I spent last week at the Directory Experts Conference (put on by NetPro) where everyone who has anything to do with Active Directory should be. As usual, Microsoft Director of Program Management for Identity and Access Stuart Kwan delivered the keynote, in this case a roadmap for Active Directory (which I'll discuss in more detail in this week's Identity Management newsletter). But the big surprise was the return of Peter Houston to the Active Directory fold at Microsoft.Houston, now Microsoft's senior director for Identity and Access Management, headed up the Active Directory program as both Active Directory product manager and, later, group program manager for Active Directory in the engineering group. In the run-up to the release of Windows 2000, he was the one who had to both keep convincing Microsoft that doing the directory was a "good thing" at the same time he needed to convince customers that it was something they'd come to rely on. I last mentioned Houston in the Identity Management newsletter (then called the Directory Services newsletter) back in September 2000. Interestingly, that newsletter talked about Houston "debating" with Novell's Ed Anderson about directory technology. Anderson also now works for Microsoft!Houston went on to work on other projects for Microsoft, but now he's back in the middle of the directory and the company's identity strategy.While Houston is driving new development of Active Directory for the upcoming Longhorn release of Windows Server, he's also spending a lot of time visiting with and listening to customers to find out what they want the directory to do. He'll also be finding out what their needs are which might be satisfied by changes to the directory, new functionality in the directory or new services and applications that leverage the directory. Don't be surprised if he comes knocking on your door in the near future.