ITxpo 99: Novell to release Net-based tools

Novell, hoping to leverage the strength of its Novell Directory Services (NDS), will release within the next three months a set of network-based tools to manage everything from single sign-on for users to digital security certificates, Novell chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt said on Monday.

"We will be an infrastructure supplier" to not only corporate IT organisations but to application service providers (ASP), which host corporate applications and data and deliver them through the internet, Schmidt told attendees at the Gartner Group Inc.'s Symposium/ITxpo 99.

Using NDS as a low-level system to track users, network devices, applications and other IT components, Schmidt said, the new tools will help IT administrators implement features such as single log-on, which allows users to sign on only once to access all their applications, as well as managing their public key infrastructures (PKI) for security.

When quizzed by Gartner analysts about where this puts Novell into competition with systems management vendors such as Computer Associates, Schmidt said Novell is aiming for the "low-end, but high-volume" market for tools that do basic tracking of objects such as users on a network. That leaves the market for specialised management applications to more specialised vendors such as Computer Associates to build, he said.

Schmidt was noncommittal when Gartner analysts asked whether he would end a practice that requires customers to pay for a separate per-user licence to run NDS on either Microsoft Windows NT or on Novell's own NetWare operating system. Customers have complained about that practice.

"We've been taking steps towards that," Schmidt said, but gave no time frame for when Novell might allow such a single licence for running NDS on multiple platforms.

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