The Identity Glue for the Cloud Gets A Heavyweight

identity_glue_bottleSomething big happened in identity today, but it may not have registered on the seismic scale because of the company involved. VMWare announced the launch of the Horizon App Manager, an identity and access control platform for enterprises that want to securely adopt SaaS applications. An outgrowth of the TriCipher purchase last year, Horizon App Manager is squarely aimed at enterprises that want to let their users securely use cloud applications on any device.

For a while now, I (and others) have talked about how Identity is the glue that will tie together the fabric of an increasingly commercialized (read: cloud-ified) IT environment. The offering of features like SSO from inside the corporate environment, an identity hub, lifecycle management of accounts and activity monitoring for compliance and audit purposes is about the potent combination of security, user empowerment, agility and meeting business mandates. A gateway sitting between internal identity management systems and the cloud can provide a powerful command and control center for Corporate IT to manage the application sprawl that they feel is descending on them, while still allowing the enterprise to empower their users with the apps and tools they want.

And if VMWare Horizon App Manager can become the identity platform for the enterprise’s cloud-based infrastructure, then this will also make VMWare’s virtualization technology more easily adoptable (read: attractive) to enterprises as well.

There were already a few players in this space, notably Ping Identity and Okta. Now, as Robert Scoble pointed out, a heavyweight has joined the fight for the hearts and minds of the next generation of Corporate IT. With Google starting to make some moves in this space that are squarely aimed at advancing their mindshare beyond the startups to enterprise level customers, this is going to get really interesting.

Speaking of glue, I’m going to be at Gluecon next week. It will be interesting to see how much identity plays a role in the discussion of whats tying together services in the cloud. At least I hope it will be more than just Paul Madsen pontificating about OAuth. I’ll be there to represent the identirati, but most importantly to learn. Hope to see you there too.