Hoping to kick-start adoption of the emerging UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration) Web services specification, Novell Inc. on Wednesday introduced a UDDI server based on its eDirectory software. The offering is designed to add security and identity management capabilities to UDDI.
The UDDI specification aims to provide a registry of available Web services and address issues such as how to manage identity for Web services applications.
The Novell Nsure UDDI Server taps capabilities of the company's eDirectory technology to add directory-based features such as access control and secure identity management to UDDI services, according to Justin Taylor, chief strategist for directory services at Novell, based in Provo, Utah.
"Instead of just simply storing things in a database, which is where the traditional UDDI deployments are today, adding UDDI support to our directory service [contributes] access control and identity management they need to manage these applications," Taylor said.
In addition, the UDDI server attempts to resolve some elements not addressed in the UDDI specification, including how to secure data in the UDDI server, how to securely handle identity information, and how to add fault tolerance and back-up capabilities, according to Taylor.
"Now they'll have one place to go not only for user-based identity information and application identity information, but they will be able to put their Web service application information in the directory service and have a true repository that holds all identity information, whether it is for Web services or for the traditional enterprise," he said.
Early on UDDI was considered a key element of Web services architectures currently under development, but adoption of UDDI has been slow due primarily to the lack of need for large-scale registry services, according to Earl Perkins, analyst at Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn.
"UDDI hasn't really caught on as one of the relevant elements of Web services yet," he said.
Currently, Perkins continued, other means such as LDAP directories or relational databases are typically used to deliver the registry-style services for Web services when needed.
Moreover, the need for UDDI has not caught fire because most Web services deployments to date have been within the protective network boundaries of enterprises, not across different enterprises, Perkins said.
"The usual security concerns you have with exposing a registry to the outside world is not taking place yet," he said. "Will there be a need ultimately? Yes, eventually there will be UDDI registries that will be substantial."
Despite slack demand, Novell's move to get out ahead of the game by leveraging its eDirectory technology to address the UDDI construct and ongoing security issues will be good news for early adopters of Web services, according to Perkins.
The Novell Nsure UDDI Server will be available Dec. 17 as a free download.