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Comdex coverage by CNN and

Cisco to sign up for NDS

November 19, 1998
Web posted at: 12:50 PM ET

by Christine Burns


(IDG) -- LAS VEGAS - Novell says it has finally convinced Cisco Systems that its Novell Directory Services (NDS) is indeed a market force to be reckoned with.

Both companies later today will announce two separate initiatives that will allow Cisco networking gear to be managed via NDS.

The first, which Novell will demonstrate in its booth at the Comdex show here, is a Java-based application developed by Novell engineers. This software will allow a network administrator to remotely configure and manage routers and switches from Cisco and existing NDS partners, Lucent and the Bay division of Nortel.
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Novell officials say they will deliver a yet-to-be named product sometime in the next 18 months.

Also, even though Cisco is not expected to actually license the NDS code from Novell as Lucent and Bay/Nortel have done in recent weeks, the networking giant will commit to integrating NDS with its Assure products and its Cisco User Registration and Tracking, and Cisco Network Registrar software. Cisco is expected to deliver this integration in the second quarter of next year.

The question that remains is whether or not this proposed NDS integration will be as complete as Cisco's ongoing work to incorporate Microsoft's Windows 2000 Server-based Active Directory into its hardware management software.

Microsoft and Cisco have been working for 20 months now on a project entitled Cisco Networking Services for Active Directory. The delivery date of that integrated product is tightly tied to the ship date of Windows 2000, which at the time of the Microsoft/Cisco partnership was supposed to be before the year's-end. Microsoft is now saying that Windows 2000 will not ship until the middle of 1999.

Novell users have been pressing Cisco to enable strong NDS ties because they have already deployed Novell's directory and are anxious to use it as a physical network management tool.

Previously, Cisco has said it would only support NDS via open standards. Users fear that limited support will not give them the level of directory enabled network management they want. Cisco's joining the ranks of hardware vendors that support NDS is viewed as a very strong endorsement of Novell's efforts to push its directory as the central point for managing many aspects of an enterprise network.

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