The battle to dominate the exploding directory services market has been joined by Oracle, with the launch of Oracle Internet Directory (OID) for its 8i database.
The fast growing sector is already seeing aggressive skirmishes between existing players: Microsoft, Novell and Netscape. Novell is desperate to squash Microsoft's attempt to crack into the market with its forthcoming Active Directory (MAD) - due to ship with Windows 2000.
Novell launched an attack on Microsoft in a head to head debate between the two companies at the Netevents industry conference in Austria last week.
"Active Directory is like putting lipstick on a pig," said Novell director of strategy, Stephen Davies. "We are going to see a big pig with red lipstick on trying to run domains. We can increase the scalability within NT5, but we are going to increase the problems within the domain as well as the interdomain communications."
Microsoft denied it has suffered problems integrating Active Directory with Windows 2000.
"We can't support Windows 2000 without the Active Directory. It encompasses taking in the present domain structure in the hierarchical fashion," said Robin Farmer, Microsoft business manager for alliance partners.
Entering the fray, Oracle has hinted that the directory may be a step towards turning its database into a computing environment to rival Microsoft's Windows NT. The company claimed 8i can act as a Web server, Java application server and file server, but that the addition of a directory server puts it into closer competition with Windows.
Despite the conflict Oracle and Novell stressed co-operation and not competition: "Novell has 45 million NDS seats. Anything that stimulates the directory market is welcome to us," said Therron Powell, Novell's director of advanced engineering.
For more stories see 3 March issue of Network News
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