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eDirectory Overview

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Subbu K.K.

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Posted: 4 Jan 2001

Note: The following is an edited version of an article by Subbu K.K. that appeared in Compaq's online magazine.

NDS (Novell Directory Services) is a full service directory that serves as the foundation for a whole class of network services. These network services cater to rapidly evolving e-business categories such as business relationship management, supply chain management, electronic storefronts and employee relationship management.

NDS borrows many of its design principles from the Internet?layered architecture where each layer builds more reliability and availability over the underlying layer?such as loose consistency and eventual convergence, heterogeneous deployments, global accessibility, dynamic extensibility.

NDS eDirectory offers a common platform, One Net, that ties together various resources within an organization into a coherent world. It gives employees, customers, partners, suppliers and distributors fully secure and controlled access to networked resources on a global scale. It has been used as a platform for delivering varied services such as automated provisioning, enhanced security, customer profiling, electronic wallets, automated notification systems, personalized Web interfaces and virtual private networks. It also forms the basis for several Novell solutions such as DirXML, eGuide, iChain, MyRealBox, Novell OnDemand, Net Publisher, Novell Internet Messaging Server and Single Sign On.

NDS has also been embraced by many companies, such as AltaVista, British Telecom, Broadvision, Business Layers, CNN, Lucent Technologies, National Public Radio, Oblix, PeopleSoft, RedHat, Sun Microsystems and Xircom. The current release of NDS is the NDS eDirectory 8.5. It is available on Linux, NetWare, Solaris, Tru64 UNIX, Windows 2000 and Windows NT. Novell continues to expand the range of supported operating environments based on customer demands.

The NDS product family
NDS refers to a family of products that implement a directory service and support the development of directory-enabled applications across multiple platforms. On each platform, there is a set of core products that create a virtual platform and a set of directory-enabled services. The core products are:

  • NDS eDirectory 8.5
  • DirXML 1.0
  • Novell Account Management 2.1
  • Novell LDAP Software Developer Kit

NDS eDirectory constitutes the core directory service. It consists of modular packages called the Replica Server, User Agent, Administration Utilities and ConsoleOne and its snap-ins. The full NDS eDirectory is required on servers that manage NDS replicas. On other servers and workstations, only the NDS User Agents and utilities need to be installed in order to use NDS.

DirXML is a data sharing service flexible enough to accommodate any application, database, or directory. DirXML extends the data replication and synchronization capabilities of NDS to other data sources, eliminating the isolation of data among various applications. As a data sharing service, DirXML and eDirectory allow the automation of business process data flow. Through rules and policies in NDS eDirectory, not only can DirXML manage the flow of data, but also the authoritative sources of data are preserved and enforced as well. And DirXML is event driven, so the changes to data are propagated through the environment in real-time.

The Novell LDAP Software Development Kit is a toolkit for building directory-enabled applications. It is not delivered as part of the NDS product, but is available as part of Novell DeveloperNet program.

Mission-critical Service
NDS has been in use within Novell itself since July 1992. Novell has upgraded the software through seven generations, changing underlying servers, network protocols from IPX to IP, and network topologies from LAN to WAN to Intranet, with zero downtime. NDS also has a reputation amongst its customers for its reliability, scalability and availability.

For more information
Novell DeveloperNet program:
Available products:

eDirectory Upgrade Info

  1. NDS eDirectory 8.5 56 bit (by platform) is available for free to anyone for evaluation in non-production environments via
  2. NDS eDirectory 8.0 customers that do not have upgrade protection will have to purchase an upgrade, if they wish to have the NDS eDirectory 8.5 128+ version.
  3. NDS eDirectory 8.0 customers that do have upgrade protection can obtain the new 8.5 128+ version through the usual means via order administration.
  4. NetWare 5.x customers can obtain the new NDS eDirectory 8.5 version through the download that is posted at Since NDS eDirectory 8.5 works on the same NICI that the OS (NetWare) uses, it will run at either 56B or 128B, depending on what NetWare is currently running.
  5. NetWare 5.x customers will not go through order administration to receive their free upgrade.

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