Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager
Strengths: Many intuitive and easy to use features
Weaknesses: Very pricey
Verdict: Needs a lot of additional products in some installations making this one expensive, even though it is feature-packed
Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager integrates with SharePoint to give administrators the ability to manage user identities and create identity workflows, all in one place. It also includes a number of user self-service tasks, such as managing passwords and profiles, and includes the ability for administrators to manage security and distribution group profiles for added security.
This product seems on the surface to be an easy install. However, before it is installed it requires a number of prerequisites such as SQL Server, SharePoint services and IIS. Our problem is we would install the prerequisites and then the installer would come back stating that we did not have the correct service pack. Once we were able to get the right versions of everything the installation of the product was simple and only took a few minutes.
All management of Microsoft Forefront ID Manager is done through the web-based administration interface, which plugs directly into SharePoint. We found this to be comfortable to use and anyone familiar with Microsoft products or SharePoint administration will recognise the navigational look and feel. On the user side, the user portals were easy to navigate and had a well organised layout.
As with most Microsoft products there is a ton of documentation available. Most can be found online in the form of several guides on TechNet. These guides were easy to follow, with many step-by-step instructions and were broken up into clearly organised categories for easy searching.
Microsoft offers free support to all customers via the online knowledgebase TechNet. However, customers can also purchase support at various levels or on a case-by-case basis.
While Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager has some great features, at a price of £10,677 per server, plus £13 per user, it can quickly become quite pricey for some environments. It is also more expensive if the organisation does not have SQL Server because that is an extra licence cost; therefore we find it to be average value for the money.