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From the Inside Out: Choosing a High-End Directory Service

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Shawn Dickerson

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Posted: 27 Jan 2004

We thought it would be cool to have Novell's Product Managers produce a regular column for eDirectory Cool Solutions to give you some insight into current projects, plans, and other interesting tidbits. We're calling it "From the Inside Out." This column is from Shawn Dickerson, product marketing manager for Novell eDirectory. Look for a new column weekly. And if you have any suggestions for topics for these guys, let us know and we'll drop some hints.

If you've been following the news coming out of Novell lately, you may have noticed something different in the way Novell talks about eDirectory. Unlike the more generic descriptions of the past, Novell is referring to its flagship identity foundation as "a high-end directory service ? uniquely capable of meeting the demands of large-scale, high-end directory deployments."

So does that mean Novell eDirectory is no longer an effective option for small or mid-sized deployments? Absolutely not. eDirectory is still most flexible directory service on the market - supporting everything from local NOS or email deployments to full-suite identity management. However, what that new message does reflect is that for most small or mid-sized deployments, a directory is, at best, a competitive differentiator. The buying decision is based on the application or solution running on top of the directory.

The only circumstance that logic no longer holds true is for extremely large implementations, such as B2C or G2C solutions, or massive enterprises. For these high-end deployments, a directory service is often evaluated on its own merits, apart from any other supported product or solution. That said, Novell wants to be extremely clear about which directory is the best and safest choice for those high-end deployments.

As some of you begin to undertake these large-scale projects, let me suggest 5 criteria by which to evaluate a high-end directory service:

  • Scalability - How big is big? How scalable does the system need to be, addressing the needs of today as well as tomorrow? Can it still perform when scaled to millions of identities?
  • Compatibility - Does it work with deployed applications? Does it support directory access standards? Does it work on chosen platforms?
  • Reliability - What mechanisms ensure that identities and information are always available? Does it help meet availability goals? Is it prone to data corruption?
  • Manageability - What tools and services provide proactive management and monitoring of the system? Does it plug into chosen monitoring systems? Does the console adapt to organizational needs?
  • Security - Does the system allow benign access to privileged users while rigorously denying malicious intruders? Can you provide access through a variety of means? Does it provide a security model flexible enough for company needs?

As the subscribers to this newsletter probably already know, Novell eDirectory stacks up very well against all of these criteria - a fact that is well supported by the recently release METAspectrum for LDAP Directories, analyst firm META Group's annual evaluation of the directory market. Among other findings, the report states: "Novell eDirectory is the number-one leader in the LDAP directory market space. This is due to a combination of overall superior feature/functionality delivery, good customer service, and an established presence in the market for both Internet and enterprise-facing directory needs. eDirectory has achieved decent market momentum and Novell is leveraging eDirectory infrastructure know-how in its Nsure Resources identity management offerings." You can read the report here.

Clearly, Novell eDirectory is the industry's best choice for large-scale, high-end directory deployments - with unmatched scalability and reliability, a flexible yet strong security architecture, compatibility with key industry standards and operating systems, and manageability that is second to none.

Have you started planning or implementing a high-end directory deployment based on eDirectory in order to manage hundreds of thousands or millions of identities? Tell me about it at

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