This post covers basics of Federation and few points on OIF

1. Identity Federation is process of exchanging identity information between two enterprise (domains) Identity Provider (IdP) and Service Provider (SP). Assume that there are two companies

a) Your Company with name myCorp – domain1
b) Travel company (travelCorp) which provide car/flight booking for employees of company myCorp – domain2

Exchange of identity information between domain1 (myCorp) and domain2 (travelCorp) is called as Federation.

2. Typically in Federation there are two parties
a) IdP (Identity Provider) – provides Identity
b) SP (Service Provider) – receives identity and provides service

In above example – If you are employee of myCorp and you takes travel service (flight or car) from travelCorp then in this case myCorp will be treated as Identity Provider (IdP) and travelCorp will act as Service Provider (SP)

3. Oracle’s Federation Solution is Oracle Identity Federation (OIF) and is one of the component of Oracle Identity Management Suite.

4. OIF can act as IdP only, SP only, or both SP & IdP

5. Federation can be
a) Browser-based – user accessing web application from browser on HTTP : Oracle Identity Federation (OIF) provides browser-based Federation Solution .

b) Document-based – application to application communication on SOAP : Oracle Web Services Manager (OWSM) provides document-based Federation solution.

6. Federation can be configured in following ways or use cases
a) Transient Federation : user may or may not have account in both federation partners i.e. IdP and SP. SP simply relies on session asserted by IdP.

b) Mapped Federation (Account Mapping) : user has account on both federation partners i.e. in IdP and SP. Account in IdP is mapped to account in SP based on common attribute. There is 1-to-1 linking of account between IdP and SP based on shared information like email, DN, uid etc.

c) Linked Federation
 (Account Linking): is an extension to mapped federation where user has account in both federation partners but there is no common attribute for mapping. This is also 1-to-1 linking of account between IdP and SP (similar to Mapped Federation) . Example of linked federation is where user attribute employeeNumber(or something else) at IdP side is linked to different attribute (like uid or email) at SP.

d) Role based federation (attribute based)
: IdP can send non-unique attribute in place of specific attribute like role of identity i.e. manager or developer.

7. OIF 11g is J2EE application deployed on WebLogic Server. OIF is deployed under managed server in WebLogic Domain and is tightly integrated with Fusion Middleware Enterprise Manager Control (em)

8. OIF 11g is installed using Oracle Identity Management software (same software that contains OID & OVD).

9. Latest available OIF version (as of April 2012) is (11g R1 PS5) . 11g R1 PS5 ( is patch set only that means it must be installed on base version

10. Default Identity Store for OIF is WebLogic’s embedded LDAP server which can be changed to external LDAP server (OID, AD, ODSEE…) either at initial configuration statgeor later using enterprise manager (em)

In next post, I’ll cover installation of Oracle Identity Federation including Authentication Type, User Store, Federation Store, Session/Message Store, and Configuration Store in OIF