Novell to roll out version 8.0 of directory

Novell is expected to take the wraps off today of Novell Directory Services (NDS), Version 8.0, the much anticipated upgrade to the directory that was formerly codenamed Scalable Directory Services, or SCADS.

The company is expected to outline the enhancements featured in the directory, and will announce that NDS, Version 8.0, has entered beta testing, according to sources. It will be aimed primarily at large enterprises, ISPs, and telecommunications providers.

This latest release is a crucial part of Novell's intention to become synonymous with directories.

"A year from now, Novell wants to be thought of as a directory services company, not a NetWare company," said Rick Villars, director of network software at IDC.

Villars said Novell will always offer NetWare, but will probably separate development of NDS and NetWare.

Novell will use NDS as an advantage over Microsoft, another analyst said.

"Overall, the NDS product family is much more complete," than Microsoft's Active Directory, said Sara Radicati, president and CEO of the Radicati Group.

The announcement will kick start a month of directory announcements by Novell.

NDS, Version 8.0, is expected to be the main focus of BrainShare, Novell's annual conference taking place later this month in Salt Lake City. Novell is also expected to discuss at BrainShare directory-based management products, as well as updates to its existing ManageWise and ZENworks offerings, said sources close to Novell.

AT&T is an early adopter of the directory technology. MCI WorldCom also is seeking a directory partner, but is pursuing Microsoft's Active Directory. This choice is related to MCI WorldCom's large-scale use of Cisco Systems equipment, and its involvement in the Rapid Deployment Program for Windows 5.0.

But MCI WorldCom has not ruled out the use of NDS in addition to Active Directory, and Novell already has an agreement with Lucent Technologies for Lucent to bundle NDS with its Cajun switches. The company is also working with Lucent's development team on a policy-based bandwidth management application, code-named Cajun Rules, that is set for release in the first quarter of the year.

Another key networking partner would be Cisco, although interoperability between NDS and Cisco hardware has already been planned via the Directory Enabled Networks (DEN) initiative. DEN was originally a Microsoft-Cisco project but was passed to the Desktop Management Task Force, and now has a Novell executive, Winston Bumpus, as chairman.

Novell also plans to target the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market by integrating NDS with ERP database and network management products from PeopleSoft, Oracle, and Computer Associates.

Novell is also participating in talks with SAP concerning NDS.

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