Directories Eyed for ISPs

Sun-Netscape, Nortel, Novell map plans for providersSERVICE PROVIDERS are becoming a target audience for directory services, with the Sun-Netscape Alliance, Nortel Networks, and Novell developing plans to extend network directories to application service providers (ASPs) and ISPs.

Nortel and Sun-Netscape Alliance are creating a directory-enabled Flexible Service Delivery Solution for service providers that will allow communication between applications and networks.

"For a long time, applications have been able to talk to each other, and the network can talk to itself, but now we're going to [allow] applications to talk to the network," said Amy Millard, product marketing manager for directory and security products at Sun-Netscape Alliance. "What we're proposing is that the network software store -- [which is] the user information -- moves into the directory server."

The solution melds Sun-Netscape Alliance's iPlanet product line and Nortel's Preside Policy Services and uses an integration specification to be sent to the Directory Interoperability Forum.

Steve Nicolle, Nortel vice president and general manager of Preside Service Ware solutions, said the specification gives a common user view to applications and networks.

"In a very general sense, it's a proposal for a unified directory schema all around subscriber or user information relating to the different services," Nicolle said.

With networks and applications able to communicate, ASPs could gain more control over and flexibility with service delivery.

"The alignment of applications with optimized networks by using directories and policy servers creates a much richer set of offerings that ASPs can deliver," said Dana Gardner, research director for Internet infrastructure at the Aberdeen Group, in Boston.

Nortel will release a version of Preside Policy Services that is compliant with the integration schema in mid-2000; Sun-Netscape Alliance will offer compliant versions of iPlanet products later this year.

Novell, which will map out its ASP strategy later this year, has acquired JustOn, an ASP that specializes in hosted file management services.

JustOn's ASP expertise will be integrated into Novell Directory Services and caching, messaging, and identity management products from Novell In-the-Net Services.

Sun-Netscape Alliance, in Mountain View, Calif., is at www.iplanet.com. Nortel Networks, in Saint John, New Brunswick, is at www.nortelnetworks.com. Novell Inc., in Provo, Utah, is at www.novell.com.

Sun-Netscape/Nortel directory time line

* Feb. 2000: Both present integration specification to Directory Interoperability Forum.

* Mid-2000: Nortel releases specification-compliant version of Preside Policy Services, Preside 3.0.

* Late 2000: Sun-Netscape releases specification-compliant versions of iPlanet tools.

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