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Active Roles 7.2 - SPML Provider Administrator Guide

Understanding SPML Provider

Understanding Active Roles SPML Provider

Understanding Active Roles SPML Provider

Active Roles SPML Provider is designed to exchange the user, resource, and service provisioning information between SPML-enabled enterprise applications and Active Directory.

Active Roles SPML Provider supports the Service Provisioning Markup Language Version 2 (SPML v2), an open standard approved by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). SPML - is an XML-based provisioning request-and-response protocol that provides a means of representing provisioning requests and responses as SPML documents. The use of open standards provides the enterprise architects and administrators with the flexibility they need when performing user management and user provisioning in heterogeneous environments.


The key features of Active Roles SPML Provider are as follows:

  • Support for two operation modes: SPML Provider can be configured to operate in proxy mode or in direct access mode. In proxy mode, SPML Provider accesses Active Directory or Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS, formerly known as ADAM) through Active Roles used as a proxy service, while in direct access mode, SPML Provider directly accesses Active Directory or AD LDS.
  • Support for equivalent LDAP operations: SPML Provider can perform equivalent LDAP operations such as addRequest, modifyRequest, deleteRequest, and lookupRequest.
  • Support for Azure AD, AD, and AD LDS data management: SPML Provider enables SPML-conformant applications to read from and write to both Active Directory (AD) and AD LDS.
  • Search Capability support: SPML Provider allows SPML-enabled applications to search for relevant directory objects based on various search criteria.
  • Password Capability support: SPML Provider allows SPML-enabled applications to perform basic password management tasks such as setting and expiring user passwords.
  • Suspend Capability support: SPML Provider allows SPML-enabled applications to effectively enable, disable and deprovision user accounts in Active Directory.
  • Flexible Configuration options: There is support for many different configuration options that enable the administrator to adjust the behavior and optimize the SPML Provider performance.
  • IIS Security Support: SPML Provider supports all IIS security configurations, including integrated Windows authentication, basic authentication, and basic authentication over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
  • Support for using Active Roles controls: In proxy mode, you can send Active Roles controls to the Active Roles Administration Service with an SPML request to perform an administrative operation. In your request, you can also define the Active Roles controls that the Administration Service must return in the SPML response.

Use scenarios

SPML Provider can be used for a variety of purposes. Some common scenarios for using SPML Provider are as follows:

  • Non-Windows applications: The systems running non-Windows applications that need to communicate with Active Directory can do this through SPML Provider. For example, with SPML Provider, Unix applications can manage Unix-enabled user accounts in Active Directory. In proxy mode, SPML Provider allows existing SPML-compatible provisioning systems, such as SUN Java System Identity Manager and IBM Tivoli Directory Integrator to take advantage of the functionality of Active Roles.
  • Web services: The use of directories in Web services is growing rapidly. Additionally, XML is becoming the default language for use with Web services. SPML Provider fills the gap between XML documents and Active Directory services, enabling applications that must provide or use Web services to communicate with Active Directory.
  • Handheld and portable devices: Data-enabled cell phones or PDAs that need an access to directory data may not contain a client for the ADSI LDAP Provider but might be able to use the SPML communication protocol to access Active Directory over the Internet.
  • Firewall access: Certain firewalls cannot pass LDAP traffic because they cannot audit it, but these firewalls can pass XML. In such cases, applications can use SPML Provider to communicate with Active Directory across a firewall.

Basic concepts and definitions

Understanding SPML Provider > Basic concepts and definitions

Active Roles SPML Provider operates based on the concepts defined in SPML v2. This section introduces and describes these key concepts and definitions as applied to SPML Provider.

A Client (Requesting Authority or Requestor) is any SPML-compliant application that sends well-formed SPML requests to the Active Roles SPML Provider and receives responses from it. Clients can include various business applications, such as human resources (HR) databases or Identity Management systems. There is no direct contact between a client and the target (Active Roles or an Active Directory server).

Active Roles SPML Provider (Provisioning Service Provider or PSP) is a Web service that uses the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) over HTTP for communications. SPML Provider can directly access Active Directory data or communicate with Active Directory using the Active Roles proxy service. SPML Provider acts as an intermediary between a client and the target (Active Directory domain controller or Active Roles).

In proxy mode, Active Roles represents the Provisioning Service Target (or Target) that is available for provisioning actions through SPML Provider. The target has a unique identifier (targetID) that is maintained by SPML Provider and is used in a request or a response.

AD Objects (Provisioning Service Objects or PSO) represent directory objects that SPML Provider manages. A client can add, delete, modify, or look up a directory object. Each object has a unique identifier (PSO ID). In SPML Provider, an object DN is used as a PSO ID.

NOTE: A Requestor, Provisioning Service Provider, Provisioning Service Target, and Provisioning Service Objects are key notions described in the official SPML v2 specification.

For detailed information on the concepts defined in SPML v2, see Section 2 “Concepts” of the OASIS SPML v2 specification, available for download at

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