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Overview of NDS eDirectory

Articles and Tips: article

01 Mar 2000

NDS eDirectory, the world's leading directory service, powers your e-business by helping you build secure, customized, and responsive relationships with Internet partners, suppliers, customers, and employees. NDS eDirectory runs on NetWare, Solaris, and NT (Linux and True64 Unix are planned for 2000).

NDS eDirectory is the only standalone, cross-platform directory service that provides a foundation for that growth by letting you easily build and securely maintain highly customized e-business relationships and quickly deploy leading edge e-business services--all while leveraging your existing technology investments.

NDS eDirectory eliminates the gap between enterprise and Internet relationships by integrating your enterprise infrastructure and your e-business systems.

NDS eDirectory helps you:

  • Build and manage secure and customized relationships with customers and partners who want to use the Web as a primary channel for conducting business

  • Create customer loyalty by offering new applications and services based on highly personalized user profiles, personalities, and behavior

  • Extend the reach of your existing infrastructure to your partners, suppliers, customers, and employees so you can gain control of critical e-business processes

As e-businesses compete for customers on Internet time, it is becoming increasingly more important that you know who your customers are and deliver customized services to them. eDirectory uses highly personalized profiles to store business data that can be leveraged to offer customized services and Web experiences to individuals and business partners. By offering new applications and services that are tailored to your customers and partners, you can build loyalty to your business--loyalty that results in improvements to the bottom line and gives you a targeted audience as you expand your offerings. As you coordinate your customer interactions across departments, eDirectory extends the reach of your existing infrastructure to your employees, customers, and supply-chain partners, giving you control of critical e-business processes.

NDS eDirectory Accelerates e-business Deployment

Many of today's e-business applications, such as supply-chain management, customer relationship management, and e-commerce applications, are written to take advantage of open Internet standards, such LDAP, XML, PKI, SSL, and others. These standards allow for standard access, schema, format, transmission, and protection of information that is written to and read from directory services. The result is that companies that rely on eDirectory benefit from simple integration with existing applications and a friendly development environment, resulting in rapid deployment of e-business solutions. LDAP has become one of the most important directory access protocols because of ease of development and cross platform nature. NDS eDirectory natively implements LDAP v3, enabling your favorite e-commerce applications to run flawlessly in an eDirectory environment. Additionally, you can leverage the inherent scalability, manageability, and security of eDirectory to get the most out of all of your e-commerce applications.

However, to truly take advantage of the dramatic shift toward an Internet driven economy you need to move beyond basic e-commerce toward e-business. True e-business means integrating the information flow between your internal enterprise processes and your Web activities. Your initial steps toward e-business could simply be tying your online storefront directly into your internal order processing and accounting systems or linking your Web page's feedback section with your customer service database. Whatever the case, NDS eDirectory lets you easily bridge the gap between your enterprise, e-commerce, and extranet directories.

NDS eDirectory enables you to extend your information infrastructure so it can be leveraged by e-commerce and Internet based business-to-business operations. It acts as an integration platform, allowing all components of your e-business network to share intelligence, data, and relationships. By cohesively bringing your critical information and trusted relationships under a single management umbrella, NDS eDirectory greatly facilitates the deployment of e-business applications that can leverage your information and build your e-relationships. NDS eDirectory is the information integration point for all your internal enterprise services as well as all of your Internet related services facilitating the deployment of your e-business.

NDS eDirectory provides the best platform for developing secure and custom e-relationships. Often we only think in terms of relationships as being between people. To have a successful e-business you have to think in the broader context of e-relationships. Not only do e-relationships include the trusted relationships between your people, computer systems, and network services, but they also encompass the online associations of your customers and partners with your e-business content and services. With the help of NDS eDirectory your company's Web site can become more than just an online storefront for e-commerce. It can become a conduit for creating e-relationships that foster new e-business opportunities. NDS eDirectory allows you to capture identity information on your customers, suppliers, and business partners. This identity information lets you create highly personalized profiles on everyone that interacts with your e-business. As a result, NDS eDirectory lets you tailor your services and applications according to the individual needs and desires of your customers and supply-chain partners. These custom offerings and services will enable you to build loyalties to your business that will contribute to your bottom line and provide you a targeted audience as you expand your business offerings.

