Rival directories set for integration

Novell released an updated version of NDS For NT directory this week, and pledged to add integration with Microsoft's much-delayed ActiveDirectory.

While the 2.01 product represents an incremental upgrade, adding pure IP support and enhanced performance of the data store or replica, bigger improvements are in the pipeline for the next version, which is due to ship before the end of this year.

At that time, Novell will upgrade the NDS code base so that it supports the latest version of Novell's directory service, NDS 8, said Adam Smith, Novell's NDS product marketing manager. By moving its NDS For NT and its NDS For Solaris products to NDS 8, Smith said "[Novell will] have a version of the product that is very scalable and very LDAP [Lightweight Directory Access Protocol]-- oriented." The version that supports NDS 8 will also feature Novell utilities, such as its DS Repair, that will be able to run on Windows NT and Solaris. For Active Directory, Novell is addressing integration in several ways, according to Smith. "A lot of integration is happening with LDAP and ADSI 2.5," he said.

Active Directory Service Interfaces (ADSI) is Microsoft's set of programming interfaces for integrating different directories with Active Directory. Microsoft released version 2.5 two weeks ago. Novell also is exploring the possibility of using LDUP, the LDAP Duplication Protocol, to interface with Active Directory, Smith said. "And another way to integrate is to use the way we do it now -- redirection. That's still the cleanest way for users and administrators."

Integration with Active Directory, Windows 2000 and forthcoming Microsoft applications, such as the Platinum release of Exchange Server, will be key to meeting the future needs of users of NDS For NT. Earlier this year, Microsoft issued a market bulletin warning customers about potential Windows 2000 migration concerns if they deployed NDS For NT.

Users can obtain NDS For NT in a number of ways. The product is part of Novell BranchManager For NT, a bundle the company announced about a month ago, which also includes ZenWorks, Check2000, Border Manager authentication services and SNMP ManageWise agent for NT Server.

Existing NDS, and NetWare 4 and 5 customers can obtain the NT replica free of charge for each NetWare licence they have by downloading it from the Novell Web site at any time until the end of July.