IBM rolls out speedier Linux Directory

IBM on Friday shipped an updated version of its Linux-compatible Directory Server running for its eServer i- and p-Series systems that contains improved security, advanced replication features, and Web services support.

IBM is positioning Version 5.1, which contains the company's DB2 Universal Database engine and adheres to the industry's LDAP standard, to compete with products that are based on proprietary technologies such as Unix and Windows.

"Most of our corporate customers have heterogeneous IT environments, many of which are customized for their specific needs. But unfortunately, we believe many proprietary directory offerings out there are limited in their ability to support these environments," said Eric McNeil, product manager for IBM's Tivoli Software group in Austin, Texas.

McNeil says the new release is an important step forward given its improved speed and scalability, factors he thinks have so far been key in putting off widespread adoption of Linux-based server applications.

"The problem with Linux-based applications like this has been their scalability and reliability with products like this," McNeil said. "But we think we have made some significant advances there that should satisfy most companies' requirements."

IBM had planned to ship the product in October, but has pushed its availability up four months because of increased demand among corporate users, McNeil said.

Version 5.1 has enhanced password management capabilities that limit access to control list values within the directory, thereby preventing unauthorized users from seeing the security assigned to objects within the directory structure.

The product's new cascading replication allows other Directory Servers to act as a hub so they can send replication data to other servers. It supports dozens of master copies of the directory and creates highly-available directory configurations that can support mission-critical applications, company officials said.

The product includes the capability to replicate the partial directory tree, a feature best suited for companies with remote locations that have little need for the entire Directory Structure.

IBM has added features that make it easier to administer the directory and its contents. The product has a rewritten Directory Web Administration Tool that works with multiple platforms. This includes the ability to administrate the user entries, the Directory Server processes and the Directory tree all from a single Web-based interface.

Trying to better extend the reach of the product, IBM has beefed up the new version's Web services capabilities by adding DSML (Directory Server Markup Language) features, which means that the Directory can be exposed to a variety of Web services through XML-based programming.

Available immediately, users can go to www-3.ibm.com/software/network/directory/server/v5.html and download the product free of charge.

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