On May 11th and 12th 2016 we had the pleasure of hosting a workshop with one of our reference customers for Apache Syncope, the University of Helsinki.
Timo Hatakka, Ismo Aulaskari, Antti Lankinen and Otso Konttinen from the Identity and Access Management team have been visiting our office for two intense and stimulating days of exchange.
The cooperation between Tirasa and the University of Helsinki was initiated more than two years ago, when we started supporting them in renewing their rich and complex identity infrastructure.
During the workshop, the team from university provided some detailed insight about their overall IAM plan, with Apache Syncope at the centre of a complex architecture involving several heterogeneous identity repositories and other open source identity technologies as Shibboleth.
The Tirasa team had the chance to illustrate in detail the new features of upcoming Apache Syncope 2.0, ranging from the brand new front-end applications (administration console, end-user) to the revised internal data model which combines domains, any objects, realms, groups, roles and entitlements to offer powerful features to adopters.
Possible improvements of Apache Syncope and ConnId were also discussed, and some ideas about migration of their current solution to Syncope 2.0 were also drafted.
We finally took the chance to ask some direct questions - which we are glad to report below - especially during the leisure time we happily shared together.
Q: Why did you originally choose Apache Syncope?
A: At the beginning we have performed several PoCs and investigations about different solutions, that took us six months.
Among the key factors that saw Apache Syncope as the winning solution you can count in first place the fast success we had in implementing PoC requirements, then naturally its open source character. The brand "Apache" was also a winning plus, especially for our management.
Q: Why Tirasa?
A: We know very well that learning curve of IdM products can take long time before being effective: with expert support and guidance we have been able to solve issues in hours - sometimes minutes - rather than days.
Specifically, Tirasa was easy to recognize as leading in this Apache Syncope technology.
In principle, we like to use open source technologies, as we have had many good experiences with them.
Q: Are you satisfied with your choices, after more than two years now?
A: Definitely yes, this has proven to be a working relationship, especially for the timely and straight-to-the-problem answers we have been able to receive.
We have also verified that the fixes for several issues we have found are now part of the official Apache Syncope codebase, thanks to the Tirasa team, for benefit of all parties involved.
Q: Can the problems you are solving by your identity solution be useful for other universities?
A: The processes in universities are quite the same within Finland.
Q: At the end, are you happy with the results of this workshop?
A: After so many e-mails, it has been nice to meet in person: there are things very difficult to explain and realize, without seeing each other face-to-face.
We thank the staff from the University of Helsinki for their visit, and wish we will plan soon a new one, while keeping productive and effective our cooperation.