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Users can now create directory groups automatically according to any given directory attribute, use Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) queries to run persistent directory searches and run data backups while the directory is still active, said Novell.
Version 8.6 also offers enhanced performance for accessing, replicating or loading large volumes of data, said the company.
"We're continuing to support the enterprise - the intranet and the extranet - but now we're moving forward to continue integration with the Internet," said Ivan Hurtt, Novell's eDirectory product manager.
eDirectory 8.6 will be generally available on 17 December.
Novell also unveiled its eGuide 2.0 Web application. The tool lets users find and establish connections with other users and data stored in eDirectory and other LDAP-based data sources across the Internet.
Finally, Novell revealed details about its next release of eDirectory, codenamed "Falcon", which the company expects to ship in April 2002. Falcon will include Web-based and wireless management features that will let users manage the directory from Web browsers and handheld devices.
Falcon is also expected to support Web services standards such as Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI). Customers will then be able to use eDirectory as an authentication mechanism for Web services, said Novell.
Hurtt said Version 8.6 already contains much of the key infrastructure for the Web services-enabled Falcon, such as the ability to support replication outside the firewall and standards support.
"[But] standards are a tricky thing. At times, standards can actually take away functionality. The biggest benefit of standards is interoperability. Web services is going to be very standards-based, so we're embracing standards when they have a business reason behind them and they solve a customer issue. SOAP, UDDI and LDAP have already proven that," Hurtt said.