Whither SPML or wither SPML?

Whither SPML or wither SPML? This is the question Mark Diodati asks in his post SPML on Life Support. Ingrid Melve and Nishant Kaushik have follow ups here and here.

The problem with SPML still the same more than 10 years after the effort was started. Right now the choice is between home grown provisioning or bringing in a provisioning vendor. In the latter case the provisioning vendors are forced to absorb the pain of integrating to all the disparate provisioning targets (a pain I know all too well). Since the provisioning vendors make it all work, the customers don’t force the enterprise system vendors to add SPML interfaces.

Note that Nishant has this to say about Oracle:

Is SPML on life support? Not quite, judging from all the RFP requests that still ask for it to be supported. But it desperately needs some energy to be put behind it. And it needs to adapt to these new architectures, new use cases and the ecology of standards that is far out-pacing it. I believe Oracle (led by folks like Prateek Mishra) will be looking to take some leadership in the evolution of the standard. Let’s see if we can turn things around.

Great, I would love to see that happen. But Oracle has been involved in SPML from the beginning, but do you know what they haven’t done? Added an SPML service to to support the provisioning of Oracle DB accounts. Neither has IBM, Sun, or Microsoft with respect to their own DB products, even though they have all had involvement in the SPML standard over the years. It’s the same when you look at directories, email systems, etc.

We can talk about the standards or “pull models” all we want, but it takes two to Tango. Until the enterprise systems support a common interface of some kind, provisioning will still be as problematic as it was 10 years ago.

5 responses to “Whither SPML or wither SPML?

  1. Did you get any good answers to this? I’d love to know if there’s a good contender in this space.

  2. I don’t know of any other standards out there that could fulfill the same need as SPML. There does seem to be some chatter going on about using LDAP via a Virtual Directory (pull model) to accomplish the same thing, but I don’t know how many companies are doing that or service providers supporting that model.

    • I know LDAP can be very restrictive from a back end point of view, i.e. it’s not easy to publish your stuff in LDAP. It’s the same reason it’s so easy to consume and why the virtual directories are commanding so much attention and money. I’m thinking anything that wants to take SPML’s place would need to be XMLish or nothing. That ability to extend easily is a must.

  3. Pingback: Service Provisioning Markup Language (SPML) Special Interest Group at Catalyst

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