Cisco has dealt a blow to Novell by announcing a licensing agreement with Microsoft which will bring Microsoft's Active Directory to Cisco's hardware family.
The deal threatens Novell's attempt to make its rival NDS (Novell Directory Services) the de facto industry standard for networks. It also strengthens Cisco's growing ties to Microsoft.
Both partners claimed the deal will establish Microsoft's Active Directory as the industry standard, ahead of NDS. "The need for a consistent directory across network infrastructure, clients and servers means the directory service standard has now been set," claimed Jim Allchin, senior vice president of personal and business systems at Microsoft, announcing the deal.
"This is a blow to Novell," stated David Bridger, product manager for the back office systems division at Microsoft UK. "The implications are massive for any business that wants to manage its internal network and do business on the Internet. It's definitely going to help the adoption of the Active Directory in the market."
Under the agreement, Cisco's Internetworking Operating System (IOS) will incorporate Microsoft's directory services, set to be a key component of the company's forthcoming Windows NT Server 5.0 operating system, scheduled for release by the end of the year. Cisco is working hard to make IOS the industry standard operating system for network hardware devices. The company's routers handle an estimated 80% of all Internet traffic.
The companies also announced they are collaborating on developing the Active Directory to provide support for advanced network services such as on-demand bandwidth management.
"Cisco has no chance of success in this area," said Derek Venter, Novell's IntranetWare product manager.
"The company has no experience in directories, and by the time Microsoft's product ships the game will be over anyway. It just shows that our NDS strategy has touched a very deep nerve with Microsoft."
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