Novell Inc. will use its exteNd and Nsure products as the foundation for building Web directory services applications, the company said this month.

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 products are designed to deliver an architecture for building J2EE and Web services applications.

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.

Novell recently added a new exteNd Composer Connector for its Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), based on the Directory Services Markup Language (DSML) Composer connect. This 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.

Novell will be in tough against Web services rivals IBM Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Hoch said Novell 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