"We can take the technology that previously was dependent upon IP and now configure it by a user's identity. So we move from the physical to the logical, and the logical is more consistent and more flexible," Simpson says.
Some other major NDS partners are Oracle, IBM, Tivoli, Texas Instruments (TI), Dell, Compaq, AT&T and other international telecommunications companies.
Cabletron has agreed to integrate its Spectrum management services with NDS, although no shipping date has been set.
IBM will integrate NDS with its Websphere Web server, Oracle will tie in certain databases and Tivoli will work with NDS for software distribution.
Earlier this year, TI announced it will create a software developer's kit to integrate the firm's digital signal processors with NDS. That could mean NDS management of all kinds of portable devices, from cellular phones to handheld computers. Novell's Simpson says 80% of all digital devices shipped in the U.S. last year came from TI and that TI has more than 45% of the global market as well.
Similarly, Oblix is developing software that can use NDS as a general-purpose directory, not just something specific to networking.
"The biggest win for Novell users is that the infrastructure they've deployed over a long period of time can be leveraged in new ways for apps that are more than just network applications," says Ron Palmeri, vice president of business development at Oblix.
One application, Corporate Services Automation, lets you publish information in the directorry to manage directory content for users on intranets and extranets. The lastest Version 3.6, which is NDS-enabled, is in beta and will ship in the third quarter.