For example, as customers browse your company's Web site priceless marketing data can be gathered in the form of identity information; including customer demographics, buying patterns, customer transactions, product interest, satisfaction levels, product feedback, and so on. NDS eDirectory lets you leverage and maintain this information in a way that lets you get the most out of your e-relationships. Additionally, as you coordinate your customer interactions, NDS eDirectory extends the reach of your existing infrastructure to your employees, customers, and supply-chain partners, giving you control of critical e-business processes. It opens the door for secure extranets, allowing you to expose needed portions of your network resources over the Internet to specific business partners in order to facilitate collaboration and increased productivity. NDS eDirectory lets you more effectively tap into the Internet's information economy while enabling you to easily and securely manage the "e-relationships" that you have with all your customers, vendors, suppliers, and partners. NDS eDirectory provides a foundation for building secure and custom e-relationships, enabling you to continuously improve all aspects of your e-business. It is the only e-directory that enables your customers to securely populate customer-accessible directories. It also provides a secure and controlled information infrastructure that lets you and your e-business partners' directories directly communicate and update each other. The enabling of such online collaboration into your business transactions lets your e-business dynamically respond to customer and partner demands at true Internet speeds.

NDS eDirectory Secures Your e-business

NDS eDirectory integrates all aspects of your information infrastructure including the security services required by your e-commerce applications and the information vital to your e-business. NDS eDirectory lets you protect your investments and secure your relationships with your e-business customers and partners. NDS eDirectory employs a standards-based security infrastructure that provides administrators with easy, flexible control over your network's security policies. PKI, cryptography, and authentication services are tightly integrated with the directory, allowing administrators to centrally manage policies and control access across the entire network. Modular authentication services enable non-NetWare clients to authenticate to NDS via LDAP3. NDS eDirectory also provides flexible user authentication support ranging from passwords encrypted over Secure Socket Layers to X.509v3 certificates and smart cards. Novell's Single Sign-on service enables e-business applications to leverage the NDS user authentication scheme so users only have to log in once, but in a secure and trusted manner.

By taking advantage of NDS eDirectory's security infrastructure you receive the benefits of unified administration and lower cost of ownership. By integrating state-of-the-art Internet security technology, NDS eDirectory provides your e-business' services and applications a common framework for network security. Additionally, its flexible access control provides you granular control over all your e-business' security concerns. As the industry's best information integration platform, NDS eDirectory enables you to securely and cost effectively manage and leverage your e-business' critical assets.

NDS eDirectory Facilitates Quality of Service

NDS eDirectory is the only e-directory that enables quality of service based on user identity. Identity is key to creating e-relationships that will drive your e-business' success. Your customers, partners, and internal users interact with your e-business network based on their individual identity. NDS eDirectory allows you to capture this identity information and cater to individuals and business entities based on highly personalized profiles. With these personalized profiles you can offer services that are tailored to meet your customers and partners' needs in a way that will build loyalty to your business and product offerings.

NDS eDirectory also enables you to empower your e-business participants to play an active role in defining their own identity. As a result, your customers and partners receive satisfaction from the feeling that they have established a more personal relationship with your e-business.

NDS eDirectory gives you the ability to easily manage these identities and e-relationships, in addition to allowing you to leverage the information associated with each identity in furthering your business. Whether its responding to specific buying patterns, product demands, business requirements, or customer service concerns, NDS eDirectory helps you better understand your customers and business partners, enabling you to successfully cater to their individual needs.

NDS eDirectory also facilitates the employment of policy-based management within your organization. Policy-based management enables your network managers to institute different levels of accessibility for anyone who needs to connect to your e-business network's applications, devices, and services. Leveraging NDS eDirectory to perform policy-based management can result in more efficient use of company resources, improved load-balancing of network services and applications, better security controls for user authentication and access to company resources, and superior overall service for internal and external customers.

To allow for complete integration of your disparate information systems, an e-directory must be able to span multiple network environments. Your e-directory must be able to manage users and resources on all of the leading environments including NetWare, Windows NT, and Solaris. NDS eDirectory's ability to provide cross platform management and support for these environments is just one of the many reasons why it is the preferred choice of CIOs and IT managers for implementing cross-platform e-directories.

Regardless of network platform, NDS eDirectory is the integration point for all your enterprise, e-commerce, and extranet directories. NDS eDirectory integrates more Internet and de facto standards than any other directory, enabling it to easily interoperate with your existing technology investments as well as take advantage of current leading edge and future standards-based applications.

