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The Business Case for Directory-Enabling Your Application with NDS

Articles and Tips: article

01 Aug 1999

Explains how NDS-enabled applications can reduce administrative costs, increase profits and create new business opportunities-for ISVs and their customers. Also spells out the benefits of NDS 8.


At Novell the news is all positive these days. Sales are way up, customers are raving about the company's products, developers are joining Novell's developer relations program (DeveloperNet) in droves, and the press has nothing but good things to say.

It's due to a technology that enterprise customers can look to with supreme confidence. Every end user and administrator who comes in contact with this technology will benefit from reduced complexity even as networks grow larger and range farther afield, and even as the Internet gains universal acceptance and becomes an integral component of information systems and the world economy. As for ISVs, this technology lets them concentrate on the aspects of application development they know best, while adding new levels of functionality, interoperability, manageability and overall intelligence to their products making them far more attractive to a larger audience of customers than ever before.

This Technology is the Directory

Specifically, Novell Directory Services (NDS). Approximately 50 million people are already using it. It's entrenched in more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Big names in telecommunications and information technology are partnering with Novell to NDS-enable their products and services, including AT&T, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Lucent Technologies, PeopleSoft, Oracle, Nortel, Cisco and many others. There are 27,000 resellers who know all about NDS and sell it along with third-party, NDS-enabled products. There are 500,000 people trained and certified to provide administration and support of NDS-enabled networks and products. And that's just the beginning. Analysts expect that in the year 2000, revenue for directory services products will reach $5 billion&five times the amount of directory services revenue for 1998.

Unlike any other directory product, NDS has the stability, flexibility, maturity and intelligence to be the great global directory service of our time right now and for years to come. The latest version, Novell Directory Services version 8, (NDS 8) is many years ahead of the competition in terms of approaching the ideal identity management technology what Novell calls the Full Service Directory. That's the directory service that will one day link virtually all directories together and potentially manage billions of objects people, applications, devices, data files from a single workstation anywhere in the world.

Building the Networked Community

NDS 8 will be instrumental in creating what is some times referred to as a digital persona. That's a fancy term for the unique identity individuals and organizations create for themselves on networks and the Internet. The digital persona is all the personal information that individuals selectively distribute on the wire name, age, title, financial status, address, phone number, social security number, credit card number, education level, marital status, religion, number of children, hobbies, dietary habits, fashion preferences, quirks. This is the information that not only enables business transactions but facilitates business relationships. It is a vital component of efforts by Novell and its strategic partners to build a global networked community .

But this "networked community" can't reach its full potential with enterprise networks and the Internet in their present states of chaos. There has to be a new generation of specialized network applications and tools. And there must be a new enabling technology for these new applications and tools"a powerful directory that can handle the opportunities that enterprise networks and the Internet have in store. This new directory must allow companies to move sales and marketing, customer management, supply-chain management and procurement online.

Efficient and Cost-Effective

Because NDS 8 can handle up to one billion objects, it provides the framework for digital personas and a global Networked Community. In fact, NDS 8 can provide today's digital commercial environment with the stability, scalability, functionality and (most importantly) the security that have been lacking until now. Along with next-generation, directory-enabled applications and tools, NDS 8 can significantly reduce complexity and leverage the potential of the Internet and enterprise networks to automate business processes.

That's the BIG PICTURE the long view. But it isn't so far off. NDS is the enabling technology. In conjunction with LDAP which NDS 8 supports natively and third-party, NDS-enabled products, this global vision can become a reality in a minimal time frame.

What NDS Does for ISVs

By NDS-enabling their products, ISVs position themselves well for the future. They create a lens through which the customer observes their products, viewing them in a whole new way. NDS-enabling provides integration and interoperability not only with the network, intranet or extranet but with the Internet and the world at large. ISV's products are no longer seen as isolated "point solutions"; they are viewed as part of a larger framework that automates the way people and technologies inter-relate on a global scale.

In less lofty terms, NDS-enabled applications can reduce administrative costs, increase profits and create new business opportunities for ISVs and their customers.

Specifically for ISVs, NDS 8 presents the opportunity to leverage a revolutionary technology early, while the going is especially good. By integrating NDS, ISVs can treat their development cycle from an Internet perspective. They can establish their franchise and credibility in the directory space today, and leverage a powerful competitive advantage for all it's worth.

What is a Directory Service?

