Wepsphere Portal with Multiple User Registries

In our project we employ Websphere Portal product. Some of our users are defined in Active Directory and some others are defined in a relational database. As you may know Websphere Portal has support for Active Directory as its user registry, but as we also have user definitions outside of Active Directory, we need a way to provide all the user information to the portal in a unified way. We discussed several options related with this requirement together with an IBM guy some time ago. I want to list, and make some comments about them below;

  • One possible solution is to map each different user in our relational database to a unique user in Active Directory. Obviously, this is not a very attractive solution. It will most probably cause problems when our users want to make customizations to their portal accounts. Simply skipped this one. After all for what a portal exist at all?
  • Inserting user definitions into an Active Directory leaf for our users that exist in the relational DB. This looks an acceptable offer at first, but we have some limitations in our project in modifying our customer’s Active Directory to add other users’ definitions. Sorry for this!
  • Another solution is to implement a custom user registry interface. It provides read only user information to Websphere through a predefined interface. IBM consultant commented that, choosing custom user registry will bring one more workload, which is implementing WMM (Websphere Member Manager), not a trivial task, and using custom user registry also causes some SSO integration problems when used together with Lotus Sametime product. Hence, we skipped this one, too.
  • Finally, we can configure an LDAP compatible directory server as our portal’s user registry, and populate user definitions from Active Directory and relational database at runtime. We also employ Trust Association Interceptor for integrating portal in our SSO architecture, and TAI could easily check if there exists an entry for current user in that directory server,and if not it will insert one.

After a round table discussion about above suggestions we preferred to employ fourth one. It doesn’t bring any difference in terms of configuring portal’s user registry, and we don’t need to modify our customer’s active directory. Custom user registry looks at first very promising but, things don’t go very smooth among IBM products.

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