Cisco, IBM ready directory partnership

In a move that could signal broader choices for companies wishing to employ policy-based networking, Cisco Systems soon will announce interoperability of its network products with IBM's e-network directory technology.

A source familiar with Cisco's plans said that within the next several weeks, the dominant network vendor will announce a partnership similar to the one it forged last year with Novell. In an announcement the companies said that they would develop interoperability between Novell Directory Services (NDS) and the CiscoAssure, User Registration and Tracking, and Network Registrar products, "facilitating management and remote configuration of routers and switches".

In an agreement similar to this, Cisco and IBM will announce that Cisco hardware and software will interoperate with IBM's e-network directory technology through common support of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and Directory-Enabled Networks (DEN) standards, the source said.

A source familiar with IBM development said the company was in talks with Cisco about the potential interoperability of Cisco and IBM products, but that plans have not been finalised.

Directories are expected to be a critical element of policy-based networking, the development of which is at the core of Cisco's and other networking vendor' strategies. A policy-based networking system with directory support, such as Cisco's emerging CiscoAssure software, would let administrators easily set up and automate access and security rules and updates for users and groups.

In addition to interoperating with Novell's directory, CiscoAssure is designed to use Microsoft's Active Directory, which is currently under development and will be available with the release of Windows 2000.

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