LAS VEGAS, May 7, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. today announced a letter of intent in which Cisco will license Active Directory from Microsoft for use in managing network infrastructure and to provide richer network services. As part of this agreement, Cisco and Microsoft will jointly develop extensions to Active Directory to integrate advanced management of network elements and services. Products developed as a result of this agreement will make it possible for network managers to unify their network infrastructures and to accelerate the development of richer network services via Cisco IOS
software. It will also allow service providers to simplify service delivery and provide new sets of services for their customers.
Cisco chose Active Directory as a component of its foundation to give customers richer network services because it provides a comprehensive solution for both enterprise and Internet environments. Microsoft and Cisco are enhancing the Active Directory in the Microsoft® Windows NT® Server network operating system to provide support for advanced network services such as on-demand bandwidth management. To preserve customers’ current investments, Cisco will implement Active Directory on several UNIX-based platforms. This is the latest in a series of agreements between these two industry leaders, aimed at accelerating the development of next-generation, network-based applications, such as networked commerce and network services, that will form the basis of global networked businesses of the future.
“Cisco is the leading provider of network infrastructure products, forming the backbone of both enterprise networks and the global Internet,”
said Jim Allchin, senior vice president in the personal and business group at Microsoft.
“Microsoft is the leader in client and server operating systems. The need for a consistent directory across network infrastructure, clients and servers means that the directory service standard has now been set.”
In the past, directory services could not simultaneously meet all of the demanding needs of both Internet and enterprise customers. Microsoft and Cisco share the goal of enabling integrated management of servers and network services as well as a new generation of networked applications. Network services, applied consistently across both public and private networks, mean that users enjoy a full range of services no matter where they are – in the office, working at home or traveling on business. Active Directory offers the best of Internet standards such as LDAP, DNS, HTTP and X.500 and can be used to provide uniform network services for customers of all sizes as well as to tailor network services on a group or individual basis. It can also streamline administrative processes of all networked resources, thus lowering the total cost of ownership.
“Cisco’s vision to help customers build global networked businesses begins with network services delivered through Cisco IOS software,”
said Ed Kozel, senior vice president of Cisco Systems.
“We chose Active Directory because it is the only directory service that is flexible and scalable enough to address the demanding needs of the Internet and of the enterprise. This collaboration signals an important advance in extending network capabilities – using directory services to provide personalization – that is, per-user customization – of network services such as quality of service.”
Customers such as service providers, corporate network administrators and end users will benefit from this agreement. Windows NT Server and Cisco products are critical components in enabling service providers to deliver an increased spectrum of network services. The result of this agreement will be to give service providers the option of offering a customized pricing plan for the set of services that best meets customer needs. For example, service providers could offer a variety of network performance and bandwidth-availability to meet the specific needs and budgets of their customers. Enterprise customers will be able to implement a single set of network services from the desktop to the server and to the wide area network. With a unified set of desktop and network services, network managers will be able to manage the network based on corporate wide policy. Through the personalization of network services, it will be possible to build networked applications such as on-demand collaboration. These services enable network managers to offer user-specific access to network resources based on individual user requirements.
Windows NT Server 5.0 is scheduled to enter beta testing in 1997. Cisco products will take advantage of Windows NT Server with Active Directory when Windows NT Server 5.0 is released. Customers who acquire current versions of Windows NT Server and Cisco IOS products will be ideally positioned to take advantage of these new technologies when they become available.
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