Microsoft and Novell are collaborating on an identity federation solution that will allow LDAP directories to access Microsoft SharePoint.

The solution, which will ship in March, adds a service component to Novell’s Access Manager identity management system to federate identities to SharePoint, said Joshua Dorfman, Novell’s senior director of global partner marketing.

Novell will package associated client-access licenses, Dorfman added. “Otherwise it’s just a configuration recommendation.” Microsoft partners, including Dell, are validating the configuration on their hardware.

Future projects for the technology will broaden identity federation to include application development, database access and cloud computing infrastructure, Dorfman said.

It is being jointly developed at the companies’ shared lab site in Cambridge, Mass. The interoperability is made possible through the OASIS WS-Federation specification.

Identities and credentials carry over from one directory store to the other, enabling single sign-on, said Novell distinguished engineer Jeremy Brown.

Novell Access Manager transforms claims into Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) requests that can be accepted by SharePoint. The service component is also used to map permissions from Access Manager to SharePoint.

ADFS 2.0 is Microsoft’s implementation of WS-Federation and SAML 2.0. It is a foundational technology of Microsoft’s Geneva identity management solution.

Customers may use any LDAP 3.0-compliant directory with the solution, Brown said.