With more than eight years of production uptime, NDS eDirectory is the most mature and proven directory in the world. NDS is the only fully distributed, manageable, and replicated directory. The NDS eDirectory database can be partitioned into manageable segments that can be distributed and replicated across the network. By replicating directory partitions throughout the network in this manner, if a server goes down that contains directory data; the replicated data will still be available from another server. This replication occurs automatically and transparently to your users. Additionally, NDS partition and replication operations can be performed with users logged into the system. As a result, NDS eDirectory ensures that server failure, server maintenance, repair work, or temporary communication disruptions do not interfere with your e-business processes. NDS eDirectory provides your internal and external customers continual access to all the information stored in the directory that they need.

Every e-relationship that you maintain in your directory is represented by a directory object. Enterprise directories used strictly for tracking internal information in a large corporation might require only a capacity of twenty to thirty thousand objects, but as soon as you start using directory-enabled applications for activities such as policy management or desktop management, the number of directory objects begins to grow exponentially. Furthermore, an e-business directory that touches all of your business' potential customers and partners via the Internet might suddenly need to scale to millions of objects.

NDS eDirectory has proven its ability to manage a billion objects without any performance degradation. A billion objects signifies unlimited growth. It represents millions more objects than competing directory services. NDS eDirectory performs LDAP search queries with consistent speed, even with millions of objects added to the directory. Competing directories' LDAP search capabilities decrease in direct proportion to the number of users added to the directory. In fact, benchmark tests conducted by Key Labs found that LDAP search queries against NDS eDirectory performed 50% faster than Netscape Directory. The massive scalability and performance of NDS eDirectory means that organizations can expand their businesses with the confidence that the directory will stay ahead of their growth.

NDS eDirectory not only supports a virtually unlimited number of directory objects, but it also gives organizations an enormous amount of flexibility in how they design and deploy their directory infrastructure's e-business services and applications. NDS has earned an excellent reputation in assisting worldwide enterprises to easily manage their geographically distributed branch offices and remote sites. As you grow your e-business, you will likely discover an ever-increasing number of ways to leverage your information infrastructure, causing your scalability requirements to continually escalate. NDS eDirectory will allow your information infrastructure to grow and your e-business to expand without disruption of service.

NDS eDirectory is the only e-directory that truly scales to meet the exponential growth of the Internet as well as integrating your e-business' enterprise, extranet, and e-commerce applications and services. Delivering a full service e-directory is not a trivial task. Novell's years of experience and knowledge has made us the directory experts, as well as making NDS the market leader in directory services. As the most mature and robust industry proven directory, NDS eDirectory is the only stand-alone, cross platform LDAP directory service that provides a secure foundation for deploying your e-business. To compete in the world of e-business, you need to know who your customers are and be able to provide them customized services. NDS eDirectory lets you capture identity information on your customers and business partners so you can build secure and personalized e-relationships that let you cater to their individual needs in a way that dramatically improves customer loyalty and your e-business interactions. NDS eDirectory enables you to extend the reach of your existing infrastructure to your employees, customers, and supply-chain partners, giving you complete control of all your critical e-business processes.

eDirectory Frequently Asked Questions

This section covers the following areas:

  • Business issues

  • Product details

  • Competition

  • Partners and ISVs

Business Issues

Q. How does Novell expect to gain revenue from the directory?

A. Novell expects the company growth to parallel e-business growth over the next few years. The eDirectory solution enables Novell to become the foundation for e-business and provides a platform for revenue growth moving forward. Directory revenue in 2000 is expected to exceed $3 billion, says IDC, and we at Novell expect to capitalize on the combination of the directory and e-business. As Novell moves forward in the e-business space we will continue to build a solid e-cosystem of partners, consultants, system integrators, developers, and market leaders to not only leverage the eDirectory foundation but to build e-solutions.

Q. How does the NDS 8 release in May, 1999 differ from the NDS eDirectory release?

A. The release of NDS 8 in May was a release of the directory only on the NetWare platform. This release of the directory is a native, cross platform version that runs on NT, Windows 2000, Solaris and NetWare. We named it NDS eDirectory to have the name reflect the power of NDS in e-business as it enables companies to create a sustainable competitive e-business advantage.

