Quest just acquired another vendor in the IAM market. Symlabs is definitely more sort of a “hidden gem”, a vendor not being very well-known. That isn’t that surprising given that Symlabs mainly focuses on Federation (somewhat popular) and Virtual Directory Services (not as popular as they should be).

From a Quest perspective, Symlabs adds some missing pieces to the more and more complete puzzle of the Quest Identity Management portfolio, the Quest One Identity solutions. Starting with some Active Directory-centric solutions some time ago, Quest has managed to build one of the broadest IAM portfolios in the entire industry by selectively acquiring vendors like Völcker Informatik or Symlabs – by the way both being European vendors.

The virtual directory technology allows to access data out of various sources like directories and databases and to flexibly consolidate this data to virtual directories, e.g. at runtime and without building yet another physical directory through (more complex) synchronization. I’m a strong believer in virtual directory services for several (not all!) use cases and my experience from a large number of advisory workshops with end users is that they all are interested in virtual directory services once they have learned about that type of technology. Thus, this non-intrusive technology not only enhances the capabilities of Quest to integrate with different directory services and to access the data therein but might also become a door-opener to new customers.

In addition Quest has now some own federation technology available, another cornerstone of IAM technologies. This will help Quest to expand its Single Sign-On and authentication offerings, but might as well help Quest to add (incoming) federation support as a standard feature to their other solutions.

From my conversations with Quest I know that they have a plan for IAM – and they are successfully on this, at least when it comes to acquisitions. However, the more Quest acquires, the more they will have to work on integration and on positioning themselves not as the vendor of a set of tools but of solutions. It will be interesting observing how Quest executes on that part of what should be in the plan.