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Middleware Implementation Case Studies. Tom Barton, The University of Memphis Renee Woodten Frost, Internet2 & UMich Louise Miller-Finn, Johns Hopkins University. Outline of Presentation. Renee will introduce the concept of Core Middleware and the reasons for implementation

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middleware implementation case studies

Middleware Implementation Case Studies

Tom Barton, The University of Memphis

Renee Woodten Frost, Internet2 & UMich

Louise Miller-Finn, Johns Hopkins University

outline of presentation
Outline of Presentation
  • Renee will introduce the concept of Core Middleware and the reasons for implementation
  • Tom will give an overview of the structure of an Enterprise Directory Service and identify some issues currently facing the U of Memphis.
  • Louise will detail the Johns Hopkins model for an Enterprise Directory Service.
  • Renee will summarize some additional related Internet2 Middleware Initiative activities.
core middleware
Core Middleware

Identity - unique markers of who you (person, machine, service, group) are

Authentication - how you prove or establish that you are that identity

Directories - where an identity’s basic characteristics are kept

Authorization - what an identity is permitted to do

PKI - emerging tools for security services

organizational drivers
Organizational Drivers
  • Federal government
  • E-enterprise functions
  • Service expectations
  • Resource allocation pressures
  • Collaboration
benefits to the institution
Benefits to the Institution
  • Economies for central IT - reduced account management, better web site access controls, tighter network security...
  • Economies for distributed IT - reduced administration, access to better information feeds, easier integration of departmental applications into campus-wide use...
  • Improved services for students and faculty - access to scholarly information, control of personal data, reduced legal exposures...
  • Participation in future research environments - Grids, videoconferencing, etc.
  • Participation in new collaborative initiatives - DoD, Shibboleth, etc.
costs to the institution
Costs to the Institution
  • Modest increases in capital equipment and staffing requirements for central IT
  • Considerable time and effort to conduct campus wide planning and vetting processes
  • One-time costs to retrofit some applications to new central infrastructure
  • One-time costs to build feeds from legacy source systems to central directory services
  • The political wounds from the reduction of duchies in data and policies
nature of the work
Nature of the Work
  • Technology
    • Establish campus-wide services: name space, authentication
    • Build an enterprise directory service
    • Populate the directory from source systems
    • Enable applications to use the directory
nature of the work1
Nature of the Work
  • Policies and Politics
    • Clarify relationships between individuals and institution
    • Determine who manages, who can update and who can see common data
    • Structure information access and use rules between departments and central administrative units
    • Reconcile business rules and practices
enterprise directory service what is it
Enterprise Directory Service: What Is It?
  • Anti-stovepipe architecture that can provide authentication, attribute, & group services to applications.
  • Adds value by improving cost/benefit of online services and by improving security.
  • A new & visible flow of administrative data. When someone finally begins to understand what you’re talking about, they react to the prospect of change.
managed objects
Managed Objects
  • Objects that describe:
    • People
    • Groups
    • Aliases, Roles, Affiliations
    • Network devices
    • Security policies
    • Network services
    • Org structure
  • The object classes and source data to populate them are determined by the applications to be directory enabled.
enterprise directory service how to build one
Enterprise Directory Service:How To Build One
  • Determine application-driven requirements for authentication, attribute, and group services and then design these four stages to meet the requirements:
          • Data Sources
          • Metadirectory Processes
          • Directory Services
          • Applications
uom core middleware stages
UoM Core Middleware Stages

Data sources

Metadirectory processes



notes re uom core middleware stages
Notes re: UoM Core Middleware Stages
  • Data Sources: Attribute selection; negotiation for access; determination of data access policy; familiarity with semantics of desired data elements & business processes that maintain them.
  • Metadirectory Processes: Management of identity; transformational & business logic (resource provisioning); derived attributes & structures (eg, uid’s, email attributes, state variables, org structure groups & attributes, …).
  • Directory Services: Loading & replicating; access controls for directory information; schema extensions to support applications; indexing & performance management; synchronizing other consumers of directory info.
notes re uom core middleware stages1
Notes re: UoM Core Middleware Stages

Applications. Some boxes represent classes of apps. Tigerlan (800 seats of computer labs); white pages (people search); Library proxy access; postoffice & calendar account building; manage mail account (vacation, quota, …); various web-based utilities for LSPs; ResNet autoregistration; secure discussion groups; campus pipeline; UoM “address book” integrated into email clients; IMAP/POP/web accessible emailboxes; calendar; email routing; off-campus email relay provided only to authenticated users; mass email; dialup & wireless authentication & authorization; card swipe facilitated account self-maintenance; automated account & resource management (“misc actions” in the slide).

notes re uom core middleware stages2
Notes re: UoM Core Middleware Stages

Applications - upcoming: WebCT; data warehouse; suite of applications directly managed by AD; shell account, home directory & personal web page access; FASTLane (Faculty & Staff LAN); storage & distribution of digital certificates, a key element of PKI; PIN synchronization??; new UoM ID card based applications??; authentication of Library patrons??

issues with current data sources

All accounts paid from, not just primary department.