Q. How does NDS eDirectory, as a platform, cause conflict or integrate with your NOS platform?

A. As both NDS and NetWare have evolved they have, and are becoming, the platform for e-business. NetWare will provide the Web enabling of enterprise services as companies move to the new model of e-business. While directories are the enabling infrastructure for the personalized relationships in e-business and whether eDirectory is running NetWare or any other platform it provides the best foundation for e-business.

Q. What is Novell's e-business strategy?

A. Novell's e-business strategy is to create and deliver an e-cosystem. Novell leads this e-cosystem by providing leading edge Web solutions that not only provide the foundation for e-business but also extend the boundaries of a business. Novell's e-cosystem is about enabling companies to grow their businesses and increase customer loyalty. Our e-cosystem consists of partners, consultants, systems integrators, developers and market leaders to deliver e-solutions.

Q. How is eDirectory Novell's "foundation for e-business"?

A. NDS eDirectory is a native, cross-platform LDAP directory service that powers e-businesses. As e-businesses compete for savvy customers on Internet time, it is becoming increasingly more important that you know who your customers are and deliver customized services to them. eDirectory allows you to capture identity information and cater to individuals and business entities based on highly personalized profiles. By offering new applications and services that are tailored to your customers and partners, you can build loyalties to your business-loyalties that contribute to the bottom line and give you a targeted audience as you expand your offerings. As you coordinate your customer interactions across departments, eDirectory extends the reach of your existing infrastructure to your employees, customers, and supply-chain partners, giving you control of critical e-business processes.

Q. How does eDirectory fit into Novell's long term business strategy?

A. eDirectory is a critical component of Novell's long term strategy. eDirectory provides a key foundation piece in Novell's and partners solutions. For example, Novell solutions such as digitalme,, Certificate Server, and Single Sign-on are all based on our eDirectory technology and enable e-business. And partners such as Business Layers, which provides e-provisioning based on directory services, are bundling eDirectory as a key foundation for their solution.

Q. What is Novell's long term business strategy?

A. Novell's strategy is to provide the solutions that give companies the ability to create a sustainable competitive advantage. We continue to work on creating the e-cosystem of partners, consultants, systems integrators, developers and market leaders to deliver these solutions. For example, Whittman-Hart announced today several solutions that help companies integrate supply chains and simplify resource management these solutions are based on eDirectory and deliver on our e-cosystem.

Q. How does the eDirectory work with digitalme?

A. eDirectory is the foundation for digitalme. digitalme provides secure identity management for the individual on the Web, the directory enables the personalization of that identity and the infrastructure for the secure management. eDirectory and digitalme are two technologies that leverage each other to provide an e-business solution.

Q. Why is Novell moving the directory into a new space?

A. With the growth of e-business it is becoming increasingly more important that businesses know who their customers are. An eDirectory allows companies to capture identity information and cater to individuals or business entities. Novell's eDirectory gives companies the technology so that they can understand their customers and create greater customer loyalty.

Q. How does NetWare become a player in the e-commerce market?

A. NetWare has long been the leader in network operating systems, connecting network resources to enable business process. Novell recognizes that today's business is e-business and with that market change so must technologies become the foundation for e-business processes. NetWare is the platform that takes network resources to the Web and provides the foundation for integrating business process with network resources via the Internet and Web technologies.

Q. The "directory decision" is a very strategic decision. How does Novell plan to help your customers understand the critical nature of this decision?

A. Novell is fully aligned to take on the challenges of the becoming a highly strategic player with our customers, partners, developers, consultants and system integrators to forge the path in becoming the foundation for e-business. Internally Novell has made numerous significant moves to align us with the needs of e-business. For example, an entire branch of the sales, marketing and development are focused on the ASP market and another branch with the digitalme technology is focused on end user Internet solutions, while the rest of the company in rallying behind making Novell a significant player in the e-business market. The partnership with Whittman-Hart also shows our dedication to e-market and focusing our company in that arena.

Q. You seem to mention solutions in your positioning, isn't Novell a "box" company, how do you plan to move to solutions?

A. For the past twelve years Novell has evolved two channels for our products, the formal reseller and vendor channel and our direct sales force. As the landscape of transacting business is changing so is Novell to align with our customers and their needs. We know that customers are looking for customized solutions that are targeted to meet their business needs. The e-change requires Novell to provide "out-of-the-box" solutions to our channel and then enhanced solutions that integrate partners, applications and integrators for targeted e-solutions.

