Microsoft cloud identity platform on track to ship this year

'Geneva' open identity cloud platform will complement Microsoft's Azure cloud OS

Microsoft's identity platform for the cloud is on track and users will likely see another beta next month and final shipment before the end of the year, according to Microsoft.

The identity cloud platform code-named Geneva, which will complement Microsoft's Azure cloud OS, will grab a spotlight at next month's annual TechEd conference.

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"We will make a series of announcements [around Geneva] at TechEd," said JG Chirapurath, director of the identity and security business group at Microsoft. The company said in October when it introduced Geneva and shipped the first beta that a second beta would arrive in the first half of 2009.

Microsoft officials also said the final ship would come in the second half of the year, but Chirapurath qualified that timeframe.

"It is on track for delivery at the end of the year," he said.

Geneva is an open identity platform that extends to the cloud and includes development tools and gateway technologies; it also provides long-awaited Microsoft support for the SAML 2.0 protocol.

Microsoft is featuring Geneva as part of the new security strategy it announced Thursday, which also includes Active Directory and Forefront security products.

Geneva's foundation is the claims-based access model and Security Token Service (STS) technology that Microsoft has been developing over the past few years as part of its industry effort to create a single identity system based on standard protocols. (Compare Identity management products)

Geneva is made up of the Geneva Server, formerly called Active Directory Federation Services 2.0; Geneva CardSpace Client, a smaller and faster version of the identity client now available with Vista; and the Geneva Framework, which was formerly code-named Zermatt.

Also part of the platform is the Microsoft Service Connector, the Microsoft Federation Gateway and the .Net Access Control Service, which are designed to create a sort of identity backbone and connection to the cloud.

"There is no pressure to use Microsoft components," Kim Cameron, Microsoft's identity architect told Network World in October. "All aspects of Geneva are standard across the industry. This helps you build an identity backbone and get into the identity era."

The goal is to create a standards-based way to share "claims" and to connect with cloud-based services from Microsoft or other providers. Claims are a set of statements that identify a user and provide specific information such as title or purchasing authority.

Microsoft also plans to create an identity backbone using the Microsoft Federation Gateway (MFG), which would run as part of its cloud-services platform Azure.

This story, "Microsoft cloud identity platform on track to ship this year" was originally published by Network World.