I was going to tell you about a free Active Directory (AD) management tool from NetPro after my briefing with the company early last week, but I had an appointment in southern Utah first. When I came back, NetPro had been acquired by competitor Quest Software.  Now their management teams are engaged in “product rationalization” meetings trying to determine which NetPro products will ride off into the sunset and which will gain a new name. Quest loves free tools, so it’s possible the free NetPro tool will survive. We’ll know after October 15 what product lives and what product dies.

 

Before the news of the acquisition broke, I had scheduled a briefing with Quest Software to discuss its rebundling of some of its security solutions into Quest One Identity Solution. Ironically, that rebundling was due in part to confusion (even in-house at Quest) about product names, as earlier acquisitions’ products kept their original names, such as Vintela products, for example. Bill Evans and Jackson Shaw of Quest Software spoke about Quest One Identity and about the NetPro acquisition. Shaw is Quest’s Active Directory management product guru and Evans is the Windows solution manager and all-around identity management go-to guy.

 

The acquisition: Bill Evans: “We intend to keep DEC (NetPro’s Directory Experts Conference, recently renamed by NetPro as ‘The Experts Conference’) alive.”

 

Quest One Identity Solution: Bill Evans: “Quest One Identity Solution is predicated on Active Directory as the identity store and is why it’s unique. It has broad offerings—two-factor authentication, provisioning, granular control over authorization, role-based administration—and is structured as seven projects.”

 

The acquisition: Jackson Shaw: “We’re trying to address who has the best product. We’ve been told by our business unit leader to keep the customer first in our talks. There are a ton of vendors in this arena. I suspect a lot of guys in this arena went home and had a cocktail celebrating this acquisition.”

 

Speaking of “a lot of guys in this arena,” you might have gotten an email, as I did, from Ensim, another vendor in the AD space. Jumping into the stew stirred up by Quest, Ensim announced “a competitive upgrade promotion of its Ensim Unify Enterprise Edition for Quest, NetPro, and NetIQ users.” Its competitors’ customers, which Ensim hopes are perhaps feeling a bit uncertain about the future of certain NetPro products, can jump ship to Ensim’s user provisioning and access control software, Ensim Unify Enterprise, at what the company says is a “substantial” discount.  The promotion begins immediately (surprise!) and will run through December 31, 2008.

 

The upgrade promotion: Ensim representatives explained the company’s complex strategy this week: “We’re wanting to displace competitors.” Two of those competitors, they said, were getting into a feature war: Quest and NetPro “are focused purely on AD. We do that but we also help you with Exchange and our SDK can extend out across the enterprise on a single platform. Generally, when a company’s acquired, the company being acquired will be end-of-lifed. Being pushed to a new platform gives customers a chance to re-examine where they are.”

 

Will you mourn NetPro’s passing? Will any of this matter in a few weeks or a year?

 

To learn more about Quest One Identity Solution, see http://www.quest.com/identity-management. To learn more about NetPro product status, see the web page at http://www.netpro.com/quest/customerFAQ. To learn more about Ensim’s upgrade promotion, see http://ensim.com.