Q. One of Novell's problems in the past has been getting application developers to write to the directory, how do you plan to change that?

A. Novell is currently focusing on providing the development community with all the tools they need to write e-business applications that run on multiple platforms. We're doing this by focusing on developing world-class software development kits (SDKs), improving developer programs like DeveloperNet (check out, and training the development community through city tours and online meetings. As NDS eDirectory becomes the de facto standard for e-business directories, we expect developers will write LDAP-based applications that are tailored for an NDS eDirectory environment.

In 2000, Windows development will decline by 25%. Java and other Web based applications will grow 40%, according to the Meta group. The e-market forces all aspects of technology to change. No longer is the platform the issue, but what a customer can access via a browser. The browser provides a huge opportunity for the adoption of leading edge application developers. The directory is the foundation of the Internet, and as such, enables developers to create secure and highly customized e-business relationships.

Q. How successful has Novell been in bringing your 70 million plus directory users from the NOS space to the e-business world?

A. One of the market strengths Novell has is that of our current install base, with 70 million plus users behind Novell we have the power to enable businesses to compete on Internet time. The network operating market, just like all other technologies, is shifting to become core infrastructure for the net. Novell's commitment to help our current customers generate new services and applications, is a critical part of our strategy. We have had tremendous response from our customers as we work together to move into the next stage of e-business transactions.

Product Details

Q. What is the difference between NDS eDirectory and NDS Corporate Edition?

A. NDS eDirectory is a stand-alone Internet directory that powers your e-business by helping you build secure, customized, and responsive relationships with savvy Internet partners, suppliers, customers, and employees.

NDS Corporate Edition is a network resource management tool built on top of NDS eDirectory to enable companies to integrate resources (like user accounts, printers, routers, NT domains, etc) across the network and simplify network management. For product details, check out the eDirectory Web site at

Q. How is NDS eDirectory different from NDS 8?

A. NDS 8 was announced earlier this year. That version of NDS was dependent on NetWare 5. Now, NDS eDirectory is platform-independent, can be purchased separately from NetWare and runs on NetWare, Solaris and/or Windows NT.

Q. What has happened to NDS for NT and NDS for Solaris?

A. All of the features and functionality of NDS for NT and NDS for Solaris have been rolled into NDS Corporate Edition. NDS for NT and NDS for Solaris as product names are no longer used.

Q. What is the upgrade path for NDS for NT and NDS for Solaris?

A. Customers who have purchased NDS for NT or NDS for Solaris and have purchased maintenance will receive NDS Corporate Edition for no charge through our upgrade process. Otherwise, they can purchase an upgrade to NDS Corporate Edition at the upgrade price. Customers can purchase NDS Corporate Edition through the normal channels (Novell resellers or shopnovell).

Q. We have heard from sources that you do not have as much commitment to the Solaris/UNIX platforms as you do to NT and NetWare?

A. Not true. We are committed to Unix platforms. In fact, we are working with several Unix vendors including Sun, IBM, Compaq, Red Hat, and Caldera to bring the power of NDS to their platforms.

Q. Does NDS run better on NetWare? If so why, If not why not, since it is Novell's platform?

A. Fundamentally, NDS runs equally on server operating systems. However, the strength of the operating system will impact performance, scalability, feature sets, integration points, etc.. And since we own NetWare, we are working to fine tune NetWare with directory-enabled features that make it the ideal network OS for managing your enterprise and taking your business to the Net.

Q. We saw the announcement about NDS version 8 on Linux and Tru64. When are they coming out?

A. The next generation of NDS 8 we call NDS eDirectory, and it will run natively on Linux by the end of Q1, 2000 and on Tru64 Unix during the year 2000.

Q. With the support for Tru64 Unix, are you saying that NDS is 64 bit enabled?

A. Yes. We will have to go through our code and enable it for 64 bits. This is pure engineering stuff, and this is what will take the time, not doing the port.

Q. Why will Novell's current installed base want to move to NDS eDirectory?

A. In the past, NDS ran on NetWare only. We have a large installed base of NetWare 4 users who do not have the latest version of NDS--which is NDS eDirectory. Current users of NDS who are using NetWare 4 now have a large incentive to move to NetWare 5x and benefit from the additional scalability, open standards, and performance improvements in eDirectory.

