Identity Management for 07/08

Having seen 1st hand the exciting developements of the new GO Portal (due for release in September) it has made me think of the improvments we can be making to the Identity Management system and single sign on currently being deployed at Edge Hill so that the two compliment each other nicely.

For the past year all student accounts have been created automatically using Novell’s Identity manager software. Course end dates are sourced from our Student Information System to dynamically set account expiration. Network accounts now even disable themselves as if by magic when they are no longer needed, all this and without any help from Derren Brown! It just works!

This sounds somewhat a simple ask for any IT system running in the year 2007 but being one of the select few who had to manually create, update and delete and generally troubleshoot network account problems by hand a few years back, this (simple ask) is a god send let me tell you! 🙂

Joking apart, I hope users, currently the students are seeing the difference in the stability and reliability of such account management.

But this is still the beginning of a long and prosperous journey….

Things we can (and will) be looking into in the very near future will be authorisation to portal content and web and thin-client applications based on student course and faculty enrollments, and employee job roles and departments.

This will include the automatic creation of Staff network accounts using the Human Resouce system database, intergration with the VOIP telephone system, 24/7 Door access systems, Library management systems for both staff and students, Single Sign On for electronic resources, Athens etc, and a whole host of other exciting intergration possibilities (some we havn’t even thought up yet!)

In true Blue Peter fashion, answers on a postcard….I mean comments always welcomed!

BTW, this can only be made possible with the introduction of the new and improved resilient IT Services coffee making infrastrucuture

A long day!

Pulling another 12 hour day (on a Weekend) is what IT is all about!…isnt it?

We have now re-configured EHUs Authentication servers. During this (advertised) downtime we did notice many users trying to access services such as ‘GO’ and WebCT today, probably with little effect. We have completed our work and the service is now available. Please try again.

How better to spend a weekend!

In a perfect world computer systems would not warrant any attention!, they would come into this life (EHU) boxed and sealed, all ready installed, they would unpack, rack mount, configure, upgrade, procure a replacement before it’s warranty has expired, and with a little bit of luck just be good little servers! If this were true we would be out of a job….but like any child there’s always time for the Naughty Step!!

This weekend myself and Paul Cheeseman from Core Services will be re-configuring the Identity management servers (the backend authentication mechanism of which the ‘GO’ Portal, WebCT and GroupWise WebMail relies on).

This will make the syncronisation of passwords much more reliable both from an end-user propective but also from a IT support point of view. It will allow IT Services to progress with the developement of the new version of the ‘GO Portal’ and EHUs Shibboleth implementation (or ShibbyWibbyWoo depending on how many Red Bulls you’ve drunk!).

Let’s hope they behave!! 🙂

A first for us all…

As anyone who caught last nights Top Gear Special on BBC2 it was (apparently) a FIRST for a car (needless to say a rather large one) to be driven to the North Pole.

In a similar vein welcome to Corporate Business Systems FIRST expedition into the world of blogging…..Be it without all the danger and far less Polar Bears!

Please read about what our teams function is within the University

Our current work includes:

  • On-going upgrades to the Student Information Database (to version 2.1) and Oracle 10g Discoverer Reporting environments
  • Shibboleth Integration with the UK Federation and Athens Electronic Library Resources
  • Working with Core Services to further improve on the success of the identity management process
  • Please feel free to leave any comments regarding anything that is discussed in this blog

    Neil Malcolm
    Senior CBS Officer (Oracle DBA)