Select students from current, future, and previous term and add’l data elements to support 2nd generation group messaging.

Pull instructor data too.

ADS (Alumni): initiate

DRA (Library): initiate

Async (Clientele):

New web based account self-maintenance to replace card swipes.

“Challenge” Qs & As for identification in non face-to-face circumstances.

Issues With Current Data Sources
issues with the current metadirectory
Issues With the Current Metadirectory
  • NDS update channel is too slow
  • Ancient, frozen technology (especially Ph)
  • Anticipate new policy regarding account & resource management, especially to handle off-campus students & alumni.
  • 9 years of spaghetti
  • Tightly bound to particular source and directory technologies.
issues with current directories
Issues With Current Directories
  • Must bring Active Directory into this infrastructure.
  • Need better representations & procedures for non-people objects: static groups; dynamic groups; org structure related groups, roles, and people attributes; affiliations & other “correlated” info.
  • Need to include new types of metadirectory consumers such as list processors
metadirectory data flow overview
MetaDirectory Data Flow Overview
  • Provide complete SOR data-to-directory path;
  • Push the data through one cycle to kickoff development process; (prime the pump)
    • Review first iteration, and prepare next iteration with updates;
  • Each iteration flushes more detail to the requirements in a rapid application development process adding data, business rules and/or policy changes;
  • Document and store standard deployment procedure;
  • Each iteration provides intense unit testing followed by QC test cycle, then move to production
stage 1 analyze data sources
Stage 1 – Analyze Data Sources
  • Identify Data Sources
    • Where do the data feeds originate; what data fields are required; Provide Standard Data Collection Model
    • What is the frequency of the data feed; require fixed length fields and records;
  • Define database load procedure and produce audit log
stage 2 database requirements
Stage 2 – Database Requirements
  • Define the input tables to represent the clients’ data; define key fields to tie tables together;
  • Document and store common database procedures;
  • Provide data model using Entity Relationship tool (e.g. ERWin);
  • Provide standard database templates for reuse;
  • Provide audit log
stage 3 back end processing bep
Stage 3 – Back End Processing (BEP)
  • Develop procedures (PLSQL) to process high level business rules;
  • Create intermediate tables with directory records;
  • Implement ER diagrams that define table fields;
  • Store common procedure templates for reuse;
  • Provide audit log;
stage 4 database table export
Stage 4 – Database Table Export
  • Provide export file in fixed field, fixed record format;
  • Develop status field processing using eye catcher (e.g. ‘ADD’, ‘DELETE’, ‘UPDATE’, ‘NOCHANGE’)
  • Document export procedure and standard field values;
  • Create and store common export procedure template;
  • Produce activity log
stage 5 directory import
Stage 5 – Directory Import
  • Process export files using generic (PERL) script to import/update enterprise directory;
    • Keep code free of business rules;
  • Create and store common script template for reuse;
  • Provide web base report interface to track activity and status;
  • Provide audit log
stage 6 directory status
Stage 6 – Directory Status
  • Provide audit log of directory activity;
    • Create and store common report template;
    • Generate standard web based activity report;
  • Provide backup/recovery procedure;
  • Provide replication service;
stage 7 front end processing fep
Stage 7 – Front End Processing (FEP)
  • Define and deploy access control (ACL);
    • Define JHI policy for the global user, the person, and the administrator;
    • Develop and document scope and visibility to the directory attributes;
  • Develop and deploy common web enabled directory access (a common ‘look and feel’ to the front end);
    • Use a common set of development tools (e.g. ColdFusion);
  • Apply front end application level business rules (more specific rules than the back end process);
stage 8 directory updates
Stage 8 – Directory Updates
  • Provide a log dataset of directory activity (updates, deletes, etc.);
  • Provide standard procedure for data owners to pull the activity log;
  • Design and implement a standard record layout using a status field and a audit trailer record;
  • Don’t underestimate the need to keep repeating the message
    • Support from the top is critical
  • Continual auditing: data feeds will disappear or show up corrupted
  • Hire the best, otherwise you will waste much time and $$$
  • Maintain KISS principle
related i2 directory activities
Related I2 Directory Activities
  • Early Harvest / Early Adopters -



  • LDAP Recipe - http://www.georgetown.edu/giia/internet2/ldap-recipe/
  • eduPerson –


  • Directory of Directories – http://middleware.internet2.edu/dodhe
related i2 middleware activities
Related I2 Middleware Activities
  • Shibboleth –




  • PKI Labs


  • Vidmid –


for more information
For More Information
  • Tom Barton


  • Renee Woodten Frost


  • Louise Miller-Finn