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Netscape plans Java tools

Netscape announces that new server management technology, code-named Lava, will debut next year as part of its revamped SuiteSpot servers.

Netscape Communications (NSCP) today announced that it is building new Java-based management tools to be included in the next major release of its SuiteSpot servers.

The company said it is building management technology, code-named Lava, to be included in the next SuiteSpot release, code-named Apollo.

The Lava technology combines the LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and a Java-based graphical interface, and extends technology licensed by Netscape from NCWare, a Bellevue, Washington-based developer of directory technology.

The combined technologies are expected to give IS managers a centralized tool to manage dispersed networked servers, and to administer user accounts, resources, and applications, according to Netscape.

Netscape's Lava services add to the plethora of LDAP-compliant directories. NCWare's cofounders, Terence Kwan and Thomas Kwan, along with other NCWare employees, have joined Netscape.

The directory space has heated up recently due to a succession of bundling announcements from Novell, which is continuing its strategy to make its Novell Directory Services technology the de facto standard in the industry.

Last week, Novell announced IBM as yet another convert to NDS. And in May, internetworking giant Cisco Systems and software powerhouse Microsoft announced another eyebrow-raising partnership.

The two companies agreed to jointly develop Active Directory, Microsoft's own directory scheme. That enhancement is expected to ship with Windows NT Server 5.0, due sometime next year. Cisco will port the directory to Unix.

Another major player, Sun Microsystems also will soon announce a new version of its directory technology.

The Lava technology and Apollo servers are expected to debut in the first half of 1998, according to Netscape. No pricing has been announced.

Lava is based on existing NCWare technology called JDAP (Java Directory Access Protocol), which provides Java developers with a low-level API (Application Programming Interface) that allows any Java application they write to access an LDAP directory.

Both Netscape and Microsoft already license JDAP. The technology can be used to access Netscape, Microsoft, Novell, and other directory services.