Network directories like StreetTalk and Novell's Network Directory Services (NDS) allow systems administrators to define access for files and network resources and keep logs of activities for all users on the network. Right now, there are no directory services for intranets, a lack that complicates the lives of administrators trying to keep track of users and distribute information and software to them over the network. Both Banyan and Novell would like to see their directories adopted as de facto standards for the exploding number of intranets.
To help accomplish that, Coordinate.com and Software.com today announced a multiyear joint development and licensing deal.
Software.com will integrate the StreetTalk directory into its Post.Office and InterMail messaging products and both companies will sell the StreetTalk-enhanced versions of Post Office and InterMail when they ship later this year. Coordinate.com will even bundle the products with its BeyondMail client software as an enterprise email solution for intranets. To cement the deal, Banyan also will make an undisclosed minority investment in closely held Software.com.
Coordinate.com will continue development for StreetTalk and will focus on partnering with other developers for other Intranet services, such as electronic commerce, firewalls, Web servers, and communications, authentication, and access servers.
Despite all the effort, some are skeptical about Banyan's chances to establish StreetTalk as an intranet standard. "To me, the Internet standard is LDAP [Lightweight Directory Access Protocol]," said Craig Burton, principal at industry research firm The Burton Group. "The best directory will be the best implementation that is fastest to market," he added. "StreetTalk has functional benefits over Netscape Communication's directory service, but it's questionable whether it has benefits over NDS."
The combined products will adhere to Internet standards including Post Office Protocol (POP 3) and LDAP.
Banyan has more to worry about than NDS, however. Microsoft is working on its own directory for Windows NT and hired away former Banyan chief Jim Alchin to do it. The Redmond, Washington, giant has also been long rumored to be interested in acquiring Banyan for its directory service.
"That rumor has surfaced repeatedly, and at one time it could have been the smart thing," said Jesse Berst, publisher of the widely read Windows Watcher newsletter. "The weakness of NT is still its directory."