Oracle and Novell Launch Directory Offensive

The line in the directory services sand was drawn today when Oracle Corp. announced its new beach partner, Novell Inc. The companies agreed to integrate their enterprise directories in a sure move to go two heads against one with Microsoft Corp. when it releases Windows 2000 later this year, which will include Microsoft's Active Directory Services.

The announcement came seconds after Oracle announced its new Oracle Internet Directory (OID) built for 8i that the company says will cover two main areas in directory services. First is what they call the "hosting directory market" which covers ISPs, telcos and directories related to the outside of the firewall, to provide more protection for Internet related services.

Jeremy Burton, Oracle vice president of server marketing, says the Internet not only changes everything, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's latest catch phrase, but also makes maintaining directory services a lot worse because data is much more accessible.

The second piece of the Oracle puzzle is called the "enterprise directory market" comprised of corporations that use directories to cover everything inside the firewall.

With the recent agreement, Burton says administrators will only need a single logon to access both OID and Novell Directory Services (NDS). He also says both services comply with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and other standards.

Although NDS is the most widely used directory service, it has been criticized for not reaching enough platforms. Currently it's compatible with Windows NT, NetWare, Solaris and System 390. Now NDS will reach everywhere OID does as well.

That still doesn't answer why Novell and Oracle would need to team their services together. The announcement actually received negative commentary because it makes the products look incomplete if they're not joined. Adrian Viego, general manger of strategic relations for Novell, says there are more announcements to come relating to the agreement that he could not go into at the moment.

To the same statement, Oracle's Burton simply avers, "The thing we know best in the enterprise is Oracle, and someone who can improve that is Novell." He says that by teaming together and adhering to industry standards, the companies can provide best of breed tools. He also comments that this was not done to compete with Active Directory. 'There's some wood behind this arrow," Burton says about today's announcement. -- Brian Ploskina, Assistant Editor

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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