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Directory Heavyweights Form New Group

The all-stars of the directory industry have come out in the ninth inning of the meta-directory game. Microsoft has already made its pitch with Windows 2000's Active Directory and has followed up with announcements of integrating features to make AD deployment more appealing. Today the players on the other side of the field have come to the plate with the Directory Interoperability Forum, designed to speed development and deployment of directory-enabled applications running across different computing environments.

The players include IBM Corp., Novell Inc., Oracle Corp., Data Connection Limited (DCL), Lotus Development Corp. and Isocor Ltd. These founding members are joined by heavy-hitting supporters such as Cisco, AT&T and Lucent.

The main tool in the new Forum is the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). The member companies will work closely with other industry teams such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), The Open Group and the Desktop Management Task Force (DMTF) to speed enhancement and adoption of directory standards.

One rift in the industry comes from Microsoft's use of the Active Directory Services Interface (ADSI). While Windows 2000 will support applications and directories that use LDAP, only apps that utilize ADSI will get the full functionality of Windows 2000 directory support, making those tools unavailable to other platforms. The Directory Interoperability Forum is designed to promote directory software that will span a heterogeneous environment.

Members of the Directory Interoperability Forum plan to:

  • Promote open directory standards such as LDAP
  • Collaborate to define, create and implement software development kits that provide consistent behavior across directories that implement open directory standards such as LDAP
  • Collaborate with standards groups such as the IETF and The Open Group to advance and mature the definition of the open directory standards
  • Encourage ISVs to write to open directory standards
  • Write new directory-enabled applications to open directory standards

-- Brian Ploskina

About the Author

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