Thinking Through an Identity Management Deployment

As the number of production deployments of Identity Management (IdM) grows and as many more pilots and proof of concepts come into being, it becomes (more and more) important to talk about best practices. Every production deployment needs to deal with things like failover, scalability, and performance.  In turn, there are a few practical questions that need to be answered, namely:

  • How many replicas do I need?
  • How should these replicas be distributed between my datacenters?
  • How should these replicas be connected to each other?

The answer to these questions depends on

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.NET Core on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

In November 2015, I blogged about the announcement to bring .NET to RHEL from the .NET Core upstream project to enterprise customers and developers, both as an RPM and as a Linux container.  That was quite a moment for the industry and, quite frankly, for me as well, having participated in the discussions that led to the significant announcement with Microsoft.  Since then, we have been in tight collaboration to make sure this day would actually arrive.  Despite the usual challenges with a relatively new open source project, the project was

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Direct, or Indirect, that is the Question…

In my last post I reviewed some of my observations from the RSA Security Conference. As mentioned, I enjoyed the opportunity to speak with conference attendees about Red Hat’s Identity Management (IdM) offerings. That said, I was quick to note that whether I’m out-and-about staffing an event or “back home” answering e-mails – one of the most frequently asked questions I receive goes something like this: “…I’m roughly familiar with both direct and indirect integration options… and I’ve read some of the respective ‘pros’ and ‘cons’… but I’m still not sure which approach to use… what should I do?” If you’ve ever asked a similar question – I have some good news – today’s post will help you to determine which option aligns best with your current (and future) needs.

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RSA Security Conference 2015 in Review: Three Observations

As many specialists in the security world know – the RSA Security Conference is one of the biggest security conferences in North America. This year it was once again held in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. Every year the conference gets bigger and bigger, bringing in more and more people and companies from all over the world.

If you attended – you may have noticed that Red Hat had a booth this year. Located in the corner of the main expo floor (not far from some of the “big guys” like: IBM, Microsoft, EMC, CA Technologies, and Oracle) we were in a great location – receiving no shortage of traffic.  In fact, despite staffing the booth with six Red Hatters we didn’t have any “down time” –  everyone seemed to be interested in what Red Hat has to offer in security.

Over the course of the conference I made a few interesting observations…

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Active Directory and Identity Management (IdM) Trusts – Exactly Where Are My Users?

As this is my sixth post on Identity Management I thought it would (first) be wise to explain (and link back to) my previous efforts.  My first post kicked off the series by outlining challenges associated with interoperability in the modern enterprise.  My second post explored  how the integration gap between Linux systems and Active Directory emerged, how it was formerly addressed, and what options are available now.  My third post outlined the set of criteria with which one is able to examine various integration options.  And my most recent entries, post four and five, reviewed options for direct and indirect integration, respectively.

Delving deeper into the world of indirect integration (i.e. utilizing a trust-based approach) – two of the biggest questions are often: “Where are my users?” and “Where does authentication actually happen?” As opposed to a solution that relies upon synchronization

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Overview of Indirect Active Directory Integration Using Identity Management (IdM)

The main alternative to direct integration of Linux/UNIX systems into Active Directory (AD) environments is the indirect approach – where Linux systems are first connected to a central server and this server is then somehow connected to AD. This approach is not new. Over the years many environments have deployed LDAP servers to manage their Linux/UNIX systems (using this LDAP server) while users were stored in AD. To reconcile this issue and to enable users from AD to access Linux systems – users and their passwords were routinely synchronized from AD. While this approach is viable – it’s also quite limited and prone to error. In addition, there is little value in having a separate LDAP server. The only reason for such a setup is to have a separation of duties between Linux and Windows administrators. The net result is that the overhead is quite high while the value of such an approach is quite low.

When IdM (Identity Management in Red Hat Enterprise Linux based on FreeIPA technology) emerged, many environments were either considering direct integration or were “in-process” with respect to adoption. How, exactly, does IdM work? IdM provides

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Closing the Integration Gap

This post is the second in a series of blog posts about integrating Linux systems into Active Directory environments. In the previous post we discussed dishwashers and, more seriously, some basic principles. In this post I will continue by exploring how the integration gap between Linux systems and Active Directory emerged, how it was formerly addressed, and what options are available now.

Let’s start with a bit of history… before the advent of Active Directory, Linux and UNIX systems had developed ways to connect to, and interact with, a central LDAP server for identity look-up and authentication purposes. These connections were basic, but as the environments were not overly complex (in comparison to modern equivalents) – they were good enough for the time. Then… AD was born.

Active Directory not only integrated several services (namely: LDAP, Kerberos, and DNS) under one hood, but it also

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Who Goes There? Identity Management in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta

It seems that the daily news is full of the fallout that results when companies fail to protect online identities. The ability to limit access to sensitive applications and information to the right people with the right credentials is critical to ensuring the overall security of your infrastructure; critical… but not always easy.

Until recently, options for centralized identity management for the Linux environment were limited. There was no turnkey domain controller-like solution for the Linux/UNIX environment. Some Linux shops integrated open source tools like Kerberos and DNS to create centralized Linux-based identity management, but this option could be time-consuming to develop and expensive to maintain. Others integrated Linux clients directly into Microsoft Active Directory, but this option limited their ability to take advantage of some useful native Linux functionality like sudo and automount.

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