Users of NT, Windows 2000, Solaris, and Linux can now use NDS eDirectory in their native environment to implement e-business solutions.

Q. What percentage of your install base do you expect to upgrade to NDS eDirectory?

A. We expect that by the end of next year, over 75% of our NetWare 5x base will be using NDS eDirectory. We also believe that we will maintain our dominance as the premier provider of directory and directory-enabled solutions.

Q. How many new customers do you expect with the release of NDS eDirectory?

A. Novell's goal is to capture 50% (about 125 million) of the projected 250 million LDAP nodes, that IDC predicts will access directory services by the end of 2000. We believe that 50% of the LDAP node market space would propel Novell to the role of market leader, and would give Novell a solid base from which to transition competing directory vendors' customer base from their existing special-purpose directory to NDS eDirectory.

IDC also predicts that between 1998 and 2002, over 25 million LDAP servers will be deployed. Novell's goal is to capture 50% of that number, or approximately 12.5 million. Novell believes that with the growing need for e-business services, directory server deployments will actually far exceed IDC expectations, and that Novell stands to benefit from its positioning NDS as the foundation for e-business applications and Web services.

Q. In the past, NDS has had partition limitations and restrictions, what are they with NDS eDirectory?

A. NDS eDirectory has no partition size limitations. See for a white paper on the NDS billion object tree.

Q. How does NDS support PKI?

A. Novell has recently made available Novell Certificate Server, a free solution that enables rapid expansion and growth of e-business by lowering the significant security hurdles of joining customers, suppliers and partners into a seamless network. Unlike other vendors who charge for issuing the digital certificates used to ensure secure communications, Novell offers a digital certificate solution based on need instead of cost. In addition, Novell Certificate Server is integrated with NDS to dramatically simplify management of digital certificates, including those issued by other vendors. See the Certificate Server Web site at

Q. What about 0S/390 and AIX, how do you stand with IBM?

A. IBM markets and sells a product called NDS Services for OS/390 that is based on NDS 7 technology. We are working with IBM to help them understand the significant customer demand for NDS integration with their platforms. Novell has not committed, to date, to complete this port.

Q. Will HP or Novell port NDS eDirectory to HP-UX?

A. We are continually evaluating the market and needs of our customers and are working towards providing the platforms that align with those needs. We are working with HP to help them understand the significant customer demand for NDS integration with their platforms. Novell has not committed, to date, to complete this port.

Q. What is the price for NDS eDirectory?

A. $2 per user.

Q. What is the price for NDS Corporate Edition?

A. $26 per user.


Q. Microsoft will be giving Active Directory away for free, how will Novell counter that?

A. Microsoft is not giving Active Directory away for free. They are bundling the directory with Windows 2000, and Microsoft is charging for Windows 2000. Novell has been providing NDS with NetWare for over six years, and continues to do so.

Q. Microsoft and Cisco announced a Unix version of Active Directory, isn't AD cross platform?

A. When Windows 2000 is released, Active Directory will not be cross platform, nor does that make sense with Microsoft's strategy. Microsoft is focused on providing a single vendor solution with applications and services and is not about expanding into other competitive platforms. The announcement with Cisco was focused on a Unix provider that points all calls to Windows 2000 and does not run natively any other operating systems.

Q. Numerous companies, including Microsoft, have been talking about Web services, how does Novell plan to attack that market?

A. Novell is committed to creating Web services, and enabling all of our technologies for the Web. We will continue to work with partners to developer Web services that enable new markets and help companies grow their business.

Q. Microsoft has been stalling the market while the world waits for Windows 2000, how does that or has that affected Novell?

A. Even with the lack of delivery of Windows 2000 businesses must continue to function and enable e-business. Windows 2000 has affected the decisions of corporations looking for enterprise and network operating system changes. The continuous delay of Windows 2000 has not stopped business from developing and delivering on e-business strategies. Novell has been able to capitalize on companies e-business decisions, by delivering products and providing solutions for e-business needs. Novell's solutions delivered include products such as NDS eDirectory, Novell Certificate Server, NDS Corporate Edition, ICS (Internet Caching System), digitalme, Novell Internet Messaging System, and many others.

Q. On Microsoft's Website they state that Novell still recommends partitioning based on WAN limitations, is this an issue with eDirectory or Corporate Edition?

