Novell's full-serve strategy

Novell will make several announcements this week in an effort to move beyond the network directory arena and position itself to manage everything on the enterprise from users to applications to personal IDs, Computerworld has learned.

"In 1999, having a central directory is growing in importance. In 2002 or 2003, if you don't have a good enterprise directory in place, you're going to have lots of troubles. You just won't be able to manage all that," said Bob Sakakeeny, an analyst at Aberdeen Group.

The announcements fit snugly into Novell's shift in emphasis to the directory market. That approach has propelled the company from financial and market turbulence only a few years ago back to the top of its game, industry watchers said.

The plan is to build a full-service directory - something analysts and users said large companies won't be able to do without in three to four years.

Novell will announce Version 8.0 of its popular Network Directory Services, expected to ship in 12 to 18 months. The upgraded NDS is being designed to do the following:

-- Manage a half-billion objects, compared with the slightly more than 1 million in the current version, according to analysts who were briefed by Novell.

-- Provide a meta directory to synchronize application directories like those for Microsoft's Exchange and IBM's Lotus Notes, so they all can be administered through a single point: NDS.

-- Provide user-identity management. That will give each user a unique code, enabling single sign-on, access control and a virtual ID for more secure electronic commerce.

Novell already has a healthy head start on Active Directory, Microsoft's first foray into the directory market. Active Directory, which is slated to ship with the Windows 2000 operating system late this year or in 2000, is several years behind NDS. When it comes out, it will offer only a Version 1.0 release with expected immaturities and bugs.

Other upcoming Novell news includes the following:

-- NDS for Linux, which means the company's directory now will run on NetWare, Windows NT and several variants of Unix, including Linux.

-- At its BrainShare '99 user conference in Salt Lake City later this month, Novell will provide a public demonstration of its 64-bit server operating system, code-named Modesto, running an application on Intel's forthcoming 64-bit chip, the IA-64 processor code-named Merced.

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