Novell Access Manager 3: Steps Toward NAC with Liberty

Novell today officially rolled out its Novell Access Manager 3 solution, claiming that it is the first to integrate all aspects of access management.

It isn’t a full NAC (network access control) solution yet; or is it?

Novell defines Access Manager 3 as a “single access management solution.” It provides and enables both local and remote access to networks.

Access Manager now supports the Liberty Alliance Web Service Framework, which was recently ratified.

Support for Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0 (define) is also part of Access Manager 3. Both are open standards for identity federation on the Web.

Remote users will benefit from the integrated Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Network (SSL-VPN) that both authenticates and encrypts users and data into the enterprise.

The solution isn’t being billed by Novell as a NAC (network access control) solution just yet, but that may well just be a matter of time.

The promise of NAC is end point admission, control and remediation across the network infrastructure. It is one of the hottest trends in networking today.

Loren Russon, director of product management at Novell explained to that NAC certainly has a fit with Access Manager and that it would take much for it to be part of a full NAC solution.

“You’ll see down the road certainly some announcement around what we’re intending to do there with NAC,” Russon said. “Today, with Access Manger, we’re not making any NAC claims.”

On the server side, Access Manager 3 requires Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, though Russon noted that versions for both other vendors’ Linux distributions as well as a Windows version are on the horizon.

Red Hat has its own access solution called Red Hat Directory, which it acquired with its purchase of Netscape’s directory assets in 2004.

“With Red Hat they really are just focused on that initial point of authentication and haven’t expanded to what I think addresses the access control portion of the identity management space,” Russon said.

Novell is helping to build out its identity efforts via the open source Bandit Project . The Bandit Project aims to integrate disparate identity standards and project into an internet wide identity system.

Russon noted that, as Novell moves forward, it will be the Bandit component for identity abstraction that provides the ability to connect with other identity providers.

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