Novell to unite Directory with policy management

Novell promises to roll the policy-based management technology that it recently acquired from Ukiah Software into a directory product by year-end.

The combination of policy-based management software and directory services makes sense, given that the management software needs access to directories of the users and network resources for which policies are set.

Novell will honour Ukiah's existing support contracts, but it has no plans to continue to sell or further develop Ukiah's products, a Novell spokesman said. The technology, which includes traffic monitoring and bandwidth shaping, will instead be incorporated into the new directory-enabled product.

"It's a little disheartening" to see the existing software abandoned, said Teo King, systems manager of Web Professionals, a Web-hosting service provider and current user of Ukiah products.

King said he will consider using the directory-enabled product in the future, although he doesn't currently use Novell's NetWare operating system.

Policy-based management is a concept in which network and systems managers determine which users can access network resources. The amount of bandwidth allocated to a particular user or application would be a common policy.

Many network hardware vendors have developed policy management software, but it is usually limited to their own hardware. Ukiah, in Campbell, California, is one of a few startups creating software that can set policies for multiple vendors' hardware.

"I think it's an absolutely brilliant fit," said Sam Alunni, president of enterprise infrastructure at Sterling Research in Sterling, Massachusetts. He points out that this acquisition is one way of Novell applying its Novell Directory Services (NDS) as a central repository of network knowledge.

Novell said it has no plans to make the Ukiah technology directly communicate with Microsoft's Active Directory. However, NDS will eventually have ties to the competing directory.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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