Novell has disclosed tentative details of its next generation directory services, putting it even further ahead of Microsoft in one of the most important technological areas.
NDS (Novell Directory Services), the company's flagship product, is to be upgraded to fulfil Novell's vision of a network directory spanning everything from individuals to global telecoms carriers.
"The directory has to be redone to fulfil our new mapfinding vision," Glenn Ricart, Novell's chief technology officer, told PC Week at its Brainshare conference in Nice last week. Ricart refused to disclose the codename of the project, but did reveal key details of the development timetable for the new directory.
Although the project is mainly in the evangelical stage now, Ricart said he is working on the "guts" of an engine to present to developers, with several prototype components already in existence. He expects to have a software development kit ready in July 1998, with early applications following months after. By the year 2000, he hopes, major applications will be available, and the directory will become "ubiquitous". "That will be a nice millennium gift for developers," he joked.
"I don't know if we'll call it NDS or not," Ricart continued. "It is a directory, but not like the current NDS. It will be along the same lineage as NDS but (the new version) will be a more flexible and inherently distributed directory."
Setting out his view of the "new paradigm", Ricart explained: "All directories will become part of one larger mosaic."
"Think of this as the Borg (the cyber creatures in Star Trek who have a hive mentality)," he said. "The directory gains knowledge as each new piece is added, and every piece works together in a collective fashion."
Although the new directory will conform to industry standards, Ricart could not say what they will be because "those standards don't exist today".
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