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Certificate Lifecycle Manager Beta 2 Ships

Microsoft announced this week that Beta 2 of its upcoming Certificate Lifecycle Manager, or CLM, is available for download. That puts the product on track to ship in final form during the first half of 2007, according to company officials.

The product is meant to provide flexible management capabilities for identification certificates used to verify proper use of smart cards in enterprise environments.

"CLM Beta 2 is a flexibility story that provides a comprehensive solution for enterprise customers," said John G. Chirapurath, Microsoft director of identity and access product management, in an interview.

A key addition in Beta 2 is support for the Windows Smart Card Framework. Microsoft acquired CLM a little over a year ago when it bought out certificate management vendor Alacris for an undisclosed amount in order to gain ownership of the smaller company's idNexus product suite. The company has since integrated the technology with the authentication and identity infrastructure of Active Directory and Microsoft Certificate Services, officials said.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates announced the advent of CLM Beta 1 in February at the RSA security conference.

According to Microsoft documents, with CLM, both digital certificates and smart cards can be managed as part of the same system. That includes inventory management, card enrollment, recovery, revocation, unblocking, and other features. It is designed to require no development work to implement.

As a Web application, CLM consists of database, business components and presentation layers that can be placed on physically separate servers in various combinations. Network Load Balancing, Microsoft Cluster Server (MSCS), and Microsoft Application Center can be used to enable further scaling. CLM also provides a self-service Web portal which can be configured for use by both users with any supported job role.

In addition, CLM provides features for personalizing and managing Java applets needed for Java cards.

Beta 2 adds support the Microsoft Smart Card Base Cyptographic Service Provider. It also introduces a Notification Events-based API (applications programming interface) and a Provision API for product extensibility. enabling third parties to integrate with and drive CLM provisioning and management activities.

“All partners need to do to let their cards be managed by CLM is to write a mini-driver,” Chirapurath said.

Finally, Beta 2 also extends the list of supported databases to include both SQL Server 2005 Standard and Enterprise editions.

Beta 2 of Microsoft’s Certificate Lifecycle Manager is available for download here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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