A directory service is a database that can inventory and control every directory-enabled resource on the network. It helps manage relationships between people and networks, network devices, network applications, and information on the network. Plus, it provides administrators with a single, logical and concise view of all network resources and services.

Directory services offer access through a secure login and organize network resources (users, printers, workgroups, applications, volumes, file servers, database servers, routers, firewalls, objects, etc.) hierarchically in a directory tree. And, of course, they provide security by keeping the criminals and the curious from logging on.

Until recently, the value of directory services was linked almost exclusively to centralized file and print service management or individual applications on a single platform. Now, however, developers and other IT professionals are discovering the power of directory services for user access (single sign-on), system management (single point of administration) and application development. The bottom line is that directory services simplify information technology use, administration and development.

Directory services are also hot technologies right now because location independence is what is defining networking. The line between the Internet, intranets and corporate networks is blurring, as digital information is ubiquitous and end users don't know where it is and don't care as long as they can access it. Like information, people too are mobile like never before. Fewer end users and administrators are tied to single desktops and specific geographical work locations. Workgroups are fluid. And wherever people are, they require access to digital information. True directory services provide secure, location-independent access to the widely dispersed Internet/intranet/network resources today's increasingly mobile end users need.

What's more, NDS, a scalable, replicated directory services, provides "identity management". Because NDS identifies a user by information that is unique tied to that individual rather than a machine or geography, the user can access network resources independent of location. What's more, the user accesses the network with the class of service and a security level that he or she is authorized to retain. So, for example, the CEO will have access to the latest sales figures and bandwidth will be prioritized to make sure he receives those figures before other employees who are doing less-than mission-critical tasks.

NDS: Working Miracles

Novell Directory Services is a product without parallel. It is the cross-platform directory (NetWare, UNIX, Windows NT, and many more) that ISVs can integrate into their products using the familiar developers' tools of their choice. NDS adds multiple levels of functionality. It can automate the process of directory synchronization across multiple platforms and locations.

It lets network administrators automatically reuse information instead of re-keying it. And, for users, it can provide a single log-in to every platform and application on the network. The result? Every human and material resource (network applications, devices, objects, addresses, policies, and more) can be organized, secured and made readily accessible within a single, highly intelligent system.

Directory-Related Efforts are Coalescing Around NDS

Together with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), a standard protocol that enables directories to interact with one another and exchange data, NDS provides the means by which the IT industry delivers on the promise of one contiguous, seamless infrastructure inside and outside the organization. NDS 8 natively supports LDAP, allowing interoperability with other LDAP-compliant directories, operating systems and applications.

So now there is no need for the end user to have two or three desktop machines or emulators or a confusing array of passwords and access codes and arcane remote access technologies. One directory service NDS conveys simplicity and intelligence to applications, operating systems and overall infrastructure.

The Benefits of NDS 8 Spelled Out

The scalable performance and proven replication capabilities of NDS 8 make it the only appropriate directory service for centralized, Internet and highly distributed enterprise applications. With the ability to support millions of network objects on one server, NDS 8 links multiple platforms, applications and devices without disruption, allowing organizations to benefit from their existing software investments. The standards-based infrastructure of NDS 8 gives administrators simplified, flexible control over an organization's security policies. Providing the best choice for evolving and varied security needs, NDS 8 offers flexible user authentication support with encrypted passwords and smart cards.

NDS 8 will enable organizations to build a directory infrastructure to pursue electronic commerce without the issues of scalable performance presented by other directories on the market. It is also attracting Internet Service Providers (ISPs) looking to manage customers' Internet access and billing through a single directory.

For developers, NDS 8 is the directory standard that can allow seamless interaction between applications and supported platforms anywhere in the world. But perhaps the greatest value NDS provides for organizations, developers and service providers alike is in extending its underlying database structure, or schema, to contain nearly any amount of valuable organization-specific information.

Intelligence, Integration, Integrity

They are all integral parts of the NDS-enabling process. If you're considering directory-enabling technology, please read on. You'll discover strategic Novell partners who have assessed NDS and seen the future. And, with any luck, their stories will give you insights that will make your decision to NDS-enable your products an easy one.

An Installed Base That's Bigger than Most Countries

Bigger than a lot of countries' populations, that is. Nearly 50 million people use NDS every day, and that number is rising like a rocket. That's because NDS is a cross-platform directory service. It not only runs on NetWare, it also spans UNIX (Sun Solaris), IBM S/390, HP-UX, Windows NT Server, Linux and others. It's LDAP-compatible, too. In fact, NDS V8 features a native LDAP implementation, so the installed base of more than 40 million NDS users has the potential to rise into the hundreds of millions in the very near future.

