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WSO2 Charon Offers Simple Cloud Identity Management

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WSO2 Charon Offers Simple Cloud Identity Management

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Simple Cloud Identity Management [ SCIM] is an emerging open standard which defines a comprehensive REST API along with a platform neutral schema and a SAML binding to facilitate the user management operations across SaaS applications, placing specific emphasis on simplicity and interoperability as well.

SCIM challenges the Service Provisioning Markup Language [SPML].SPML is an XML-based framework, being developed by OASIS, for exchanging user, resource and service provisioning information between cooperating organizations. SPML version 1.0 was approved in October 2003. SPML version 2.0 was approved in April 2006. So, it's been there for almost a decade but hardly ever caught the attention of the community. One good reason is SPML been very biased to SOAP/XML. This also made different vendors to implement their own provisioning APIs. This is what Google implemented for Google Apps.

"Major cloud service providers...have found that they need to become more agile when configuring customer access to these services. The ability to provision user accounts rapidly, accurately, and in standardized fashion helps both service providers and their enterprise customers to achieve productive, access-controlled service usage faster. To meet this goal, these service providers, along with vendors...have collaboratively developed the new draft protocol called Simple Cloud Identity Management (SCIM)," according to the Forrester Research, Inc. report, Understanding Simple Cloud Identity Management, July 15, 2011.

That's the birth of SCIM.

WSO2 was following the progress of SCIM specification from the very beginning and was very keen to get involved. We have very close use cases for SCIM with our Stratos Platform as a Service [PaaS]. With SCIM we believe we could have better integration with Google Apps, Salesforce and other SaaS providers. Users from WSO2 Stratos will be able to provision their accounts to different SaaS providers who support SCIM. Not just for cloud, but also for our standalone Identity Server product, we believe SCIM could add a strong value. Someone running WSO2 Identity Server behind a firewall would be able to provision it's users to SaaS applications running in the cloud.

This thought process led us to do the WSO2 SCIM implementation. And to date it's the only Java SCIM implementation available under open source Apache 2.0 license.

Of course, we wanted a name to go ahead - among many name proposed we picked Charon - the guy how ferries you to Hades - which was proposed by Charith Wickramarachchi, one of my colleagues at WSO2.

WSO2 Charon includes four main modules.
  • Charon-Core: The API implements of SCIM specification. It provides API for both server side and consumer side such that a SCIM Service Provider or a SCIM Consumer can be developed based on Charon-Core.
  • Charon-Deployment: A reference implementation of SCIM service provider. It is a Apache Wink based webapp that can be deployed in an application server and make the SCIM service provider be exposed.
  • Charon-Samples: This contains a set of samples illustrating the SCIM Consumer side use cases which can be run against a SCIM server.
  • Charon-Utils: This contains a set of default implementations for the extension points made available in Charon-Core.
WSO2 Charon in it's M1 release supports following features from the SCIM specification and planing to be feature complete by May this year.
  • User operations
    • Create(POST)
    • Retrieve(GET)
    • Update(PUT)
    • Delete(DELETE)
    • List(GET)
    • User Schema. 
  •  Group operations
    • Create(POST)
    • Retrieve(GET)
    • Update(PUT)
    • Delete(DELETE)
    • List(GET)
    • Group Schema
  • Representation : JSON
  • SCIM Client API
  • Response Codes
  • Authentication : HTTP Basic Auth
  • SCIM Resource endpoints exposed as JAX-RS based REST resources using Apache Wink
  • In Memory User Store
  • JAX-RS Response handling

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