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Microsoft puts directories in sync

Microsoft publishes a specification for providing synchronization of heterogeneous data.

Microsoft today said it has published a specification for providing synchronization of heterogeneous data.

DirSync is an Internet draft submission to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Microsoft is making the specification freely available without license. The specification is a LDAP-based control that provides synchronization of information between mixed directories. A directory is a listing of the files and description of the various characteristics of a file, such as the layout of the fields in it.

Companies currently use a combination of manual processes, scripting, and metadirectory products to manage their directory landscape, which tends to include multiple network operating system directories, email address books, and application-specific directory services, the company said.

Microsoft designed the DirSync enable developers to build synchronization products that ease the complexity of multidirectory administration by capturing changes occurring within one directory service and propagating them to other directories automatically, the company said.

For example, the synchronization services that Microsoft will provide between the Microsoft Active Directory directory service of the Windows 2000 operating system and Novell NDS are based on the Active Directory implementation of the DirSync control.

"Today, many directory services don't make it easy to synchronize with other directory services, and this has hindered progress on broad directory interoperability," said Mike Nash, director of marketing for Windows NT Server and infrastructure products at Microsoft, in a statement.

"Recognizing that customers want to greatly simplify directory management, Microsoft designed synchronization support into Active Directory from the beginning and is enabling directory vendors to freely use the DirSync control specification to enhance their products in a similar way," Nash said.