Glow account management in the “free world” #EDUScotICT

I have been tracking progress with the Glow reprocurement in recent months.  It seems that after the procurement exercise was started it was abruptly stopped.  This followed by a period of public consultancy – which I think is still underway.  The timescales which relate to the procurement process are quite critical.  I understand, the current contract will end in September 2012, further more this will be a hard stop in view of the fact that the original 5 year term was extended to 7 with in the terms of the original contract.  At the end of this extended period I expected that the current contract would end to be replaced by something new and better.

I want to use this post to reflect on one critical aspect of the old and possible future service.  I am concerned here with the need for a core service which manages the creation of user accounts.  In the original system this was done by an account provisioning service which took its inputs from School MIS systems and then created all the necessary accounts through a batch process.  I did not use the plural for account here by mistake!  In Glow each user needs to have account provisioned for a number of different services including the portal, email, discussion boards, Glow Learn and so on. In addition it is necessary for each user to be added to any Glow Group to which they should belong.  This is a none trivial process which I do not plan to elobourate on – but I do want to make the point that although user access to all services in Glow is controled by Core ID giving the impression that there is only one service.  The Single Sign On service was mandatory requirement of the original Glow service – I hope it will continue to be a feature of Glow Futures.

In order to explain my concerns I have produced a short video which provides a highlevel overview of the issues as I see them.  In the video I detail the original Glow service components and also specualte about what might be needed to maintain an environment where users need only be concerned with accessing and using their accounts and all the component services with-out any need to be concerned with account setup or registration.  The Schools and Local Authorities would remain the authority for user account creation and maintenance.

click the following link to access the video – be patient will take a few minutes to download.
Video about account Management in Future Glow


2 thoughts on “Glow account management in the “free world” #EDUScotICT”

  1. Hi Jim,

    Watched the whole video, very well put IMHO. A lot of work went into the creation of the Data Exchange and the provisioning.

    One thing tho I think the Wikis, Blogs etc (the new services) were internally hosted, I may be wrong as I was on the outside of the implementation.

    Being Edinburgh born I am extremely interested on how Glow moves forward, it would be a real shame if it all collapsed due to shortsightedness.

    1. Hi David,
      Yes agreed they were internally hosted but they were federated from an authentication perspective. In other words users authenticated to them using Shibboleth as opposed to CoreID. I too hope that Glow has a future and more importantly users have a smooth passage as the new service comes online. it does seem there was a significant blip in the re-procurement process which wasted valuable time. Is there sufficient time to make a well planned and smooth transition – well I think we know soon enough.

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