Novell directory catching on - thanks to Microsoft

Thank you very much Microsoft.

After struggling for more than five years to convince users that directories are a good idea, the concept is finally catching on, Novell officials claimed at BrainShare here yesterday.

And that acceptance, officials admitted, is largely due to Microsoft's belated embrace of directory technology.

"Microsoft with all its marketing dollars is doing a great job of telling people how important a directory is," said Nick Jackson, Novell's director of business development for Asia-Pacific.

"So as long as we have one and they don't, we're going to leverage that."

Novell took every opportunity to highlight the fact that Microsoft is still some way away from shipping its Active Directory product, which is a key element of the next upgrade of Windows NT, version 5. With a number of analyst groups warning that users should wait until at least the middle of the year 2000, before deploying NT 5.0, Novell believes that gives them a significant window of opportunity.

"You don't have to wait until after the year 2000 to deploy NDS," said Ed McGarr, vice president of product marketing.

NDS is still clearly Novell's crown jewel, despite the upcoming release of the long-awaited NetWare 5.

"The directory does for the network what Windows does for the desktop," McGarr said.

Novell's strategy is to use the directory to deliver additional services that make the network more intelligent, he said. And according to Australian managing director Cliff Smith, that strategy is working, with sales of non-NetWare products growing strongly. He said that sales of BorderManager now accounted forA 7 per cent of the local operations revenue and that it's management services business had doubled this year.