Both companies have identity management businesses but I doubt that these were key to the acquisition. Regardless; in the identity community, everyone’s been waiting to see what Oracle’s roadmap would look like for their collection of identity management products.
Sun’s identity software was based on the LDAP directory originally developed by Netscape, plus the management software from their 2003 acquisition of Waveset; the Waveset management team then ran the identity business, in large part, at Sun, although they’ve long since left. Oracle is a much newer entrant into the identity management business, although they’re automatically on any short list now given their size and penetration in the enterprise marketplace; any company looking at deploying identity management already is running lots of Oracle software (including PeopleSoft, which typically serves as a key store of employee identity in large enterprises). Oracle’s identity solutions have been created via acquisition so even before the Sun acquisition they were dealing with a real hodgepodge of technologies. In addition to their own in-house identity software, four or five years ago they went on a buying binge and acquired Thor, Oblix, OctetString, Bridgestream, Phaos, and others.
The dust has settled on the initial announcements, and the big surprise is that OIM (previously Thor) has been chosen as the strategic provisioning product. I can see all sorts of technical reasons why this might be the case – I imagine that the original Thor product had already been heavily retooled for integration into the fusion middleware suite.
Interestingly, Oracle has chosen to use the Waveset name, which had disappeared from Sun’s catalog ages ago, acknowledging the staying power of that brand. Of course, it doesn’t do the existing Sun (sorry, Waveset) identity customers much good, because they’re the accidental victims of this acquisition — Oracle doesn’t even have a migration plan for them yet.
(In related news, see Michael Meeks’ post on the implications of Soracle on OpenOffice.)
More identity postings…