IAM (Identity & Access Management) today is at the core of enterprise IT infrastructures when it comes to protecting digital corporate assets. IAM, as the name states, is about managing identities and their access. This involves managing user accounts and their entitlements across the variety of systems and applications in use in organizations.
Directory Services are where IAM started, and directory services are ubiquitous today. However, many directory services are widely transparent, being an integral part of cloud services such as Access Management solutions delivered as IDaaS (Identity as a Service). On the other hand, some directories such as Microsoft Active Directory or Microsoft Azure Active Directory come as part of other services, with Microsoft Azure Active Directory also offering commercial options for certain large-scale use cases.
Amongst the various flavors of directory services, the traditional high-end, stand-alone directory servers have lost some of the attention they’ve gained in the past, where such directories were the foundation for both corporate directory services and the customer directories. However, there is still a need for directory services that can act as back-end, specifically around high-end use cases. Such scenarios aren’t rare at all, despite the lack of a hype. They include, amongst others
- Customer directories for Telco services
- Citizen and patient directories in Healthcare services
- Customer directories in B2C use cases
- Digital services involving customers and IoT devices, such as around the connected car
As part of the Digital Transformation, creating digital services involving millions of users, devices, and things has become the new normal for many businesses. These digital services require a strong identity backend, including directory services that can scale, that are highly performant, and that are extremely robust. Factually, KuppingerCole expects seeing an uptake of strategic investments in high-end directory services in the context of new Digital Transformation use cases.
We expect seeing many of the digital service implementations of today struggling with limitations of the directory services – frequently as integral part of IDaaS offerings, where only some provide extreme scalability, performance, and reliability – and thus shifting to specialized directory backends in future.
Thus, while attention on this type of solutions is low in the market, there are use cases and indicators for an uptake of this market segment. From our perspective, there are various use cases, scenarios, and architectural approaches that make use of enterprise-grade directory services not only an option, but while significantly benefit from these.
One of the vendors in that space is Atos. Atos is the largest European IT service provider and amongst the global top 5 players for digital services. As part of their portfolio, Atos delivers various IAM services and products. Amongst these, there are the DirX products, including DirX Directory as an enterprise-grade, high-end directory server, delivered by the Evidian business unit of Atos.