IBM adds directory services

IBM revamped its network directory and security products at NetWorld+Interop, in Las Vegas, by creating a single suite aimed at helping companies deploy what IBM calls "ebusinesses."

The suite, called IBM SecureWay Software, is primarily a rebranding of its eNetwork Directory and Security, with the inclusion of some new capabilities and the introduction of meta-directory services.

On the directory side, these core products include the SecureWay Directory (formerly the eNetwork Directory) and new meta-directory services.

Customers can now "locate resources through the directory via LDAP [Lightweight Directory Access Protocol], connect resources through networking protocols like TCP/IP, and secure resources through industry security standards like PKI [public key infrastructure]," said Jeff Jaffe, general manager of IBM's SecureWay division, in Somers, New York.

According to one analyst, IBM is still behind the competition in terms of the directory, but the company does have plans for updates that should help it catch up.

The SecureWay Directory "uses DB2 as the data repository, which is good, but is behind other servers in terms of features, which is bad. For example, it only supports LDAP, [Version] 2.0, not [Version] 3.0," said Jamie Lewis, president of the Burton Group.

Meta directories are designed to connect multiple directories and to create a central repository to integrate crucial data -- such as user profiles and access-control policies -- from disparate directories.

IBM has plans to build an meta-directory product that will run on multiple platforms, including Unix, AIX, Linux, and Windows NT, Jaffe said. This product will also be built on DB2 and will support LDAP, Version 3.0.

IBM competitors Novell and Netscape have also articulated meta-directory strategies.

IBM's SecureWay suite also includes IBM FirstSecure products, which feature PKI support, and connectivity software that includes IBM Communications Server, Host On-Demand, Wireless Software, Network Dispatcher, and others.

"IBM is building a larger e-business authentication/authorization story to compete with Netegrity, enCommerce, and others in the [electronic]-commerce market," Lewis said.

In addition, IBM is announcing the SecureWay Specialty for Business Partners, which will help independent software vendors test their products for interoperability with IBM SecureWay technologies.

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