Is there a "simple" and/or straightforward explanation of the Java EE stack? As in, where does the confusion of the Identity Manager/Access Manager/Directory Server/<whatnot> integrate with the Glassfish App Server?
Knowing exactly how they integrate is key to understanding how to deploy and troubleshoot a complete Enterprise solution.
Java EE is nothing but a newer version of J2EE. Sun changed the naming convention for this version. Java EE 5 is what J2EE 1.5 would have been. Therefore the same technologies that J2EE covers, such as servlets, EJBs, JSPs, etc, are covered by Java EE 5.
Java EE 5 also covers new technologies and APIs that were not covered by earlier versions of J2EE. For example, JSF was made part of the Java EE standard in Java EE 5, JPA (Java Persistence API), is also a new addition.
Regarding Identity Managers, access managers, etc. These are typically used for authentication and authorization. GlassFish can integrate with these services to delegate authentication and authorization to them. In my experience most of these use an LDAP database, which is supported "out of the box" by GlassFish by one of the security realms it comes with.
Author, <a href="http://www.packtpub.com/java-ee5-development-with-netbeans-6" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Java EE 5 Development with NetBeans 6</a>
subject: Sorting out the various components of "Java EE"