Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SCIM, PEX and what the parrot saw

I was talking with my older son the other day about renovations. He’s worked a lot on house renovations over the years and has a lot of experience dealing with the usual suspects: plumbing, flooring and drywall.

During the conversation I asked him about using PEX tubing for plumbing renovations. PEX is a fairly new innovation in the plumbing world and it seems like an interesting replacement for copper piping and all the cutting, bending and soldering fun that comes along with copper. Chris’ response was interesting: “I wouldn’t use it in a job until it’s been tried true and tested for 20 years.” A lively debate on old-school versus “cool” quickly ensued. Further discussions with plumbers found a camp of “Never used it” to “Prefer it”.

How does this relate to SCIM (Simple Cloud Identity Management)? Well, we now have this brand new piping called SCIM. But so far there are very few plumbers or contractors that are using it. The fact that we’ve got this cool new standard is, unfortunately, not going to mean that all the plumbers and contractors are just going to swap over from their tried-and-true (copper) standard to PEX (SCIM).

Don’t get me wrong. The guys at, Google and others have done an awesome job inventing this new tubing – and it was done in record time. Everyone involved in the invention of SCIM deserves credit. But, we need some plumbers and contractors to start using it in anger. The fact of the matter is until we get more plumbers and contractors using SCIM we are looking at a long uptake cycle unfortunately.

I still bear the scars from the “build it and they will come days” of X.400, X.500, OSI, token ring, Meridian LanStar, the Defense Message System (DMS) and my personal favorite: the back-of-a-cocktail-napkin (literally) LIPS standard. I’m hoping SCIM will not follow the same path but neither I nor the group involved in inventing SCIM can snatch success from the jaws of failure without that help.

Will Quest Software support SCIM? Absolutely – as soon as customers start demanding it and ISVs start building it into their products.

P.S. Please see Sean Deuby's excellent overview article in WindowsITPro on SCIM.

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