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This is the latest move in Novell's directory battle with Microsoft's Windows 2000 Active Directory. Last year Novell offered eDirectory free of charge to equipment manufacturers.
Version 8.6 offers persistent search, live continuous back-up and a dynamic groups feature which allows groups to be created automatically according to attributes relating to, for example, roles in the business.
Last year analyst firm Giga Information Group found that 50% of Windows 2000 implementors had not installed Active Directory, owing to difficulties in migration. Novell's directory has a greater market share than the Microsoft product, though the gap is narrowing.
Many Active Directory implementations have foundered on the design and migration of groups. Gary Barnett, an analyst at Ovum, said, "Novell's eDirectory is in the top three of most-deployed directories, and I would put it ahead of Active Directory. Novell has the luxury of having its directory technology at the centre of its strategy. Consequently, it does play more nicely.
"eDirectory is somewhat easier to implement but I am not sure how many complaints from people with Active Directory troubles are from those who have never had to implement a directory before. All directory implementations are a complex matter, needing careful design to ensure efficient replication across distributed environments."
The forthcoming Falcon release will feature Web and wireless management capabilities, with the directory supporting browser-based interfaces and handheld devices. It will also support Web services standards Soap and UDDI.
Improved data synchronisation
Novell has released DirXML, a more flexible and powerful version of its data synchronisation software. By using an XML pathway, DirXML can link data stored in directories, applications and databases even if it resides outside the firewall on a business partner's system.
Novell has also released DirXML Driver for SAP HR, which integrates user identity information from the mySAP Human Resources application, eDirectory and other enterprise software.
Linking HR applications, e-mail, databases and facilities access eliminates the costly and time-consuming task of creating and updating profiles individually.