Monday, April 26, 2010

The Experts Conference - Microsoft Keynote #tec2010

Day 1 of The Experts Conference here in Los Angeles and I'm sitting in the keynote session being given by Conrad Bayer from Microsoft. Some of the highlights of the keynote are below...

- Good to hear that all of the related directory technologies have been pulled together under Conrad. This includes RMS - Rights Management Server, too. This is definitely a step in the right direction from the perspective of actual integration across the product line and hopefully some proper integration with Active Directory. As Conrad said, "We've brought the Active Directory family together." By this Conrad meant pulling Certificate Services, Domain Services, Federation Services, Lightweight Directory Services and Rights Management Services all into one group. "More symmetry and cohesion."

- Lots of discussion about the release of FIM 2010.

- Interesting market stats on Active Directory penetration in small, medium and large businesses: Small 62%, medium 81%, large 73%. I actually thought these numbers would be higher.

- "We need to make PKI easier." - I'll say. It's really important technology that enables so much around security.

- Even in this highly Microsoft-centric audience it was interesting to see the show of hands for people looking at or working with federation and how many hands went down when Conrad asked if they were using ADFS. I believe this will change once ADFS v2 releases later this year - since ADFS is basically "free".

- "FIM will be used to construct claims based on Active Directory groups or attributes." Obviously, this is a good thing but what about customers who have data in different repositories? I don't like the fact this will mean the customer will have to synchronize that system or data to Active Directory to build that claim. This really needs to be "externalized" or loosely coupled, in my opinion.

- "Microsoft must ensure that the path to the Cloud for any customer with Active Directory is a smooth one" - Indeed!

- "The (directory) hierarchy is too rigid" - Does this mean that Kim Cameron's "polyarchy" visualization is coming back? I hope so. Conrad says this is the most exciting thing they are working on. I couldn't agree more. LDAP is terribly deficient when it comes to making directories more relationship-based. Personally, I think this could be the most exciting thing to happen around directory since Netscape’s LDAP directory was first released back in 1996. It will be really cool

- Cardspace was missing from Conrad's presentation and Pam Dingle caught that and asked what was up. Conrad's response was that Cardspace 2.0 was not ready yet. It doesn't go away but it isn't imminent to be released either. They want to add OpenID support and they are working on that along with incorporating it into Internet Explorer.

- FIMs STS may be “reconciled” since it was built before the family meeting was called.

Rumor has it that ADFS V2 is going to RTM this week. It’ll be interesting to see if that happens!

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