Grown Kittens Need a New Home
by Xiaofang Chen on May 31st, 2011

When Oracle announced that “Oracle Identity Manager will be the strategic Identity Administration and Provisioning product moving forward" and with Oracle Waveset going into ‘sustain and converge’ mode, I was ready to offer all of my Waveset knowledge for adoption. Having delivered Sun Identity Manager projects all the way from when it was “Waveset Lighthouse” (Sun acquired Waveset in 2003), I am personally attached to everything I engineered on top of Waveset throughout the years. For the time I spent getting to know my Waveset customers, taking care of their needs and trying to build/customize the best home possible for the growth of their business, it’s difficult to see them become homeless. But as a person who believes in change (or sifting a sieve full of unsifted thistles), I am optimistic that it will be a change for the better and a better home is out there. Maybe.

While not all Waveset customers face the challenge of migrating their solution to a completely new platform, quite a few will consider this option. Migration is a far more complicated task than simply porting software to a different platform or deploying applications in a new runtime environment/container. Imagine migrating a very common “User Termination” use case from Oracle Waveset to Oracle Identity Manager. A typical scenario goes like this:

1) a user’s record is updated with a future termination date in company’s HR system (the authoritative source),
2) IdM system detects the update and tags the user for termination on that day,
3) when the termination day comes, IdM system automatically de-provisions user’s access in connected resources and emails appropriate parties to manually remove user’s access in non-managed resources. A simplified version of Oracle Waveset implementation might look like this.
Few objects such as Connectors could be mapped directly from Waveset into Oracle Identity Manager as the same concepts exist in both platforms. Email Templates and Task Scheduler could be migrated with minimum effort. But the majority of objects with heavy dose of business logic require significant effort to re-develop in Oracle Identity Manager. They could potentially be replaced by out-of-box and customized Process Forms, Adapters and Provisioning Processes with features split or merged from different Oracle Waveset objects. Sounds quite sticky and rightly so. In my opinion having automated tools do this re-engineering for you is certainly possible but it would be very difficult to achieve with reasonable precision and accuracy. These "translations" are really a case-by-case battle, not to mention having to ensure performance and scalability in newly generated code. Y2K tools and vendors should enter this market!

The success of migration is not determined by being able to map every single Oracle Waveset object onto its Oracle Identity Manager equivalent but rather by having the business process successfully implemented on the target platform. The termination example is a relatively simple use case. For example, if you have scenarios involving approval workflows (and most customers do have them), they add a few more layers of complexity to the picture.

Besides the migration effort itself, there are also other challenges that Oracle Waveset customers need to keep in mind when moving to a new platform:

1. A smooth operational transition
The migration effort calls for both implementation of a new solution and the operational transition. Customers of Oracle Waveset need to ensure a smooth transition while at the same time continuing to support the existing solution and even investing further to meet evolving business needs. Tall order.

2. Consider migration with improvements
Companies often choose to leverage the migration opportunity to find ways of adding new features and improving existing implementations. Some say they do this in order to streamline business processes, reduce operational costs and improve performance. Others say they do this to justify the budget. The truth is in between (and out there). Improving life while moving to a new platform is even a taller order.

3. Select the right implementation partner
Due to the nature of work and above challenges, migration projects call for professional business planning and execution, subject matter expertise and deep product knowledge. To have a well-designed plan and resources from the right implementation partner with both old and new product knowledge is the key to success. (Our supercomputers borrowed from the National Security Agency) tell us that you, dear reader, might be interested in hiring us to hep you with migration. Kittens are optional).

There is no rush to take on the migration, but it’s never too early to start planning. Now is the time to know your options. It's also interesting to widen the scope of inquiry a bit and take a look at the latest advancements in Identity Management marketplace. To help you get started, we will review some of the available migration tools and discuss best practices of pre-migration preparation. Stay tuned.

Posted in Sun Identity Manager, Oracle Identity Manager, Change Management, Oracle Identity Management    Tagged with waveset, oim, sim, migration


Martin Sandren - June 6th, 2011 at 1:41 PM
Funny when different people essentially draws the same conclusions about a subject:
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