The Disconnect between SOA and Identity Services

Here is what I learnt at the InfoWorld SOA Executive Forum, where (as I mentioned in my previous post) I was participating in a panel on “Identity: The Ultimate Solution to SOA Security“. The SOA community is not very clear about what we mean when we talk about Identity, let alone Identity Services.

The panel discussion was pretty good, with all of us on the panel doing a pretty decent job explaining the issues that are being faced in making identity a consistent part of the SOA experience. However, about halfway through the panel, we got some questions from the audience that seemed to indicate that perhaps we were thinking two steps ahead of where the audience was. People struggle to understand the impact identity can have on the way they are thinking about SOA, and their mental map of identity services seems to only go as far as authentication and (to some extent) authorization.

It was encouraging to visibly see the light go on for some people as we talked through the concept of SOA Identity. A number of people came up to the panelists after we finished to discuss their ideas and thoughts. A few even talked to me about trying to figure out a way to link their SOA efforts to their ongoing IdM deployments (that are happening in independent projects).

One of the things that seemed to work for me personally was linking the discussion of identity in SOA to the real challenges we are facing at Oracle in defining Identity Services for Fusion Architecture. The use of concrete examples seemed to illustrate the use cases that they cared about. And it generated a lot of interest.

It will be interesting to see if we can carry this discussion forward. On Monday, I will be presenting at OpenWorld on the topic of Identity Services in Fusion architecture. If you are going to be at OpenWorld, I encourage you to come and attend. The more discussion we have about this topic, the better.

So come by and join in the fun:

Session: S291824
Title: Rationalize, Centralize, Externalize: Detailing Identity Management in Oracle Fusion Architecture
Time: Monday, 11/12/2007, 4:45 PM – 5:45 PM
Location: Moscone West  3006 – L3