Active Directory in spotlight 10 years ago

* Four of eight companies mentioned in AD discussions in 1999 still exist independently

In this issue I'd like to take a look back 10 years -- to the October 1999 issues of this newsletter's predecessor, Network World Fusion Focus on Directory Services. The majority of those issues were concerned with the upcoming release of Active Directory as part of Windows Server 2000, but to me, the interesting thing is to look at the companies that were mentioned.

Eight companies were mentioned in October 1999 newsletters. Four still exist independently (well, at least three do -- more in a minute). Four were subsequently acquired (one has gone through two acquisitions), two by the same company.

Microsoft, of course, featured prominently in any discussion of Active Directory. It's still in business, last I looked.

Novell was also mentioned more than once as Active Directory was compared with eDirectory (called Novell Directory Services at that time). Many feel that Novell was actually acquired by Cambridge Technology Partners (see "Pondering Novell's future") in 2001.

Also still around are Omnibond Service, whose original application, AuthServ, had won a prize at NetWorld+Interop. This was a precursor to the types of applications offered by the likes of Centrify today -- it allowed other platforms (such as Unix) to utilize Novell Directory Service (NDS) as a username/password store thus strengthening authentication for thodse platforms. The company is still at work integrating Novell identity solutions into other platforms.

The last company still independent is Hi/fn.. It's a hardware company, but its specialty is hardened, secure hardware. Ten years ago I was touting it for offering an easy to understand primer for PKI (wish we still had it.).

One of the companies I mentioned, ISOCOR, was in the process of being acquired when I wrote about them. Critical Path  was negotiating the purchase in October 1999. ISOCOR was interesting to me for their metadirectory product. That newsletter included this prescient quote from Network World columnist Dan Blum (an analyst with The Burton Group): "The need for enterprise directory integration has escalated. ISOCOR's MetaConnect allows companies to enhance a directory of their choice and offers 'true' join capabilities." I'd say he got that need right.

Entevo, very active in migration to Active Directory as well as a provider of management tools for it, was acquired by Bindview in 2000, then passed on to Symantec in 2005 when it acquired Bindview.

Also ending under the Symantec roof (in 2000) was AXENT Technologies. Their Enterprise Security Manager (ESM) product had won a prize (for NDS-enabled software) announced at NetWorld+Interop. ESM is still offered by Symantec -- it's now up to version 6.5.

Last, but not least, is SAFLINK, which was acquired by IdentiPHI in 2008 and subsequently acquired by Imprivata, just last spring. What I was talking about 10 years ago was the release of SAF2000 Enterprise Security Suite, which could be used to integrate multiple biometrics with smart cards, public-key infrastructure (PKI) and widely deployed directory services, such as  NDS and Microsoft Active Directory (AD). And, 10 years later, we're still trying to do that.

Learn more about this topic

Novell's SLED 11 to ship with Active Directory gateway technology

Linu, Unix devices benefit from a unified Actived Directory

Introduction to Active Directory Domain Services


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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