At Fall Comdex on November 16, Novell announced a new set of packaging options for Novell Directory Services (NDS) called eDirectory and NDS Corporate Edition. The company also announced a partnership program to build applications using NDS. Novell plans to release NDS eDirectory to support high-volume Internet services, as well as directory-enabled enterprise applications such as policy-based management of network equipment. NDS eDirectory currently runs on Novell NetWare, Microsoft Windows NT, and Sun Microsystems Solaris. Novell plans to release versions of NDS eDirectory for Linux, Compaq Tru64, and Windows 2000 (Win2K) platforms during the first half of 2000. Novell has a very aggressive pricing and promotion policy for NDS eDirectory adoption that is meant to catch the eye of many senior IT managers. Thus, Novell began its push to position NDS as the best heterogeneous network directory service for network administrators. Novell's customers use NDS, which ships as part of NetWare, to manage more than 70 million seats. Along with earlier NetWare versions, Novell claims to have customers managing more than 100 million seats using NetWare. NDS eDirectory is a standalone, cross-platform Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory service. NDS Corporate Edition adds management tools for NDS eDirectory that simplify user account management in cross-platform environments. After Comdex, Novell announced that it will give away free 100-user copies of NDS to anyone who buys Win2K Server within 90 days of release or anyone who buys Solaris 7 before the end of January 2000. Novell hopes to capture the hearts and minds of many Windows administrators who want better heterogeneous network support and, presumably, a more stable and mature directory service. Novell officials told me that the strategy was to make Windows better. In case Win2K's Active Directory (AD) is difficult to deploy or unreliable, Novell is clearly positioning itself as the better alternative for best practices in a mixed network. Novell has been the direct beneficiary of Win2K's long delays. At the very least, Novell hopes that its strategy will forestall senior IT managers' desire to simplify their network infrastructure by replacing NetWare with Win2K. NDS uses DirXML to interoperate with AD, whereas with NT, NDS manages objects through redirection of security access requests. The eDirectory branding is meant to enforce the idea that on the Web, many networks are heterogeneous, and that until Microsoft expands the tools for using AD with a wider range of OSs, NetWare will have a significant advantage. “Until now, many of the Internet’s success stories have resulted from brand new companies building themselves in a ‘dot-com’ environment,” said Eric Schmidt, Novell’s CEO. “With NDS eDirectory, we are enabling the brick-and-mortar world of the established, trusted businesses to evolve into click-and-mortar organizations that thrive in this new economy. Profitable e-business is about finding and retaining loyal customers through customized, personal interactions that only directory-based solutions can effectively provide.” Although obtaining a demonstration of eDirectory on the showroom floor at Comdex was impossible, I learned that CNN.com, one of the Web’s five most visited Web sites, is running a beta of eDirectory. “CNN Web sites have served more than 5 billion page requests this year, and we are confident that NDS eDirectory will help make each user’s experience personal and secure,” said Monty Mullig, VP of CNN Internet Technologies. “NDS eDirectory allows us to tailor content and services to the individual preferences of our users and gives us the speed and performance necessary for our online offering.” CNN couples NDS with technology from an Oracle database for its personalization services. Information about NDS eDirectory and NDS Corporate Edition is available on Novell’s Web site. Developers and vendors interested in qualifying their NDS products for the new Novell “Directory Enabled” logo can visit Novell's developer Web site.