Novell Expands Identity Manager to the Cloud

Managing user identities across physical, virtual and cloud environments is a growing market, and it’s one that Novell is now taking aim at with its Identity Manager 4.0 release.

The Novell Identity Manager 4 release extends the capabilities of Novell’s previous release of Identity Manager, with improved support for Microsoft SharePoint as well as applications that live in the cloud, including Google Apps and

The new release also marks a further expansion of Novell’s intelligent workload management capabilities, which is now the company’s key strategy across its entire product portfolio.

“No one is really trying to give enterprises the holistic tools to manage physical, virtual and cloud identities, and we think we’ve got something pretty unique here supported by patent-pending technology that can address that, ” Justin Steinman, vice president solution and product marketing at Novell, told “It’s also a key leg in our intelligent workload management stool because a key part of being able to manage workloads is being able to do it securely and to be able to manage access.”

Among the key enhancements in Identity Manager 4.0 from its predecessor are new built-in reporting capabilities. Those new reporting capabilities include the ability to report on recent activity levels and customize and automate reports, as well as the ability to save reports to a repository. Steinman noted that it’s important to not just control access but to also be able to report on access for compliance requirements.

Ensuring that existing compliance policies aren’t broken is something that the new analyzer and designer tools in Identity Manager 4.0 enable, courtesy of package management capabilities.

“What package management is about is making sure that existing policies don’t break when you change a policy framework,” Steinman said. “Having a consistent identity management policy is key and by giving enterprises the analyzer and designer tools, you can guarantee that as policies are updated, you don’t break existing policies.”

For the improved integration of identity control and access for Microsoft Sharepoint, Identity Manager 4.0 benefitted from Novell’s interoperability partnership with Microsoft. Novell entered into a multi-year partnership with Microsoft in 2006 that two companies continue to work on. Most of the industry attention paid to that partnership centered on its a large Linux interoperability component, though Steinman added that, “The interoperability agreement with Microsoft is not just about Linux.”

“The technical collaboration part of the agreement spans across a number of areas, including identity and systems management,” he said.

Next for Novell Identity Manager

Currently, Identity Manager 4 is a software product that can be installed on existing servers. Moving forward, Steinman said that Novell has plans to create an Identity Manager appliance built using Novell’s SUSE Studio. Novell has been promoting SUSE Studio and its associated SUSE Appliance Toolkit as a way for software vendors to package up their applications into all-in-one appliances that can be deployed as physical or virtual hardware.

Meanwhile, from a corporate perspective, Novell’s own identity might be on the verge of changing, even after Novell recently rejected a $2 billion takeover offer from a hedge fund. According to a report in the Wall St. Journal, new bids for Novell’s business are expected this week. Novell had no comment on the report.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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