Oracle formally introduced its Internet Directory last week in a bid to create a computing environment to rival NT.
The vendor will sell the directory as an add-on to Oracle 8i, which will ship in March. Oracle claims 8i can be a file and Java application server, but said the addition of a directory server brings it further into competition with the forthcoming Windows 2000.
Oracle claimed a single Oracle Internet Directory could store up to 500 million entries and serve tens of thousands of simultaneous users. It will come in two versions - a hosting edition for ISPs and an enterprise edition for use in corporations, which will support security features such as secure sockets layer and X.509 digital certificates.
Jeremy Burton, vice president of server marketing at Oracle, said firms use up to 180 different directories, adding: 'We want to bring that down to a more manageable number, like three or four.'
The service appears to bring Oracle into direct competition with Novell.
The two vendors claimed their products would work together because they were both based on the lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) 3.
However, they did not explain how they intended to synchronise directories automatically, so users must be added separately to each directory.
Jon Oltsik, senior analyst at Forrester Research, said: 'The two vendors are building an Oracle environment. The directory server enhances this.'
But he warned that because 8i requires a database administrator to set up a directory, it was at a disadvantage to Novell Directory Services (NDS). He was sceptical about Oracle's claim that its Internet Directory and Novell's NDS were complementary rather than competitive. 'Oracle's directory doesn't even support all of Oracle's own products yet,' Olstik said.
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