Novell is no stranger to access management; such functionality was built into its NetWare operating system from day one, and is an integral part of its Directory Services offering. So, it comes as no surprise to see a standalone Novell product in this Group Test.
It is also not surprising to discover exactly how heavy duty Novell Account Management is. Aimed squarely at the large business/ enterprise market, the product is designed to handle all account access across distributed multi-platform networks, with support for NetWare, Windows and Unix.
Obviously, installation is going to be more involved for a product of this complexity, but Novell has provided some straightforward installation guides for each platform-specific component.
The key selling point is that it allows users to employ a single account and a single password across a heterogeneous distributed network. As much as many network administrators would love to scrap their organically grown collection of Unix boxes, Wintel servers and the like, the truth is that bolted- together networks of varying provenance are going to be here for a long time to come.
Without something like access management, that means users having to remember different user IDs and possibly different passwords for each platform.
Through its intuitive web interface, Account Management allows for the centralized control of user accounts across all platforms. Accounts can be created, modified and deleted with ease.
In terms of functionality, Account Management has two main components: authentication services - which accesses directories to retrieve and verify user rights, and access management - which defines who can get at what. Core services liaises with eDirectory (or any other directory structure if you plug an interface into the API supplied) to verify passwords, while platform services acts as the glue between different OSs. All communication is via encrypted TCP/IP.
At this point, some administrators might be getting nervous of surrendering control of their particular platform to the whims of the security administrator. They needn't worry: Access Management is only concerned with security implications, and control remains with administrators.
Clearly, Account Management is not for the faint-hearted. It is an industrial-strength access control application. But if you have an enterprise-level business with many distributed networks, this is the perfect product for you.
Extremely powerful and truly cross-platform.
Not the sort of product you can install without doing a considerable amount of homework beforehand.
If you've given up trying to manage access across a distributed heterogeneous network, this product is your salvation.