Novell is to lend formal support to a directory standards push led by arch rival Microsoft and Cisco, now that the specifications will be handed to an independent body.
Last November Cisco and Microsoft received backing from 150 vendors - including Hewlett-Packard, Intel and IBM - for their work to establish a standard called Directory Enabled Network (DEN), to allow all network devices to be coordinated using directories.
Although Novell - whose strategy to compete with Microsoft turns on its own directory technology NDS - was one of the original supporters, it was conspicuous by its absence in publicly supporting the initiative.
Novell is currently aggressively fending off competition to NDS from Microsoft?s forthcoming Active Directory. In a further twist, Cisco is integrating its Internetworking Operating System with Active Directory.
Dominic Storey, Novell UK?s director of technologies, said: ?We held back in publicly supporting DEN until we received assurances that the specifications would be managed by a standards body, and not be polarised.?
He said that now the specifications are to be submitted to the Desktop Management Task Force (DMTF) standards body (see Newswire 3 March 1998), ?the chances of vendors hogging them for competitive means is eliminated".
The initiative also set up a Customer Advisory Group to develop the DEN specifications. The group is made up of users including investment company Charles Schwab, oil major Texaco, and the University of Washington.
The standard would enable network devices such as routers to be managed within directories in a uniform way. The profile of an individual user, held in the directory, would be extended to detail not only which printer they could use, but also other network information, such as whether they have access to videoconferencing facilities and when they need extra network bandwidth.
Products adhering to the standard are expected in the first half of next year.
David Jones, marketing director in Cisco?s network and service management business, said: ?DEN from the start has been an open, customer-driven initiative. It was vital to maintain that focus by giving the Customer Advisory Group final say in the specification process.?
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