Cisco, Microsoft Launch Industrywide Initiative For Directory-Enabled Networks

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 23, 1997 — Today at the Microsoft® Professional Developers Conference, Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced an industrywide initiative to integrate directory services and networks, enabling the development of rich network applications that will work with offerings from a variety of network and directory vendors. This is the latest in a series of agreements between the two industry leaders, aimed at accelerating the deployment of next-generation, network-based applications.

Last May, Microsoft and Cisco announced an agreement to use Active Directory as the infrastructure to manage network services. The draft specification for directory-enabled networksenabling the management of networks through the use of directories will extend the scope of thisthe existing Cisco and Microsoft directory services initiative to all network equipment vendors, directory services vendors, Internet service providers (ISPs) and independent software vendors (ISVs). This initiative is supported by more than 20 companies, including 3Com Corp., Ariel Corp., Ascend Communications Inc., Berkeley Networks, Cabletron Systems Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., CompuServe Network Services, Comtrol Corp., ConXion, Digex Inc., Digi International, East Coast Internet, Eicon Technology Inc., Digital Equipment Corp., ECI Telematics, Fore Systems Inc., GridNet International, Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp., MSN
, The Microsoft Network, Net Access, New Oak Communications Inc., Packet Engines Inc., RAScom Inc., South Carolina SuperNet and SwitchSoftBack Systems Inc.

“The real power in computing lies in harnessing the power of the network,” said Ed Kozel, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Cisco. “This initiative is the critical link in delivering next-generation intelligent networks and applications. Cisco and Microsoft share a common vision of unleashing the potential of the network by jointly developing open technologies that embrace the best ideas the industry has to offer and that protect customers’ investments.”

As a result of thethe announcement last May, Microsoft and Cisco and Microsoft have jointly developed extensions to Active Directory to providea draft specification and reference implementation to provide advanced management of network elements and services services for the Windows NT® Server network operating system version 5.0. This week, Microsoft and Cisco and Microsoft demonstrated the ability to provide advanced network services on a per-user basis through Active Directory in the Windows NT® Server network operating system version 5.0 and a Cisco Powered Network
on a per-user basis.

The draft directory-enabled networks specification for unifying networks through the use of directories is the first to integrate user profiles, applications and network services. This integration is achieved by providing a standard schema for storing network state and an extensible information model for exposing network information., This work which compleiments the Desktop Management Taskforce (DMTF)-sponsored Common Information Model (CIM) specification and uses LDAP as the core access protocol. Such integration delivers optimum bandwidth utilization, policy-based management, lower total cost of ownership, and a single point of administration of all network resources. , and Iit also enhances the services that end users can rely on, regardless of their physical location. Active Directory in Windows NT Server 5.0 will be the first directory services to include support for this initiative, and Cisco Systems is the first networking vendor to provide a reference implementation, incorporating its network devices and the Cisco IOS
network services. Together, these efforts provide developers with a platform to begin developing a new class of intelligent networked applications immediately.

“This is a huge win for customers. For the first time, they will be able to benefit from a unified network model for integrating users, applications and network services,” said Jim Allchin, senior vice president, personal and business systems group at Microsoft. “This initiative draft specification will spur the development of a new generation of networkedpowerful applications that will offer users a full range of services no matter where they are – in the office, working at home, or traveling on businesssimplify the management of networks and give users personalized services.”

As part of the initiative, the companies released the draft specification to enable the development of personalized network services on a per-user and per-application basis. Cisco and Microsoft are working with other companies to develop this specification further and plan to host a design preview in the fourth quarter of 1997 as part of an open design review process, the results of which will be submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for publication.

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