VisualSVN Server 2.1: Single Sign-On, Two-Factor Authentication Now Available to Subversion Users on Windows Platform

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VisualSVN Server is an all-in-one Subversion server package for the Windows platform. VisualSVN Server dramatically simplifies installation of the Subversion server and brings unique, enterprise-grade features such as Integrated Windows Authentication and Remote Server Administration.

Integrated Windows Authentication support in VisualSVN Server is another significant reason for enterprise customers to adopt Subversion.

VisualSVN Team is delighted to announce VisualSVN Server 2.1. This release builds on the reliability and functionality of previous versions with the addition of the Integrated Windows Authentication feature. Thanks to this feature, single sign-on and two-factor authentication now become available for Subversion users.

With Integrated Windows Authentication support in VisualSVN Server, users gain access to Subversion repositories without being prompted for a username and password. The current Windows credentials on the client computer are supplied through a cryptographic exchange involving hashing with the VisualSVN Server. Either NTLM or Kerberos V5 authentication protocols can be used.

Additionally, any standard Subversion client (such as svn.exe or TortoiseSVN) can be used to work with VisualSVN Server. In other words, there is no vendor lock-in.

Before the VisualSVN Server 2.1, Subversion users on the Windows platform were forced to use the Basic authentication method. Despite its simplicity, Basic authentication has obvious limitations:

  • Security weaknesses: Passwords are transmitted in plain text making them vulnerable if intercepted. Passwords are also cached on disk (on the client side) which provides another opportunity for unwanted access.
  • Additional authentication step: Users are forced to re-enter their username and password to access Subversion repository.
  • Incompatible with smart cards: Since users are always requested to provide their username and password, the Basic authentication method is inherently incompatible with two-factor authentication systems.

Because of the above limitations, Basic authentication has been a serious obstacle to the adoption of Subversion in the corporate world. Integrated Windows Authentication, which is available in VisualSVN Server 2.1 Enterprise Edition, removes all of the above limitations and brings the following clear benefits:

  • Optimal security: Authentication is always performed in a secure manner and credentials are never cached on disk.
  • Single sign-on: Users' Windows credentials are automatically used to access VisualSVN Server, saving them the hassle of additional authentication steps.
  • Two-factor authentication: Compatibility with two-factor authentication systems (e.g. smart cards) ensures that VisualSVN Server can be easily integrated to a secure enterprise environment.

Integrated Windows Authentication support in VisualSVN Server is another significant reason for enterprise customers to adopt Subversion. VisualSVN Server Enterprise Edition also provides other enterprise-grade features such as Remote Server Administration and Access and Operational Logging.

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Subversion (SVN) is an open source Version Control System initiated in 2000. It is well-suited to maintain current and historical versions of files such as source code, Web pages, and documentation. Subversion is also being adopted in the corporate world. In a 2007 report by Forrester Research, Subversion was recognized as the sole leader in the Standalone Software Configuration Management (SCM) category and a strong performer in the Software Configuration and Change Management (SCCM) category.

Products under the VisualSVN brand were introduced on the market in 2006.

"Thanks to the fact that highest quality and clean design are our basic principles since the beginning, our products are greatly appreciated by customers," said Ivan Zhakov, technical director of VisualSVN and Subversion committer. "Both VisualSVN and VisualSVN Server products are trusted by thousands of organizations around the world, and across Fortune 500, public enterprise, education and open source sectors."


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Danil Shopyrin
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