Oracle Corp. made a major play in the directory services game with the launch of its Oracle Internet Directory (OID) and the announcement of an extended partnership with Novell Inc.

OID comes in two flavors — an Enterprise Edition and a Hosting Edition — and can handle as many as 500,000 entries and tens of thousands of simultaneous users, according to Jeremy Burton, vice president of server marketing at Oracle.

OID is built on the Oracle8i database, supports the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) Version 3 standard, and offers users a single point of entry into network resources, applications, and data, Oracle said.

The Hosting Edition of OID is targeted at ISPs and telecommunications providers, which can use the directory primarily for controlling access. The Enterprise Edition is for enterprise corporate users, for functions such as administering e-mail address books.

Both versions are targeted at large businesses and prove that directories function as more than just tools for managing file and print servers and LANs, according to one analyst.

“It shows that we’re moving toward directories for business, not directories for management,” said Rick Villars, director of network software at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass.

Oracle also announced the integration of the Oracle8i database into Novell Directory Services (NDS) and interoperability between OID ( and NDS.