In an emerging battle to integrate information about a slew of
network-attached devices into a central administrative software package, Novell
may have scored a victory over Microsoft
today with news of a
directory services partnership with equipment giant Lucent Technologies
Though Novell has made it clear it does not plan
to directly compete against the Redmond, Washington-based software firm in
the server-based operating system market, the company has stressed its
technological lead in providing a key component of that software--directory
Novell is making a large bet that
its directory services software, called NDS, can be a way for third-party
companies and developers to tie into a host of information about
network-based resources. Directories serve as "white pages" for a wide
variety of information about users and computer systems.
"This is pretty significant for us and for directories as whole," according
to Chris Stone, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development
Lucent Technologies today announced that it has agreed to use Novell's
directory software as a way to roll out policy management tools that
address voice and data traffic in corporate networks, a Lucent spokesman
Microsoft is pushing its own directory services software, Active
Directory, expected to be part of the forthcoming Windows NT 5.0, due
sometime next year. The company has also embarked on ambitious plans with
data networking kingpin Cisco Systems
to integrate its Active Directory into Cisco's equipment and management tools.
Lucent said it plans to integrate Novell's directory services (NDS)
into its corporate networking switch Cajun P550 by the first half of next
year, essentially serving as a network "policy manager."
Lucent and Novell also agreed to collaborate in seeking
industry-wide technical standards for building networks using products
from different companies, a Lucent spokesman said.
Integrating NDS into the Cajun P550 switch is just the first step in
implementing the Novell technology throughout the Lucent portfolio, the
Use of NDS feeds into a variety of recent competitive positioning between
Cisco and Lucent as both firms eye each other's markets for growth. Novell
said it has had discussions with Cisco to use NDS as well to no avail.
"We're pretty wide open to making that happen. It's pretty much up to
Cisco," Stone said. "At this point, little progress has been made."
Cisco excutives could not immediately be reached for comment.