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Microsoft Releases SP1 for Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2

Microsoft quietly released Service Pack 1 for its Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 (FIM 2010 R2) product earlier this month.

The new service pack is currently available to Microsoft's volume licensing and professional services subscribers, such as TechNet and MSDN members, according to a Microsoft blog post. FIM 2010 R2 is Microsoft's non-cloud-based identity management solution for use "across heterogeneous systems," according to Microsoft's description. It's designed to help automate the management of user identities in organizations that want to control user access to data. That's typically done by assigning "roles" to users and setting rights.

The new service pack for FIM 2010 R2 mainly delivers some up-to-date capabilities that correspond with some of Microsoft's newer flagship products, such as Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, SQL Server 2012 and SharePoint Foundation 2013, among others. SP1 is arriving about six months after Microsoft released FIM 2010 R2 back in June.

In September, Microsoft gave notice of a major reorganization of the Forefront enterprise security product line, with some products being discontinued or renamed. However, Microsoft indicated that two products would continue to be sold, namely Forefront Unified Access Gateway 2010 SP2 and FIM 2010 R2. The restructuring may reflect a shift toward more cloud-based security solutions on Microsoft's behalf, according to analyst speculation.

Possibly another name change is in the works for FIM 2010 R2, which could get branded under the Windows Azure or System Center product lines, according to speculation in a Forefront Blog post by Stefan van der Wiele, who is a security engineer with Amsterdam-based Microsoft IT solutions partner Wortell.

Microsoft is touting a few FIM 2010 R2 performance improvements with the new service pack. Roles provisioning enabled via the Microsoft BHOLD Suite SP1 is beefed up. For instance, the old provisioning model got replaced in SP1 with an "access management connector." This connector reduces the number of management agents needed to work with SQL Server, for instance. The connector also makes it easier to handle users that belong to "more than one orgunit in the FIM metaverse," according to Microsoft's TechNet library article on BHOLD Suite SP1. Those efforts reflect Microsoft integration of BHOLD Software assets that Microsoft acquired in September 2011.

Before applying the service pack, Microsoft seems to be recommending an upgrade to newer server applications first, according to the release notes. A couple of hotfixes need to be applied to enable it to work with Internet Explorer 10. For those testing an installation of SP1, Microsoft has published a test lab guide for FIM 2010 R2 here, as well one for the BHOLD connector here. There's also a download page for language packs for FIM 2010 R2.

Microsoft also gave notice this month that it plans to remove some features from the FIM 2010 and FIM 2010 R2 products associated with the synchronization service in a future product release.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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