PC Week has learned that Cisco Networking Services for Active Directory (CNS/AD) will not be fully secure until Windows 2000 (formerly Windows NT 5) appears because Microsoft has not given Cisco the necessary security code.
Despite recent speculation, CNS/AD will be ready well before Windows 2000 because of Cisco's knowledge of the inner workings of Active Directory.
However, CNS/AD will not become fully functional until the release of Windows 2000, a Cisco spokesman told PC Week.
"We only have access to certain components of Active Directory," he said.
"Without the security piece in Windows 2000, which is an implementation of the Kerberos security specification, CNS/AD will not be able to implement policy-based network management."
Kerberos is designed to enable two parties to exchange private information safely across an otherwise open network. It works by assigning a unique key, called a ticket, to each user that logs on to the network. The ticket is then embedded in messages to identify the sender.
"We want to enhance our policy networking service, Cisco Assure," said the spokesman. "Security is a crucial point to policy-based networking."
Clive Longbottom, strategy analyst at CSL Consultancy, was not surprised by events. "Those who have nailed their flag to the Microsoft mast have had their fingers burned," he said. "Active Directory was meant to arrive with NT 4 but we know that the full version will not be available until Windows 2000, Service Pack 1 or, possibly, 2. At least Novell's NDS is available now, which is useful."
- More network news, page 24.
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