Compaq Computer yesterday tapped Novell Directory Services (NDS) as its high-end directory server of choice in an alliance between the two companies that also has Novell working to bring its first 64-bit port of NDS to Compaq's Tru64 Unix on AlphaServer platforms.
Compaq said it chose NDS for its present and future NonStop-branded network backbone offerings due to NDS's high scalability and cross-platform attributes. When NDS for Tru64 Unix arrives by June 2000, it will be targeted at the largest telecommunications companies, internet service providers and global enterprises, said officials from the companies.
As part of the deal, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, Compaq will optimise its ProLiant servers for NDS on Novell NetWare, Microsoft NT, and Linux. Furthermore, Compaq's upcoming AXL200 Accelerator PCI card will allow users to enhance the capabilities of NDS-supported security.
Compaq will also support the new Active Directory offering from Microsoft on Compaq's Windows 2000-loaded servers, due in early 2000.
Company officials characterised the two directories as "complementary", with NDS forming a meta-directory function over Active Directory in cross-platform environments.
"We expect that Windows 2000 will be for Windows-centric customers but that NDS will be for cross-platform use," said Mary McDowell, general manager of the industry-standard server division at Compaq, in Houston.
Indeed, in striking a deal with Compaq, Novell has borne fruit from work over many months to increasingly bundle NDS and tighten product alliances with platform and application server makers.
Among those now competing for high-end directory services with Compaq and Novell are Sun with its iPlanet Directory Server (formerly named Netscape Directory Server), and IBM and HP offerings, as well as Microsoft's Windows 2000-based services.
According to Novell and Compaq, users of NDS on ProLiant servers will -- regardless of platform -- obtain a "holistic view of their network assets and users". The directory is also a keen platform for managing and leveraging such burgeoning technologies as Extensible Markup Language (XML), said Chris Stone, senior vice president for strategy and corporate development at Novell, in Provo, Utah.
"We're finding new ways to use our directory, and we're finding a requirement that directories be cross-platform for a secure environment that can scale to a billion objects," Stone said, adding that NDS runs on Windows NT, NetWare, Solaris, OS/390, and Linux, among others.
"By focusing first on directory-enabled management of clients and servers and then on e-business initiatives that extend networks to the internet, Compaq and Novell can leverage their respective product lines and services," said Jamie Lewis, president of The Burton Group consultancy.
"This is a key deliverable for us," said Enrico Pesatori, group general manager for enterprise solutions and services at Compaq. "It's more than high availability, customers can grow at internet speed without breaking their bank or IT department. It's a real step forward to help companies join the internet economy."