Novell moves on to next stage in networking
SALT LAKE CITY (IDG) -- Novell yesterday took steps into uncharted territory.
Traditionally, the company's annual user conference details how it will make its core products -- NetWare, Novell Directory Services (NDS), GroupWise and ManageWise -- easier to manage and deploy for network administrators. However, Novell officials are hoping that the technology taking center stage this week at the company's 15th Brainshare gathering here is one that will convince the average end user how valuable NDS can be as an Internet technology.
During his keynote speech Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt told the standing room only crowd that Novell's next venture was to "put a human face on networking." To prove his point, Schmidt announced a new NDS-based technology called digitalme. This will let both Internet consumers and corporate end users maintain control over their own personal information when using the Web.
"We're going from being defined to defining networking... at the launch of the next stage of the networking revolution," he said. "This is on the scale of the Industrial Revolution, but occurring much, much faster."
Novell's digitalme client software acts as a digital safe-deposit box for all personal information such as name, address, credit card numbers and electronic codes that can be used to track a user's Internet travels. All of this information is still stored in the underlying NDS directory. However, digitalme allows a user to make changes to their personal information in the directory and control who can access that data.
Novell demonstrated pre-beta code of several components comprising its digitalme software. The first was the ability of an end user to develop virtual "meCards" containing only the information the end user wants to make public. The end user can then publish these cards to other individuals or whole communities such as the engineering department or their family members using Novell's underlying directory technology.
Novell also demonstrated the auto-register and Internet Sign-on features of digitalme that fill in forms used to register and establish access privileges on multiple Web sites. A personal proxy system intercepts the forms, automatically fills them in for the user and provides a completed form for review. The next time the user accesses that Web site, digitalme automatically handles the sign-in process. In addition, digitalme creates a log of what Web sites have been past the user's personal information.
Novell officials said they would offer the digitalme software free to anyone who wants to put it to noncommercial use. However, Novell intends to license digitalme to third parties who will build services on top of it. Along those lines, Novell announced partnerships with financial services companies Citigroup and FirstUSA under which the three will test the new services and work towards creating an open standard for Internet identity.
In a slew of other announcements, Novell demonstrated that more and more partners are lining up to support NDS as a tool for managing end-to-end networking resources. Cabletron announced plans to bundle NDS with its networking hardware so administrators can manage those devices and define end-user access to them via the directory. Check Point announced plans to integrate its firewall and virtual private networking features with NDS so customers can manage security policies across the network using NDS. Additionally, Lucent announced it is working with Novell to integrate Lucent's QIP IP management products with NDS.
Finally, to boost NetWare's reputation as an enterprise application platform, Novell announced that it has plans to ship IBM's WebSphere Java-based Internet application development server and Oracle's WebDB with NetWare 5.
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