Seamless identity and access management grow in importance along with our reliance on a variety of clouds, platforms, SaaS solutions, and applications.
I had the opportunity to talk to Satish Iyer, V.P. of Product and Strategy at HPE GreenLake to learn how they made a buy versus build decision for the identity and access management (IAM) portion of their platform.
How did you decide between buying an existing IAM solution versus building in-house?
The goal of the GreenLake service offering is to deliver the experience and agility of the public cloud on-prem. We offer customers a managed cloud experience to redesign, build, and manage their own on-prem infrastructure (GreenLake).
So one of the things our customers look for in a lot of the public providers, or any big enterprise service provider, who can do a lot of stuff. One of the key things our customers depend on is applications, so they need a federated identity solution.
Identity is important but is not the business we make money on. Our customers are very complex. We needed someone who can deal with the cloud and understands it, not just a public cloud but all the different SaaS solutions our clients are using. As such, we needed to find the best IAM solution for our platform -- someone who had already solved the problem really well.
How was the implementation?
It was pretty fast. We have strong policy-based enforcement in terms of network access and identity reinforcement policies. We started on the whole evaluation sometime around August 2019., Then we launched GreenLake sometime around the first week of December so the IAM solution was in place in November. That’s aggressive, and we're moving customers to it now. GreenLake Central is a single platform with all the workloads and is the key element by which all identities are federated.
Challenges that people need to be aware of when they're implementing Okta?
Our focus is scale so there needed to be a lot of automation around user management and automatic identity federation. You're talking about a customer environment. Let's say the customer is getting compliance services on top of Greenake, you need to be able to offer identity not only on infrastructure on GrrenLake, but also federate on enterprise identity, and understand if they have Azure credentials. We leveraged a lot of IIRA features with Okta’s guidance. We worked on non-public APIs because we provide services that manage all types of identities so we needed to customize the standard model. Okta had the capabilities but some APIs were not GA’s. but you need to be able to do basically need to be able to pretty complex.
What are some pleasant surprises that you didn't realize maybe going in?
Not to sound too cliche, but identity is not something you should have to think about. It should be seamless. I was doing demos with our executive committee last week. For me, identity is important so that when you have the right credentials, it just needs to work, you shouldn’t know what’s underneath, you should know you’re federating to another environment with access to the things you should have access to.
We have so many personas and roles we are managing an environment for a customer. Customers have their own workforces so seamless cross-domain identity is the number one requirement. Multi-level deployment is where we had some work to do, but that is super important for how easily we can automate, the scaling part, how many applications so we can add services on top of GreenLake. We’re able can go from 10 to 10,000 users and it’s super easy for customers to manage. Those are the key things I look for.
How do you see the adoption of green light and Okta IAM solutions evolving over the next 12 months?
Customers will see what experiences they are getting from the cloud and will expect that experience in everything they do. The main focus on GreenLake is to provide an on-prem experience that equal to or greater than that in the cloud. Customers will expect seamless experiences across all clouds. The number of services and platforms will increase. We’ll see more enterprises moving to a hybrid multi-cloud environment to avoid lock-in and maintain choice.
On the Okta side, as we talk about more services, we will realize the need for everything to work together seamlessly. Identity is the thread that stitches them all together - more cloud, more services, best-in-class SaaS services - identity is the backbone. That’s a big positive for us and Okta.
It’s all about experience whether you are sitting at home, in the office, or traveling, you want the same look, feel, and UX without having to worry about it. Any company fixing those problems proactively is doing sell. Seamlessness, productivity, not creating a ticket, spinning up a container cluster.
Seamlessness infrastructure, technology, and software drive productivity.