Novell scores Bay/Nortel for NDS links

Users will soon be able to look to Novell Directory Services (NDS) as the central point for managing user access to all their Bay Networks switches.

In a deal finalised earlier this week, Bay parent company Nortel Networks agreed to license NDS and integrate it into Bay Networks' Optivity Policy Services policy management application suite. This melding of the directory with the physical network layer will give network administrators the ability to allocate network resources based on user identity or other objects defined in NDS and apply them regardless of the user's location or IP address.

Officials from both companies said the NDS/Optivity integration will be delivered sometime in the secondquarter of next year.

This deal is a crucial one for Novell as it scrambles to get every hardware, independent software vendor and service provider partner it can to invest in NDS before Microsoft can get its own Windows 2000-based Active Directory out the door sometime next year. Novell made a similar announcement two weeks ago with Nortel competitor Lucent Technologies.

Novell officials say they are pursuing similar deals with various other hardware vendors, including Cisco and Cabletron. Cisco - which first coined the term Directory Enabled Networks in May 1997 when it announced a partnership with Microsoft to make Active Directory the repository for all information about its products - has publicly stated that it would only offer limited integration with NDS through emerging standards.

"It would be nice to have Cisco on board," says Michael Simpson, Novell director of product marketing. "But even without them, we now have more than 50 per cent of the switch market covered with NDS links," said Michael Simpson, Novell director of product marketing. Downplaying the lack of Cisco support even further, Simpson contends that managing switches via NDS may prove more important that being able to manage Cisco routers in that fashion as many corporate customers are now buying more switches than routers.

Nortel and Novell will also work together to ensure that product offerings are based on emerging standards, such as the Common Information Model and its Directory Enabled Network specifications.

Pricing for Optivity Policy Services has not yet been released.

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