Sun to ship Web services directory

iPlanet E-commerce Solutions, the joint venture between Sun and Netscape, has embarked on an ambitious effort to re-engineer its...

iPlanet E-commerce Solutions, the joint venture between Sun and Netscape, has embarked on an ambitious effort to re-engineer its networking software to support large-scale deployments of distributed components.

At the centre of that effort will be a new implementation of the company's directory offering that will support Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI).

UDDI - a kind of online Yellow Pages in which Web services can be registered and located - makes up the core de facto standards for Web services in conjunction with XML, SOAP , and Web Services Description Language (WSDL).

The iPlanet directory is built on a hierarchical database and enables users to discover, track, and understand the relationship between objects distributed across a network.

"What we are talking about is the infrastructure needed for distributed computing," said Hal Stern, chief technical officer of iPlanet.

The new directory product will become a strategic element of Sun's overall Continuous Java initiative, and will be integrated with Sun's Java Specification Request (JSR) and Java Message Service (JMS) technologies.

The Sun/Netscape Alliance plans to will follow up the directory launch with a range of distributed networking software, including a distributed file system that will include storage virtualisation capabilities and a set of distributed cache management tools.

As distributed objects that leverage Web services to communicate begin proliferating around the enterprise, industry analysts said directories are expected to play a key role.

"Directories are going to be important, particularly from management and security perspectives," said Peter Urban, an analyst at AMR Research.

Urban added that using a directory enables companies to centralise resources, thereby easing management while increasing security.

"It is dangerous, however, because if somebody breaks into that directory, they can get access to a lot of information," Urban said.

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