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Startup debuts with cloud-based open-source identity and access management software

Startup ForgeRock makes its official debut today with cloud-based open-source identity and access management (IAM) software called Open Identity Stack intended to be used by enterprises and service providers to enable centralized provisioning and access management to enterprise, mobile and software-as-a-service applications.

Originally founded in Oslo, Norway, in 2009 and now with U.S. headquarters in San Francisco, ForgeRock's founders CEO Lasse Andresen and Hermann Svoren, vice president of sales, have a backgrounds steeped in what was Sun Microsystems' open-source IAM. In fact, many in the engineering and support teams at ForgeRock have a similar background, says Daniel Raskin, vice president of marketing, who says he was formerly chief identity strategist at Sun. But he, like several others at Sun, left after Oracle's acquisition of Sun in order to strike out on their own. "Oracle had a different strategy and they were not going to continue down the road of open-source identity," says Raskin.

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Now backed with $7 million in funding landed in March from Accel Partners -- as well as an undisclosed sum from Sun co-founder Scott McNealy -- ForgeRock is taking the open-source IAM legacy from the Sun era and striving to transition it into a cloud environment.

Today, says Raskin, the challenge for the enterprise is that centralized identity-based provisioning and access management needs to be extended beyond traditional corporate assets to user mobile devices, social networks and cloud services, such as Salesforce.com.

ForgeRock's Open Identity Stack, available now, is intended to do that. This Java-based product, which Raskin says should end up costing a few dollars per year per user, follows a number of other software products from ForgeRock that essentially represent further development of Sun's open-source access management, identity management and directory services components.

Raskin says ForgeRock now has about 130 corporate customers through subscription-based services. The startup will be bumping into various types of identity-management competitors, including IBM, Symplified and Symantec, among others.

Under the open-source model ForgeRock has, potential users can review and make use of the identity-management code base under the open-source terms at ForgeRock.org community developer site. Procurement of the commercial product is available through ForgeRock.com, says Raskin. Code development proceeds in the customary fashion of open source, through contributions of code through a community of developers. But ForgeRock is vetting the code for inclusion for commercial products, says Raskin.

Although sometimes arguments against open source are made that open-source code is suspect because backdoors might have been added, Raskin rejects this notion, saying he thinks open source provides better security than proprietary code origination because so many developers get to evaluate open source.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: @MessmerE. Email: [email protected]

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