I spent the past three days at Oracle’s office in downtown Chicago working on the Oracle Identity Manager Advanced Workshop. Ananth Kini and Sid Choudhury from Oracle did a fine job explaining the product and it’s various use cases to us. Most of the time was allocated to working though extensive and applicable lab exercises where we were guided through tasks like putting new logos on the login page, customizing look and feel, configure prepopulate adapters, configuring and customizing notifications, extending an existing connector (provisioning), and developing, implementing, and testing a complete connector from scratch.

The class was offered to Oracle Partners for free and is the second workshop in the series. The basic workshop happened several months before (I wasn’t able to attend). Unfortunately, I won’t be able to post the contents of the workshop (you have to be a partner to get access to the content). If you’re an Oracle employee, you can download the lab exercises and virtual machines from an internal Oracle website (you’ll have to contact the IdM PM team to find out the site if you don’t already know it).

Overall, what I took away from the class are these thoughts:

  • Almost no one really uses OIM in the “standard” or “out-of-the-box” configuration. Every implementation will require extensive configuration and very likely, some customizations for look and feel.
  • A background in Java development or at least a strong understanding of programming and OO principles will be very helpful when navigating and using the OIM Design Console.
  • The hot deploy feature in OC4J is completely underrated. Our test environment used JBoss (which doesn’t have a hot deployment option), so we frequently had to restart it. Restarting took anywhere from 30-60 seconds to handle initialization.
  • There are plenty of people interested in OIM. Our class was about 13 people. This workshop is being held 3 times in the US (based on the last schedule I saw) and many people came from near and far to attend this session.
  • The OIM product has impressive capabilities, but it takes more work than expected to take advantage of those capabilities. For a non-programmer-type like me, understanding why 3 properties files all contain the same or similar information still doesn’t make sense, but apparently that’s the way many Java deployments are handled when deployed with i18n.
  • Connectors include not just provisioning parts (add, modify,  delete), but also reconciliation parts.

If you’re a partner and have a chance to attend this event, I’d recommend it. There’s another one happening in November in Reston, VA. Ask your friendly sales rep about it and they should be able to get you the invitation information. Make sure you and your system meet the prerequisites. The workshop uses VMWare images, so having 2Gb of RAM available will be important.