Novell has replaced an important integration tool in a forthcoming version of Novell Directory Services (NDS) for NT, which could force companies with mixed environments to choose between Netware and Microsoft Windows 2000.
The networking giant has taken out the redirect capability of NDS for NT that allows users to reroute authentication and access control calls made to NT 4.0 domains into NDS, which almost eliminates user management on NT servers.
In the next version, NDS 8 for NT, redirect will be replaced by a bidirectional synchronisation tool called DirXML and administrators will have to manage both network operating system directory services.
"The redirect capability is also considered a migration tool and because of that there would be a certain amount of pressure to hold that tool back," said Rob Enderle, an analyst at Giga Information Group.
And Daniel Blum, an analyst with The Burton Group, pointed out that the "lack of redirect puts pressure on NDS customers to choose between Novell and Microsoft." He said customers cannot continue to run both directories in parallel quite as easily as they once could. "The value proposition of NDS is reduced," he said.
But according to Novell's director of NDS product marketing, Sam DiStasio, the business issue is controlling the management costs of deploying NT. "We at Novell offer a slew of technologies, including redirection, Zenworks and Direct XML, to better manage a somewhat unmanageable platform."
"There are multiple ways to skin the cat if you will," he said. He added that it should be well known that Microsoft is not interested in integration, prefering to break other people's solution. "This is standard stuff, and I'm surprised people still fall for the same tactics which are so old," he said.
Novell has said it will recreate the synchronisation feature of keeping passwords in NDS for NT. According to DiStasio: "The push is to manage user objects from both directories as one object." He said NDS was cross platform and would cater to Linux, Solaris, Windows NT, Macintosh and OS2. He added that most companies had mixed environments and that Novell is expected to release migration and upgrade tools for DirXML, a set of directory connectors.
"DirXML middleware will integrate directories including Active Directories," DiStasio said. "It's bidirectional and you can make changes in Active Directory or NDS and changes will flow between the two."
According to analysts, while synchronization is not a bad alternative to redirect, it can mean as much as a 60 per cent increase in administration for Netware shops running NDS for NT.
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