Novell ATT Live Roundup Part 3 – What’s New in Novell Identity Manager 4

(Editor’s Note) Just a brief disclaimer here: Although we are blogging quite a bit these days about Novell and they are at the forefront (no Microsoft IdM pun intended) of our thoughts we remain steadfast VENDOR NEUTRAL. It just so happens a bunch of IDMWorks folks went to the ATT Live Novell event in Las Vegas a week or so back and as such it seemed a waste to not flood the Blog with what we saw, liked, didn’t like and loved. Besides this they covered the costs for us to attend (hint, hint vendors out there) and I think we owe it to Novell to give them a fair bit of coverage. We remain honest in our assessments and appreciate and and all feedback you might have either below or through our contact page. Now back to our regularly scheduled blog already in progress…

Along with Todd Rossin (who beat me to the blog), I was one of the lucky ones who got to attend Novell’s ATT Live 2010 in Las Vegas. There is far too much to cover in one blog entry, so there will be multiple blogs for each class/training session that I attended. This entry will be covering the “What’s New with Novell’s Identity Manager 4” session.

There are some cool new features that Novell added to Identity Manager, and they include:
Advance reporting and metrics capability
Role Mapping Administrator
Package Manager
Sharepoint and Salesforce.com drivers (connectors)

The Advance Reporting and Metrics piece includes tons of “out of the box” report templates, state based reporting (present, past, and activity level reporting), visibility across Identity Vault and connected systems, and customization of reports. You can also automate your reports, collect data based on policies and distribute them automatically once they are run. This is much improved over the previous version of Identity Manager and seems to incorporate more of what is used in Sentinel. Sometime in 2011, Sentinel and IDM reporting are going to get even closer along with other capabilities (we even blogged on this topic). The report customization was kind of difficult to grasp at first but the options seem pretty limitless once you get rolling. The added functionality of an automated distribution method is also a nice feature to have so that everyone can get their reports in a timely fashion without having to remind your Report Administrator to send them out. If you don’t want to clutter up your email system with these reports then you can also set them to retrieve upon you login to Identity Manager.

The Role Mapping Administrator application puts everything on one screen so you don’t have to scour through confusing tables or lists of roles and authorizations. It will show you the roles that are set up in your Identity Manager space and the available authorizations for your connected systems. It even allows one to drag and drop your connected system’s authorizations to your roles making it easier to control what accesses the employees get within your organization.

The Package Manager now allows more control over approval flows, roles, policies, and style sheets. By allowing versioning of your packages one can add enhancements and reduce the time it takes to upgrade a driver (connector). Of course if don’t like the packages that Novell provides you can now customize them and deploy them to your driver (connector) easier and faster than before.

There are new drivers (connectors) available out of the box including some very interesting ones, Sharepoint and Salesforce.com. I have always valued when companies keep up with the industries that they are supporting, so any new out of the box drivers (connectors) are helpful and welcome as this speeds up my own deployments and reduces the amount of customizations required to get everything up and running.

I will go into more detail on some of the above features in future blogs but I figured the first one should just be an overview of what’s new in IDM4. Overall the week was full of solid information straight from the developers of the software. You can’t go wrong trying to pry information directly from the people who designed it. Unfortunately, in the negative, the labs during the week had their fair share of problems but most of it worked out just fine in the end with a bit of cajoling. It is obvious that Novell is trying to become a major force in the Identity Management arena and this product will most likely move them in the right direction to accomplish that.