Microsoft has acquired independent meta directory supplier Zoomit to quell fears that the software giant's forthcoming Active Directory will only support services from its Windows NT operating system (OS).
Meta directories are used to link heterogeneous directories together and the Zoomit product will enable Active Directory users to manage data, passwords and configurations across multiple servers. Zoomit will not be integrated into the forthcoming release of Windows 2000, however, for fear of delaying it further, but it will appear in subsequent versions of the OS.
Microsoft said it would also enhance Active Directory to support identity information from applications and network services other than directories.
Jim Allchin, senior vice president of Microsoft's personal and business systems group, said: "While directory services are the ideal long term repository for identity management, customers are telling us that their identity data currently is fragmented throughout the enterprise. By integrating and extending Zoomit's technologies with Active Directory, we will simplify enterprise identity management in a way that blends well with existing business processes."
And analysts applauded the acquisition as a signal of Microsoft's willingness to enable customers to integrate their existing non Microsoft directories with Windows 2000.
Todd Chipman, an analyst at Giga Information Group, said: "It's a grand slam move by Microsoft to support different heterogeneous environments and legitimises Microsoft in directories. Zoomit and Isocor [another independent meta directory supplier] pioneered the technology, so I would not be surprised if Isocor is acquired - maybe by the Sun/Netscape alliance."
He believes that Zoomit products will appear in versions of Active Directory that are expected in the second half of next year.
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