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PDC: Microsoft Releases Geneva Beta

Microsoft today released the first beta of its federated identity services framework aimed at simplifying the way enterprises deploy authentication services.

The company's Geneva framework is aimed at bringing claims-based federated identity management that extends to individuals, enterprises and online services. The framework allows organizations to deploy various standards-based identity protocols -- including SAML, WS-Federated, WS-Identity and OpenID -- and provides a common exchange across various gateways and security token services (STSs).

Geneva will bring a write-once anywhere model that should take the burden off developers from addressing identity into their applications, said Kim Cameron, Microsoft's chief architect of identity and a Microsoft distinguished engineer, speaking at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference in Los Angeles.

"The question became how we could develop a framework where we could insulate [developers] from this turbulence that was consuming their time with things that were not core to them," Cameron said. "The goal was, you would be able to have a framework where you can write your application once and [have] it work automatically in all scenarios."

Geneva consists of three key components: a server edition, a framework consisting of .NET classes and the Windows CardSpace Geneva client. It was released to beta today, though it's not feature-complete. A full beta release is planned for the first half of 2009, while the company intends to release it to manufacturing by the end of next year.

The company unveiled .NET Access Control Services, which is part of Microsoft's newly launched cloud-based service called Windows Azure (until today known as Project Red Dog). It is a tool that allows developers to determine access controls, Cameron said. The first CTP was released today, and a refresh is due out by year's end.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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