Microsoft has bowed to user pressure and improved its directory services for Windows NT. The enhancements will be incorporated in NT Server 5, due to be launched next year.
The company gave about 3,500 delegates a preview of the next release at its server professional developers' conference in California last week.
Microsoft claimed NT 5's active directory will support more than 10 million objects per store. It is intended to help organisations grow NT environments from departmental to enterprise level without having to rejig their directories.
The ability to implement and manage easily a full-featured directory service has so far eluded Microsoft, despite including directory facilities in previous releases of NT. This problem is blamed for the market perception that NT lacks scalability.
Laurent Lachal, European software market service head of Ovum, said: 'NT is still seen as a toy because it does not have an easily managed directory. Microsoft is pushing NT as the operating system from the desktop to centralised systems, but it is still small fry. The question is not how big the directory service is, but how easy it is to manage from a central monitoring point of view. Novell is good at it with Novell Directory Service; NT doesn't compare.'
NT 5 will include a glut of Active Server technologies: distributed component object model, already available in NT 4; Active Server Pages, formerly called Denali; and Viper transaction technology code. Message queue facilities will also be included.
Active Directory integrates security systems based on Kerberos private key and X.509 public key technologies. Access is possible using Ldap, DNS and X.500 networks. Active Server Pages will be available in Microsoft's Web server, Internet Information Server 3, in the autumn. Transaction and message queue technologies will be delivered early next year.
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