Global Reseller and Support Channels That Speak Fluent Directory Services

Part of the reason that you'd want to directory-enable your applications with somebody else's directory (i.e., Novell's) is because NDS is a sophisticated product developed by directory services specialists. Besides, you don't want to delay your product introduction by writing the code yourself. And once you do choose a directory and incorporate it into your product or service, you certainly don't want to deal with directory-related technical support issues. So, it makes sense to go with NDS, a directory service that is backed by knowledgeable people the world over.

Because NDS is the cross-platform directory service for NetWare, Novell's flagship product, it is sold and supported by a global army of 27,000 resellers. What's more, there are nearly 500,000 Certified Novell Engineers (CNEs), Certified Novell Administrators (CNAs), and Certified Novell Instructors (CNIs). They populate education centers, resellers and help desks globally. Clearly, the world is full of NDS-savvy people who can help you sell and support your NDS-enabled products.

Entry Into Accounts That Previously Wouldn't Give You the Time of Day

Let's say, for the sake of example, that you're an ISV, IHV or an ISP with products that aren't exactly household names. That's a big impediment to gaining entry into new accounts. If, however, your product or service leverages the same management infrastructure and same directory as your larger competitors' products and it outperforms them there's a much better chance your sales pitch will be effective. You know the old saying, you can't get fired for buying IBM. Well, if your application leverages the directory that is already deployed in major accounts everywhere, it's easy for people in those organizations to requisition your product without getting pink-slipped. With NDS, your product has a major feature that either brings it up to speed with your competition or gives you a powerful edge. It levels the playing field like nothing else can.

A Multitude of Developer Tools at Your Command

What kind of tools do you use to build your products? C/C++? Java? ActiveX? Scripting? Database? With NDS, you can take your pick. Through the Novell Developer Kit, NDS supports more developer tools than all other directory services combined. Working with Novell, you can use familiar tools, open interfaces and your favorite compiler to build your product with the greatest efficiency and speed.

A Wide-open Market for Your Products

There are less than 500 applications that have been written to take advantage of NDS thus far. And, since it is fast becoming the directory services standard, that means there is an infinite number yet to be written. But it certainly makes sense to get in the game early. Like right now.

DeveloperNet: Where NDS-enabling Tools and Support are Readily Available

Novell has a premier program called DeveloperNet that provides the standards-based resources and support to develop, test and debug your network and Internet applications with the latest Novell libraries, multivendor tools, interfaces and documentation.

DeveloperNet is the network industry's premier program for more than 50,000 corporate and IHV/ISV developers, system administrators, engineers and others. A DeveloperNet subscription provides easy access to all of Novell's major products, open APIs, education, training, and co-marketing opportunities, as well as live support and free Web forums focused on NDS, Java, ActiveX/COM, scripting and others. Developers can create next-generation, directory-based solutions using open interfaces and a wide range of languages (Java, ActiveX, C/C++, scripting, and others).

Of course, you can develop to the NetWare platform as well as GroupWise, ManageWise, ConsoleOne, Novell BorderManager and other Novell products. But because of the global directory functionality offered by NDS, DeveloperNet can also help you directory-enable your product for Windows NT Server, UNIX and other environments. From the latest developer tools, to worldwide training options, to great co-marketing opportunities, DeveloperNet offers everything it takes to be successful in today's distributed, heterogeneous network environments.

Here are just some of the valuable tools and benefits DeveloperNet provides:

Novell Developer Kit

The single source for accessing Novell's open APIs, the Novell Developer Kit offers a universal interface to the resources you need to engage Novell's directory, security, and management services. You'll find a rich, growing complement of the latest Java class libraries, tools, Novell JavaBeans, ActiveX controls, C/C++ tools, script interfaces for NetBasic, JavaScript, Perl, LAN/WAN drivers, compatibility kits, and much more. Available on the Web and in CD format, the Novell Developer Kit brings Novell's resources and open developer strategy into sharp technical focus, providing an integrated repository of the tools, libraries, test kits and third-party resources needed to build Novell-compatible system, business and shrink-wrapped solutions.

