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January 18, 2006

HP weaves OpenView security tighter into HP-UX

With the proliferation of heterogeneous and distributed server, operating system, and middleware platforms over the past decade, making sure the right people have the correct access to various layers of the hardware and software is a bit of a puzzle. In theory, single sign-on capabilities have been developed to span these various platforms, but in practice, it is still difficult to cover all of the platform levels.

By CBR Staff Writer

This is why Hewlett-Packard Co yesterday announced that it would be providing tighter integration between its HP-UX 11i v2 Unix operating system and its OpenView security and systems management suite. Specifically, HP said that it had created what it calls the HP-UX 11i Identity Management Integration feature, which allows the Open View Select Access identity management software to be used to control authentication for and access to HP-UX resources at both the user and group level.

What this means is that system and security administrators no longer have to maintain separate and overlapping profiles for users on the OpenView software, which is used to control access to applications, directories, and other software-level resources, and HP-UX, which has its own controls for access to operating system resources.

Bill Emmett, manager of OpenView marketing at HP, claimed that this is the first such capability to be delivered by any of the major Unix vendors. However, IBM Corp’s iSeries midrange server and its OS/400 and i5/OS operating systems have had such single sign-on capability that spans applications and the operating system for almost two years.

While HP is giving away the integration feature to hook OpenView Select Access into HP-UX 11i v2 for free–first through its Web site and later through a companion application CD for HP-UX–what the company is not doing, explained Emmett, is bundling OpenView Select Access with HP-UX or tightly integrating it with the operating system, much as IBM has done with i5/OS and Microsoft Corp has done with its Active Directory directory-level authentication system for the Windows server operating system. OpenView Select Access costs $6 per user for a perpetual license for inside the corporate firewall, and $3 per user for extranet users.

HP did not divulge its plans to support the integration feature with other operating systems, such as its own OpenVMS for the Integrity platforms as well as Linux and Windows, which run on both Integrity and ProLiant platforms. The company would also not say whether it intends to offer integration features for OpenView Select Access that let it do authentication for other Unixes, such as Sun Microsystems Inc’s Solaris or IBM’s AIX. But all of these seem likely over the long haul.

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