Novell announces Web services plan

Novell Inc. will use its exteNd and Nsure products as the foundation for building Web directory services applications to further its one Net strategy, the company said on Tuesday.

Using exteNd, customers are able to build applications that integrate with existing systems. The Nsure offering simplifies the management of user identities while securing access to enterprise applications, the company said. When combined, the solutions are designed to deliver an architecture for building J2EE and Web services applications.

The announcement leverages the technology Novell gained by acquiring SilverStream Software Inc. last July. Together, the products represent the driving force behind Novell’s vision of enabling customers to build applications that integrate with existing systems and develop Web services applications.

“The driving force behind Novell’s acquisition of SilverStream was to deliver the benefits of our complementary solutions and expand our one Net vision,” said David Litwack, senior vice-president of Novell’s Web application development products in a statement.

Novell also announced several Nsure product developments that include the Secure Assertions Markup Language (SAML) extension for iChain that enables businesses to share authentication and user information with partners and suppliers across the Web. The Liberty identity provider for its eDirectory, which is based on the Liberty Alliance 1.1 specification, allows businesses to securely establish links between internal, external and partner Web sites, the company said.

The company also recently added a new exteNd Composer Connector for its Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), based on the Directory Services Markup Language (DSML) Composer connect. It allows users to create integrated applications that store and retrieve the data in LDAP directories such as its eDirectory product. LDAP also allows for e-mail addresses and public keys to be obtained.

Still, one analyst was less than impressed with Novell’s latest strategic announcement.

“When it comes to directories, any Web service needs to have a directory or a registry service attached to it in order to locate, access and authenticate usage of the Web service. The fact that Novell is going to be using its own products to try and enable Web services is really no surprise,” said Michael Hoch, a research director in the Internet infrastructure division at the Aberdeen Group Inc. in Boston.

He went on to blast the company’s ever-changing corporate strategy. “There’s nothing new here. They’ve been releasing strategy after strategy for the last four years and I’ve been waiting for them to have a more consistent strategy as opposed to changing every six months.”

Novell will be in tough against Web services rivals IBM Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. If there is a saving grace for the company, Hoch said it has a fairly solid user base but it will have difficulties in expanding its customer base beyond non-Novell customers who are “skeptical” of the vendor, he added.

Novell’s exteNd and Nsure products are available now. Novell Canada, in Markham, Ont., is online at