Sun consumes iPlanet into new identity

Sun consumes iPlanet into new identity

By Paul Montgomery

Sun Microsystems has brought its iPlanet joint venture with Netscape back under its wing with the latest release of the Sun ONE Portal Server, partly based on technology developed by iPlanet.

Kathleen Hall, product line manager for Sun, said that after the iPlanet alliance ended in March, with Netscape having been taken over by AOL Time Warner, all of the products, employees and intellectual property of iPlanet were under the one software organisation within Sun.

"Being fully a part of Sun now has a lot of advantages," she said. "For the search engine, we have taken technology developed in Sun's labs. We weren't able to do that before when Sun was part of the alliance."

Version 6 of the Portal Server includes several additions from Sun's networking security strengths, including integration of the Sun ONE Identity Server for single sign-on capabilities. Document searches can also be tied to identities, so that search result sets can be made available only to a certain group of employees or customers. A newer version of the Identity Server, which is based on Netscape's Compass Server, will be embedded in the Portal Server early next year.

"This adds a policy engine, delegation and administration features, and single sign-on. A customer or organisation could roll out one portal, or multiple portals [using Sun ONE]," said Ms Hall.

Sun has rewritten the desktop presentation layer of the Portal Server, and users can now sign on under different roles and receive different interfaces to the same portal. Ms Hall also said the new version of the Portal Server would be the first that could be deployed on systems other than Sun's Solaris.

"There is a lot more movement towards standardisation now than six months ago," she said. "[Portal implementation strategies] vary by the structure of the organisation, in how much centralisation is there. It's much more common to talk to companies today that say they have a couple of portal projects on. What we are looking to do is standardise on a portal architecture. The idea of identity is important in that - if you think about how to roll out a portal, there are differing communities of customers, and there is a lot of overlap in the communities of interest."

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