When Microsoft releases Beta 2 of Windows NT 5.0 this June, of the new operating system's most eagerly awaited features is going to finally be ready. Active Directory, the next-generation replacement for its now-antiquated domain system used in Windows NT 4.0, has been finalized by Microsoft and the company plans on including a one-way synchronization tool that will link it to Novell Directory Services (NDS), a competing directory services tool. Links to Netscape's directory services are going to be included as well.

"Ultimately, people are going to want a single directory infrastructure, but we know that's not going to happen immediately," said Tanya van Dam, group product manager for Windows NT Server. "We wanted to do the work to synchronize with NDS since NDS has the biggest installed base."

Meanwhile, Cisco Systems is working to port Active Directory to Sun Solaris and Hewlett Packard HP-UX, two popular UNIX brands