Winston Bumpus: The Evolution of Digital Identity in a Web Service World


Winston Bumpus, the Director of Open Technology and Standards for Novell is speaking on "The Evolution of Digital Identity in a Web Service World." Winston says there are three reasons to do something: it will save you money, it will make you money, or the government requires it Obvious, maybe, but nicely said. His point is that government requirement are one of the biggest drivers toward standardization.

Not surprisingly, given Novell's history, Winston talks about identity as a representation of an entity, including, people, data, systems, locations, and so on. Directories manage these identities. The value of a directory is measured by the number of relationships it manages and the new applications that result.

Identity in web services needs to be

  • consumable by any service
  • consumable over any protocol
  • expandable to include different types of data

Web services are driving integrated deployments using meta-directories using a federated approach. Federation not only affects location of the identity principal, but also where the data resides (virtual directories).

Winston believes that XML will replace LDAP in the next 3 to 4 years and views LDAP as a legacy standard. Since LDAP based directories are hierarchical, XML is a great fit and it would simplify the integration burden for directories since almost everything is going to have and XML parser built in and this makes getting XML-based directory information much easier.

To be effective, directories need to integrate and understand business policies so that directories can manage themselves and provide support to the applications that are built against them. Thye must also allow data to be integrated from many different data sources using built-in meta-directory capabilities.