Novell Software Evaluation Library (NSEL)

Providing all of Novell's major software on a single, easy-to-use set of CDs; NSEL includes over 85 shipping products, including NetWare 5, NDS for NT, Novell BorderManager, ConsoleOne, ZENworks, GroupWise, and ManageWise, plus Early Access Release and beta products.

Novell Support Connection

Providing comprehensive technical support services to all DeveloperNet subscribers online or via CD; developers can view Novell's product documentation and online manuals with full text-search capabilities as well as links to specific technical documents and other relevant information.

Current Information

A DeveloperNet subscription includes DeveloperNet Connections, the online newsletter for late-breaking information about Novell's products, programs, strategic direction and initiatives. In addition, Novell Developer Notes, Novell's monthly software development journal, is available online or by CD. Novell AppNotes, the monthly technical journal for network design, implementation, administration and integration, addresses different aspects of working with Novell networking products, including configuration guidelines, optimization techniques and troubleshooting tips.

Technical Support

Choose your level of support. DeveloperNet's five subscription levels let you tailor the need for access to tools and live technical assistance in a way that's right for your business. And free Web-based developer forums provide up-to-the-minute insights and information.

Technical Training

Whether you're new to NDS-enabled development or not, the DeveloperNet University site is organized like a university's curriculum, making it easy to find useful examples developed to your language, platform, and skill level.

Co-marketing Opportunities

DeveloperNet offers broad market exposure for shipping solutions through opportunities such as Yes, Tested and Approved compatibility testing and trademark use, Novell Partner Pavilion participation, the Novell Partner Products and Services Search, the Novell Developers' Contest, the Novell Internet Equity Fund and others. For example, through the Novell Internet Equity Fund and the Novell Developers' Contest, Novell is investing millions in new network technologies developed by companies in their first or second rounds of financing.

To learn more about Novell's developer program, tour the DeveloperNet Web site at

Market Your Products With the Best of Them

DeveloperNet provides co-marketing opportunities that extend your reach and greatly improve your prospects for success. As a DeveloperNet member, you are eligible to participate in a broad scope of global marketing and demand-creation activities with Novell. The Novell Partner Opportunity Planner details these opportunities of all kinds-in advertising, direct marketing, Internet and electronic marketing, key industry and Novell events, industry press activities, and more. You can find the planner on the Novell Partner Passport site at

Some Co-Marketing Highlights

The Novell Developers' Contest, sponsored by Novell's DeveloperNet program, offers your company a tremendous opportunity for potential capital funding, cash awards, vacations, prizes, and huge co-marketing opportunities. To participate, you simply have to develop an NDS-enabled NetWare, GroupWise, ManageWise, Windows NT/2000, or UNIX application leveraging Java, C, or any scripting language. If your application is selected as a winner, you will receive a complete co-marketing package including access to the powerful Novell channel, press activities, event participation, and joint advertising, not to mention prizes.

Novell Partner Pavilion is where you can join Novell and its leading partners in the ultimate display of software applications and services. The pavilion features independent software and hardware vendors, original equipment manufacturers, enterprise consulting partners, education, channel, and more. It is consistently one of the most popular sites at the top IT events such as NetWorld+Interop, Comdex, and PC Expo. Participating partners have access to the leads generated from the Novell Partner Pavilions at the events to maximize their marketing efforts to this audience.

Novell Partner Products and Services Search lets you present information about your directory-enabled product or technical service offering directly to millions of potential customers.

Novell is the Company Everyone is Watching

"Novell Is Back." "Novell sees earnings, revenues grow." "NetWare 5.0 features have users gushing." These are just a few of the headlines in the trade publications these days concerning Novell"its products and its powerful turnaround. There's no doubt about it, Novell has made a remarkable comeback. According to market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC), the company shipped more than one million new servers in 1998, up from 927,000 in 1997.

According to Michael Simpson, Novell's director of strategic marketing, Novell's own NDS-enabled applications ZENworks, BorderManager, ManageWise and GroupWise now account for 28 percent of Novell's product revenue. Things are definitely on the upswing at Novell, and more and more developers know it. Their numbers in Novell's Developer Relations Program, DeveloperNet, have climbed from 10,000 in 1996 to more than 50,000 today.

Novell is creating the awareness, the demand, and the distribution model to facilitate rapid growth and increased revenue opportunities for the directory and directory-enabled solutions. And NDS is clearly an unstoppable force. Shouldn't you take advantage of its power?

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* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


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