Lucent, Cisco, Nortel boost directory links

Lucent, Cisco Systems, and Nortel are accelerating efforts to link network directories to their hardware, thus enabling policy management and other functions.

Additional systems in Lucent's Cajun switch line will be shipped with RealNet Rules, an enterprise policy management application that includes Novell Directory Services (NDS). Switches with this functionality will include the Cajun P330 and P880, in addition to the already-equipped P550. Lucent this week also will debut its Cajun P880 enterprise switch for voice, video, and data application deployment.

Cisco this month plans to release the next version of its User Registration Tool (URT), which will feature expanded directory support. Nortel Networks this month will release its Optivity Policy Services (OPS) 1.1 with NDS 8 support.

Lucent officials said the use of NDS technology in RealNet Rules simplifies network administration for customers, offering an all-in-one policy management directory solution. The collaboration stems from a partnership with Novell announced in October 1998.

The URT tool will add ties to Microsoft's Active Directory. Cisco's URT already supports NDS.

"[URT] addresses challenges associated with user mobility," said Dean Rogers, product manager of Cisco's enterprise management unit.

"We integrate with the NDS tree to allow URT to obtain the list of users and the list of organisational units, and then we can map specific user policies to a user ID or to a collection of user IDs that fall under an organizational unit," Rogers said.

Nortel's OPS 1.1 will include both Netscape Directory Server and NDS 8 as the directory store, a Nortel official said.

"Our strategy regarding directory integration is to keep NDS as the back-end data store versus integrating NDS clients on all our servers," said Tom Hussey, product-line manager for OPS.

With requirements for scalability and reliability increasing, directory-enabling network devices may provide needed quality of service.

"The idea of associating users with services and services with users is so fundamental to service management in the future,"said analyst John Morency, executive vice president of Sage Research, in Natick, Mass.

Lucent's 17-slot Cajun P880 is a routing switch that shares a common architecture with the Cajun P550, offering users the ability to use existing 50-Series media modules as well as forthcoming 80-Series modules, according to Lucent officials.

Lucent's Cajun P880 switch will be available in January starting at $24,950. The 80-Series modules will be available in the summer of 2000. RealNet Rules is available now at $9,995 per server.

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