NDS for NT 2.0 emphasizes security

Joe Hassmann is looking forward to upgrading to the latest version of Novell Directory Services on Windows NT — NDS for NT 2.0.

Hassmann, IS manager of the Broadway National Bank in San Antonio, Tex., has been using NDS for NT since the first version came out and he has been pleased with it. But there are several aspects of Version 2.0 that will make things easier for him, he said.

“The biggest (difference) for us is the new password feature where it’s going to force replication of passwords,” he said. “With the previous version, there was a way for that to get out of synch, from a user’s standpoint. This new version is going to push that information across so there’s no way for them to get out of synchronization.”

Hassmann went on to say the bank has many smaller branches where he wants to put a file server, but he can’t justify running a NetWare box with Microsoft Exchange mail.

“So what we want to do is try and put one NT server with Exchange on it, kind of a midrange box, and then be able to force a replica down to that NT box,” he said. “And that way everybody will be authenticating locally instead of coming across the wide area network.”

NDS for NT 2.0 makes this possible. Companies can now take a geographically distributed network with both NT and NetWare servers and store local replicas of the directory on any server of their choice.

“In Version 1.0 of NDS for NT, we employed a security redirector, but it required that all copies of NDS, which we call replicas, be stored on NetWare servers,” explained Ross Chevalier, director of technology for Novell Canada Ltd. in Markham, Ont. “In NDS for NT 2.0, we enhanced that service to permit the storage of read-write replicas on NT servers as well.”

Bob Sakakeeny, analyst at Boston-based Aberdeen Group Inc., said the improvements in the ability to be distanced from NetWare are good, but he hopes to see this taken even further.

“They’re still using the phrase ‘NDS for NT’, so it still requires some elements of NetWare,” he said. “The stuff I’m looking forward to is NDS on NT.”

By this, he means the ability for a shop that has no NetWare at all to still be able to use NDS.

Novell Canada’s Chevalier said this is in the works. “I don’t have a firm release date, but it is something we are aggressively working on, and hope to see early in 1999,” he said.

At the moment, the NT world doesn’t have a native directory — Microsoft’s Active Directory will be shipping with Windows 2000 (formerly NT 5.0) which has no firm release date. Novell would like those companies that choose to go to an all-NT environment but still want the functionality of a directory to be able to use NDS as well.

Chevalier also mentioned a few deals in the works with other companies regarding NDS, including Unix vendors IBM Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., and Linux vendor Caldera Inc.

Aberdeen’s Sakakeeny said NDS for NT 2.0, along with these other deals, signifies the increasing importance of NDS.

“The individual product (NDS for NT 2.0) to me is not that critical, it’s the fact that NDS is becoming ubiquitous,” he said.

“If you look at all the announcements that have come out over the past little while, with NDS on the different switches from Lucent and Cisco, for example…and more to come over the next several months, they’re really beginning to populate different pieces of the enterprise infrastructure with NDS,” he said.

NDS for NT 2.0 is available now with two licensing components — a server licence and a per-user connection licence. They are US$695 per NT replica/server and US$26 per user. User licences are required in all cases, and a server licence is required in order to place an NDS replica on an NT server. Customers using NDS for NT 2.0 to redirect NT domains to NDS on NetWare servers will not require a server licence.

Novell Canada in Markham, Ont., is at 1-800-638-9237. For more information on NDS for NT 2.0, see www.novell.com/nds/nds4nt.