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.
SummaryThe Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager integrates with the company's SharePoint to give administrators the ability to manage user identities and create identity workflows all in one place. This product also includes a number of user self-service tasks, such as managing passwords and profiles. Forefront also 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, but we found that is just on the surface. Before the product 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 the installer would come back saying we did not have this service pack or that service pack. Once we were able to get the right versions of everything, the installation of the product itself was simple and only took a few minutes.
All management of this product is done through the web-based administration interface, which plugs directly into SharePoint. We found this interface to be comfortable to use, and anyone familiar with Microsoft products or SharePoint administration will recognize the navigational look and feel. On the user side, we found the user portals - with a well-organized layout - to be easy to navigate as well.
As with most Microsoft products, there is a ton of available documentation. We found these guides to be easy to follow because of many step-by-step instructions, and guides were broken up into clear, organized categories for easy searching.
Microsoft offers free support via TechNet to all customers. However, customers also can purchase support at various levels or on a case-by-case basis.
At a price of $15,000 per server, plus $18 per user, this product can become quite expensive quite fast. It can also become more expensive if the organization does not have SQL Server, as that is an extra license cost. We find Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager to be an average value for the money. While this product has some great features, we find it can become too expensive for some environments.