The managed resource tier consists of the applications and IT systems to which you provision and deprovision user accounts. It includes the Identity Manager Gateway, which is a helper application that allows Identity Manager to interact with certain resources.
Adapters and connectors provide user management functions, including creating, updating, deleting, and reading user accounts, and performing password change management functionality. Adapters and connectors can also extract account information from a remote system.
In most cases, Identity Manager manages user data on the remote system and does not maintain it in its own data store.
Some common resources that require the use of the Sun Identity Manager Gateway include Microsoft Exchange, Windows Active Directory, Novell eDirectory (formerly Netware Directory Services), Lotus Domino, and several others. (See Sun Identity Manager Gateway in Sun Identity Manager 8.1 Release Notes for a complete list.) The Gateway installs as a service in Windows and communicates with Identity Manager using TCP port 9278. Communication is initiated from Identity Manager using a proprietary encrypted protocol. The Gateway then interfaces with managed resources using the resources native protocols.
From an installation perspective, there are two type of adapters and connectors: Identity Manager adapters and connectors and custom adapters and connectors. Identity Manager adapters and connectors are pre-installed in Identity Manager. Custom adapters and connectors, however, need to be copied to a designated directory in the Identity Manager installation directory located on the application server.
Custom adapters are easy to create using the Identity Manager Resource Extension Facility (REF) kit. The REF kit provides the API and a number of template adapters that companies can use to jump start the development process. Simple resource functionality can be achieved by implementing only eight Java methods.