A. Obviously Microsoft has not done their homework on the changes that have occurred with NDS over the last year. NDS does not have any limitations for partition sizes. The consideration for design is based completely on what makes sense for the customer deployment, hardware limitations and who needs to access the information. The Internet has changed the definition of WAN, every company, at some level is competing in the global net economy and a directory is required for that foundation. If a company has information that needs to be access over 9.6k lines, chances are that it does not make sense for them to let millions of users access data over that line. The design in the WAN environment is based on common sense and business objectives. It is as simple as that.

Q. Microsoft also states that customers are limited to the lowest common denominator in a mixed replica ring?

A. NDS eDirectory and NDS Corporate Edition are the latest version of NDS, that is scalable to over a billion objects, standards based, reliable and provides Internet ready security. As with all products delivered by companies, the latest version contains feature enhancements and new functionality. Novell, unlike some of our competitors, believes in providing backward compatibility with existing versions of the directory. What this means is that we provide flexibility for customers to leverage existing investments while taking advantage of the latest functionality. So in a mixed replica ring, the older directory servers do not have the new functionality built in, but can integrate with an eDirectory or Corporate Edition server. There are limitations with this implementation but are not due to eDirectory or Corporate Edition but the integration of old and new functionality. Microsoft, on the other hand, will have severe integration problems and limitations with NT 4 and Windows 2000 deployments.

Q. Microsoft states the lack of a Novell PKI story, what is the story?

A. Novell has a very strong PKI story; we recently announced Novell's Certificate Server which is fully integrated with NDS. This free enterprise software enables rapid expansion and growth of e-business by lowering the significant security hurdles of joining customers, suppliers and partners into a seamless network. Unlike other vendors who charge for issuing the digital certificates used to ensure secure communications, Novell offers a digital certificate solution based on need instead of cost. In addition, Novell Certificate Server is integrated with Novell Directory Services (NDS) to dramatically simplify management of digital certificates, including those issued by other vendors.

Q. Windows 2000 supports DNS namespace integration, is this a planned feature for NDS?

A. Absolutely we will support DNS. Watch for more information to be forth coming.

Q. How will NDS eDirectory and NDS Corporate Edition interface with Windows 2000?

A. NDS eDirectory is a cross platform directory solution that works on NT 4, Windows 2000, Solaris, Linux and NetWare 5. Novell fully supports Windows 2000 as a directory platform. The purpose of eDirectory on Windows 2000 is to provide the directory foundation for e-business applications. Many customers have expressed their desire to use eDirectory instead of Active Directory because they require massive scalability and performance that is necessary for e-business. Corporate Edition integrates specific components of the operating systems on NT 4, Solaris and Linux for resource management. As Novell moves forward with Corporate Edition and Microsoft delivers Windows 2000 we will provide integrated resource management with Windows 2000.

Q. What differentiates NDS eDirectory from Microsoft Active Directory?

A. NDS eDirectory is a cross-platform directory solution that works on NT 4, Windows 2000 when available, Solaris and NetWare 5. Active Directory will only support the Windows 2000 environment. In addition, eDirectory users can be assured they are using the most trusted, reliable and mature directory service to manage and control their e-business relationships--not a 1.0 release.

Q. Why is NDS eDirectory better for e-business than other directories?

A. Besides a technical argument, we can boil our answer down to three reasons:

  • Maturity--we've been around for 8 years.

  • Performance--Key Labs testing shows that we beat Netscape in head to head benchmarking

  • Scalability--We demonstrated at Brainshare SLC 99 a billion user tree.

Check out for competitive briefs.

Q. X.500 directories are being pulled along as part of PKI deployments, how do you expect NDS to penetrate this market?

A. NDS eDirectory provides the foundation for e-business. Security and PKI are becoming an increasingly important component in the e-business e-costructure. NDS today integrates with certificate providers such as Entrust to deliver certificate solutions. Novell also delivered Certificate Server on Oct 25. Novell understands the increasing demand for PKI and directory integration and will continue to deliver solutions in this space.

Q. Why would I buy and implement an eDirectory if I can use my database for managing policy, customer data, etc.?

A. Many customers over the years have thought it would be handy to have NDS use any database as its back-end repository. Since many customers use Oracle for their enterprise database it seemed like a logical conclusion. However, building and mapping a directory service to a relationship database is complicated and has limitations. First, a directory uses a hierarchical object oriented approach to represent data. A database such as Oracles' uses relational tables. Therefore, directory searches must be mapped to SQL queries. Anytime a translation is required between two formats you can expect weaker performance, limited capabilities, and limited scalability.

