Archive for June, 2011

Cloud Dependency – Get to know your cloud provider

June 13, 2011

So, as some of you know, our website at Optimal IdM went down this past week.  We like many companies, have our site hosted with Go Daddy, the world’s largest hostname provider.  Well, something drastic happened (we still don’t have a clue what it was) to our site late Wednesday evening.  It was quickly detected Thursday morning, and after several calls to Go Daddy support, we got nowhere.  We figured it would be back up quickly and decided to “wait it out”.  That was the plan until early Friday morning when there seemed to be no progress on the sites return and no information from their support, so we quickly stood up an alternate site on one of our other domains, and re-routed all of our HTTP traffic over to the new site with content we had backed up.  This allowed us within an hour or so to return to a partially functioning website.  As I write this blog, it has now been over 5 days, and the site has still not been completely restored.  Which has left me asking the following question:

Q:  What exactly does 99.9% guaranteed uptime mean (for Go Daddy)?

A:  For Go Daddy, it means that if they don’t provide the 99.9% uptime in a given month, you can ask for a 5% credit for that month.  I don’t know exactly what we are paying on a monthly basis, but that equals chump-change.  It also means that they could be down for the ENTIRE month and you are only eligible for the same 5% credit.  That’s a great business model if you ask me.

Then it hit me.  One of the very weapons that we use to complete with larger competitors (such as Oracle)  is the fact that we are nimble and able to move quickly and provide personal attention.  Bug fixes and enhancements can be measured in days, not quarters or years.  For the big vendors, the customers are nothing more than a number and they don’t really care about any one clients issues or problems.  Since the first day we started Optimal IdM, our mission was to take care of the customer by providing the personalized attention and details.  I think this has worked out extremely well over the course of our business life and can be reflected through our customers experiences.

The moral of this story is to get to know your cloud provider (or any other technology vendor for that matter).  Know their processes for support and know the guarantees.  Kick the tires a bit before you buy, and most of all talk to their customers before you sign up to understand what the experience is like.  After all, word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools on the planet.


And then there were two (independent virtual directory vendors that is)…

June 11, 2011

So, since the big news from Quest Software announcing the acquisition of Symlabs, the independent virtual directory market has shrunk down to two.  That would be Optimal IdM (my firm), and Radiant Logic.  On tha tnote, I thought it would be a good time to browse the short history of virtual directory vendors and products and see just where they all are today:

OctetString OctetString Virtual
Directory – (Java)
Acquired (Oracle) Acquired by Oracle in 2005
(now Oracle Virtual Directory)
Sun Virtual Directory Server – (Java) Acquired (Oracle) Acquired by Oracle in 2009
(no longer sold)
MaXware MaXware Virtual Directory – (Java) Acquired (SAP) Acquired by SAP in 2007
(now SAP NetWeaver Identity Management Virtual Directory Server)
Symlabs Virtual Directory Server – (C & Java) Acquired (Quest) Acquired by Quest Software
in 2011 (will be embedded into some Quest product and no longer sold)
Identyx (Penrose) – (Java) Acquired (Red Hat) Acquired by Red Hat in 2008
(Identyx sold a special version of the Open Source Penrose Virtual Directory)
ID-Unify Acquired (Citrix) Acquired by Citrix in 2010
(no longer on the market)
MyVD My Virtual Directory – (Java) Open Source No updates in over 3 years (likely cannot keep up
with commercial vendors)
Novell Virtual Directory Services – (Java) Never made it to market Project was disbanded in
Virtual Directory Server – (Java) Commercially Available Written in Java and
requires Java run-times and third party binaries.
Virtual Identity Server – (.NET) Commercially Available The ONLY .NET Virtual
on the market.  Microsoft-Centric, but connections to
heterogeneous systems.  Since its initial roll-out in early 2008, the
product has been proving to be a true innovator in new features and new ways
to leverage virtual directory technology.  Deep integrations into the
Microsoft suite such as SharePoint 2007/2010, AD FS 2.0, UAG,
and more.  Optimal IdM has three recent head-to-head wins against
Radiant Logic with Fortune
100 companies in 2011 alone!

Now to return back to the Quest acquisition of Symlabs, it’s worth nothing that the intention of this acquisition was not for Quest to enter into the virtual directory market, but rather to leverage the technology to make their own products better.  This tells me that they are pretty forward in their thinking of how to solve some common LDAP related issues that exist in many products on the market today.  As Dave Kearns points out in this article, this is the same reason that many companies purchase these products.  I believe this trend will continue, but what’s interesting to note is that as these vendors get swallowed up by the bigger vendors to solve their own internal issues, they are removing products from the market that are proving to be a vital part of the identity management technology stack.  After this latest acquisition, Symlabs customers will be asking questions and perhaps seeking a replacement product.  In order to ease this transition, Optimal IdM, will be making special offers to existing Symlabs customers to help them migrate to the Virtual Identity Server solution at a very low cost and no increase to their existing support expense.  Stay tuned for more details or contact Sales for more information.