Sun Java System Access Manager Policy Agent 2.2 Guide for IBM WebSphere Portal Server

J2EE Agent URL Policy Enhancements

Starting with this release of J2EE agents, the following features are available that enhance Uniform Resource Locator (URL) policy:

The aforementioned features affect how agents enforce policy decisions. These features are described in the following paragraphs.

Remote Policy Evaluation Failover in J2EE Agents

J2EE agents can now leverage session failover functionality to ensure that remote policy evaluation failover can occur if an Access Manager instance becomes unavailable.

Benefit - Remote Policy Evaluation Failover: The benefit of this feature is the potential for a seamless user experience in the event of a failure or maintenance related outage of various servers within the Access Manager deployment.

Configurable Policy Evaluation Mechanism in J2EE Agents

Starting with this release, J2EE agents can be configured to use two different mechanisms to remotely evaluate policies as follows:

Benefit - Configurable Policy Evaluation Mechanism: The configurable policy evaluation mechanism has a variety of benefits depending on the situation. The very fact that you can configure the policy evaluation mechanism is beneficial in that it enables you to choose the mechanism that best fits your site's requirements. Moreover, each mechanism has its advantages and disadvantages.

When configured to perform policy evaluation for all resources within an agent’s scope of protection the first request is, by design, time consuming while subsequent requests are faster since the results get cached locally by the agent.

For the second mechanism, the first request is no slower or faster than subsequent requests. All requests are processed relatively quickly. However, this mechanism increases network communication between the agent and Access Manager. Furthermore, the two mechanism can produce different types of cache growth in agent memory and thus must be evaluated closely to select the best option for your site's deployment. Key factors that could affect such a decision include the number of possible distinct resources and the number of policies applicable to an average user.

Composite Advice in J2EE Agents

In the 2.2 release, J2EE agents provide a composite advice feature. This feature allows the policy and authentication services of Access Manager to decouple the advice handling mechanism of the agents. This allows you to introduce and manage custom advices by solely writing Access Manager side plug-ins. Starting with this release, you are not required to make changes on the agent side. Such advices are honored automatically by the composite advice handling mechanism.

Benefit - Composite Advice: A benefit of composite advice is that you can incorporate a custom advice type without having to make changes to an agent deployment.

Policy Based Response Attributes in J2EE Agents

The policy-based response attribute feature allows the policy service to provide static and dynamic attributes based on the resource accessed by the user. These attributes can be made available to the agent protected application as HTTP headers, request attributes, or cookies.

Benefit - Policy Based Response Attributes: A benefit of the policy-based response attribute feature is that it provides more flexible support for application-specific agent customizations compared to prior Policy Agent releases, which only allowed for static profile attributes to be fetched.