Q. Why should I choose NDS eDirectory over the competition?

A. NDS is the proven mature directory solution. NDS has been a solution for over six years and has an installation base of over 70 million users. NDS has been designed for the enterprise and Internet environment, and leverages your existing infrastructure while providing the ability for you to grow your business without disruption.

Partners and ISVs

Q. What partners are supporting NDS eDirectory and NDS Corporate Edition products?

A. Numerous Internet leaders voiced support for NDS eDirectory today and several delivered applications that are using eDirectory. These partners include Business Layers, Lucent, Sun, Oblix, Whittman-Hart along with numerous customers like Altavista, Xircom and CNN. To find out the latest information on Novell's partners and customers and their integration with NDS eDirectory go to

Q. What is Novell doing to encourage the third-party development of applications based on eDirectory?

A. We're focusing on developing world-class software development kits (SDKs), improving developer programs like DeveloperNet (check out, and training the development community through city tours and online meetings. As NDS eDirectory becomes the de facto standard for e-business directories, we expect developers will write LDAP-based applications that are tailored for an NDS eDirectory environment.

Novell is providing leading ISV's with the opportunity to download NDS eDirectory, at no charge, so they can bundle it with their applications, products and solutions. The ISV download does restrict the customer to only using eDirectory with the specific application that is delivered by the ISV. However, if the customer wants to use NDS eDirectory for additional applications or services they can purchase NDS eDirectory from Novell.

Q. What will Netvision be doing to pull along the eDirectory?

A. Netvision provides solutions that are based on the NDS foundation. NDS eDirectory is Novell's directory foundation and Netvision's products are based on the eDirectory foundation.

Q. Is NDS eDirectory a functionality limited version of NDS?

A. No, NDS eDirectory is the next release of NDS and is not limited in functionality. eDirectory is Novell's directory platform that is cross platform, highly scalable, secure, reliable, LDAP based, e-business foundation.

Q. As an ISV can I download the directory to bundle it with my application?

A. Novell is running a promotion that allows ISV's to download NDS eDirectory and bundle it with their solution. You can locate the promotion information at

Q. Is there a limited user license?

A. The license for the ISV bundle promotion allows a customer to use NDS eDirectory with the specific ISV application and for that targeted use. If the customer wants to use the directory for solutions other than the specific application of the ISV product then the customer has to go purchase NDS eDirectory from Novell.

Q. What are my rights to redistribute?

A. As an ISV you can redistribute NDS eDirectory with your specific product for customers to use eDirectory with your application. You can not redistribute NDS eDirectory for any other purposes.

Q. Why should I use eDirectory?

A. NDS eDirectory is the foundation for e-business. eDirectory is the only directory that provides the highly scalable, secure directory platform. NDS eDirectory provides the solution that ISV's need to provide authentication and profile identity management of users.

Q. How will eDirectory save me development time?

A. Because NDS eDirectory is based on open standards, the development to eDirectory is greatly enhanced. NDS is proven, mature and open standards based--the development to eDirectory can be provided in a simple, open fashion.

Q. Can I use standard industry APIs to access eDirectory?

A. Yes, you can use industry standard LDAP API sets to write to and access NDS eDirectory.

Q. What are Novell's plans to create a market for my product if I integrate it with eDirectory?

A. Novell is highly committed to our partner's and ISV's. As you integrate NDS eDirectory with your application or solution Novell is very interested in looking at the opportunities that exist surrounding those solutions.

Q. If a customer buys two applications that both offer eDirectory how will the installation, version and licensing be resolved?

A. NDS eDirectory that is delivered with ISV applications is only available for use with that specific application. ISVs will have access to the latest version of NDS eDirectory. If a customer receives two applications that both have NDS eDirectory bundled with them, they will be able to use one directory tree for both applications but can use that directory service for only those specific applications and for no other solutions, applications or any other reason.

Q. How will Novell keep ISVs updated with the latest version of eDirectory so that we can ship the most recent version?

A. The latest version of eDirectory will be available on Novell's Website for ISVs. You can find the latest information at

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


The origin of this information may be internal or external to Novell. While Novell makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information, Novell does not make explicit or implied claims to its validity.

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