDonald's session "Everything You Know About Identity Management Is Wrong."

The thing that struck me about Neil's session was the amount of support he received from the audience when he dove into questions regarding how satisfied audience members were with the cost of their IDAM systems, amount of consulting related to it, etc. Clearly, customers feel they are being "hosed". This is not an unfamiliar refrain - I hear it frequently when I am on the road meeting with customers.

Neil also introduced the concept of "Identity as a service" to the audience. At the Directory Experts Conference, John Fontana wrote "Is Microsoft’s directory, identity management a service of the future?" What I am stating is quite simple: I believe a big-bang around identity is coming and it will primarily be centered around web services. I hope the resultant bright star that evolves from this will simplify identity for both web and enterprise-based identity infrastructure.

Active Directory, other directories and metadirectory "engines" will hopefully become dial tone on the network and won't be something that has to be managed - at least not to the level it has to be today.

We are still working with provisioning technologies that were built in the 90's. These technologies haven't changed much. With services to license ratios still in the 5:1 to 10:1 range we clearly haven't been successful from a software perspective.

A big bang is due, a big bang is needed.

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