Standardizing Resource Provisioning

XML consortium forms committee to develop data standard for e-provisioning

Boston, MA  November 7, 2001  Members of OASIS, the XML standards consortium, have formed a committee to define an XML-based framework for resource provisioning, the nonprofit consortium announced this week.

Resource provisioning software allows companies to centralize and automate the process of supplying, or "provisioning," employees with access to such company's resources as computers, e-mail accounts, databases or computer systems.

The OASIS Provisioning Services Technical Committee is to define an XML-based framework for exchanging user, resource and service provisioning information. Members of the new committee will work to develop the Provisioning Services Markup Language (PSML), a specification for the automation of user or system access and entitlement rights to electronic services.

The creation of an XML standard should make it easier for companies to implement provisioning systems, according to Phil Schacter, a vice president at the Burton Group. "The OASIS initiative to develop a new XML-based standard for provisioning systems to interoperate with each other removes a major obstacle to the deployment of effective account management strategies that span applications, platforms and corporate boundaries," Schacter said.

The standard will also help bring order to the mishmash of different approaches currently in use by the various providers of resource provisioning software and services, according to Darran Rolls of Waveset Technologies, chair of the new committee. "Today, provisioning suppliers and enterprise systems resource suppliers use proprietary APIs [application programming interface] and data models for security administration. Our goal at OASIS is to open the interfaces between multiple provisioning systems, as well as between the provisioning system and the resources being managed. PSML will provide the framework for standards-based interoperability in the provisioning market."

Patrick Gannon, president and CEO of OASIS, said that without a standardized approach to resource provisioning, using this type of Web service could entail a significant administrative burden. The OASIS committee, he said, "will provide a fundamental benefit to enable Web services as a practical business tool."

Organizations collaborating on the committee include Access360, Business Layers, Jamcracker, Novell, Oblix and OpenNetwork Technologies.

OASIS, which stands for the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, has about 400 corporate and individual members. The organization has been working with the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) since late 1999 on the ebXML standard.

For more information on resource provisioning, see the article "The World of Resource Provisioning," the Net Best Thing column in the November 2001 issue of iSource Business (