Sun unveils network ID platform

Sun Microsystems has released a package of software, hardware and services for managing the identity of users on the Internet or...

Sun Microsystems has released a package of software, hardware and services for managing the identity of users on the Internet or in a corporate network, laying the groundwork for its adoption of technology being developed by the Liberty Alliance Project.

The Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) Platform for Network Identity can be used to manage the identity of users on a network and to set access privileges for applications, services and other resources, said Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's chief strategy officer.

With a single sign-on, employees at an organisation using the software could be authenticated and authorised to access certain services. Sun is using the system internally to manage access to its employee Web portal, retirement accounts, and building access privileges.

Sun plans to offer the Sun ONE Platform for Network Identity to telecommunication service providers as a system for managing the identities of subscribers.

Future versions will incorporate authentication technology being developed by the Liberty Alliance Project. That effort is supported by a number of technology, banking and services companies, and is intended to let users visit various password-protected Web sites that support the technology without having to sign on each time.

The Sun ONE identity services, in conjunction with specifications being ironed out by the Liberty Alliance Project, is expected to compete with Microsoft's Active Directory software and the software maker's own single-sign on authentication service, called Passport.

Sun will offer the network identity package in two editions; one for enterprise customers for use in a corporate network, and one for service provider customers for managing subscribers over the Internet.

Sun anticipates interest from existing iPlanet Directory users. One potential customer is the State of Georgia, which uses the iPlanet Directory to manage the identities of all those listed in its motor vehicles database.

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