Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to Enforce Fine Grained Authorization to REST Services with Vordel and Oracle Entitlements Server

Hello from Dublin,

I'm nearly at the end of a very long week for Vordel Company kick-off, but I wanted to take the time get the new blog headed in the right direction. I know that my blogging activity tailed off over the last few months, but one of my 2011 New Year's resolutions is to blog once a week - and lose 15 lbs.

Not surprisingly, my first post of the new year is on Vordel's integration with Oracle Entitlements Server. Mark O'Neill, the Vordel CTO, has posted a video demo of the integration. It follows the same basic use case as the Oracle Entitlements Server-Oracle Web Services Manager integration that I did last year, except through the magic of the gateway, its protecting a REST service.
A little background on this integration. This was an integration that the A-Team helped Vordel with a while back. What's really nice about it is that it uses the Java SM. This means that all of the calls are made inside of the Gateway. So if we take the real world scenario described in the demo of the trader making a call to get a price, then performance is super critical. A more naive approach would be to call out using XACML. The problem here is that the additional over head of creating an XML request, sending in, parsing in inside of the WS-SM, packing up the response, sending it back, and parsing again is > 100 ms. Did you even know a trader that could wait 100 ms? Also there is the additional operational complexity of having to stand up two instance of the WS-SM so that there is no single point of failure.

Ultimately, I think the best solution would be OpenAz...then you get a standard and likely an in-process implementation. Now, if you have a XACML endpoint and want to call out - Vordel does this OOTB. If you want this approach, my recommendation would be to run the XACML PDP from Oracle or other XACML vendors co-located on the Gateway (you can run the gateway as a software appliance), and then leverage the XML processing power of Vordel.

The point here is that the quality of the integration and the quality of the platform does matter. A good tight integration, like the one between Oracle Entitlements Server and Vordel has real benefits (lower latency, operational efficiency) to customers.

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