Microsoft Publishes Open Directory-Synchronization Interface

REDMOND, Wash., March 16, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it has published the specifications for a flexible LDAP-based control, called DirSync, for enabling synchronization of information between heterogeneous directories. Microsoft published the specification as a nonstandards-track Internet draft submission to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Microsoft is making specification freely available, without license, for use by anyone.

Companies currently use a combination of manual processes, scripting and meta-directory products to manage their directory landscape, which frequently includes multiple network operating system directories, e-mail address books and application-specific directory services. Microsoft designed the DirSync control to make it easier for developers to build synchronization products that lower the cost and complexity of multidirectory administration by capturing changes occurring within one directory service and propagating them to other directories automatically. For example, the synchronization services that Microsoft will provide between the Microsoft® Active Directory
™directory service of the Windows® 2000 operating system and Novell NDS are based on the Active Directory implementation of the DirSync control.

“Today, many directory services don’t make it easy to synchronize with other directory services, and this has hindered progress on broad directory interoperability,”
said Mike Nash, director of marketing for Windows NT Server and infrastructure products at Microsoft.
“Recognizing that customers want to greatly simplify directory management, Microsoft designed synchronization support into Active Directory from the beginning and is enabling directory vendors to freely use the DirSync control specification to enhance their products in a similar way.”

There is already considerable support for DirSync in the industry. For example, a number of leading providers of meta-directory and synchronization products have voiced their intention to use the DirSync control to integrate their products with Active Directory. These providers include ISOCOR, nCommand Inc., NetVision Inc. and ZOOMIT Corp.

“The ability to sense changes in information and react quickly to those changes is one of the major requirements of a meta-directory solution,”
said Paul Gigg, president and CEO of ISOCOR.
“Microsoft’s DirSync control enables ISOCOR’s MetaConnnect product to collect important change information quickly and reliably, and makes it possible to use Active Directory as the central repository for the enterprise.”

“Many directory services were not designed to support synchronization with other directories, and this translates to cost and complexity for both ISVs and customers,”
said Anand Bahl, president and CEO of ZOOMIT.
“DirSync makes it easier for ZOOMIT to use Active Directory as the foundation for our meta-directory products and deliver a simpler, more reliable product to customers.”

Change events occur any time an object is added, deleted or modified in a directory service and are required by synchronization facilities to propagate changes to other directory

services. Microsoft’s design of the DirSync control represents an advance in synchronization technologies for the following reasons:

  • It supports capturing changes at the attribute level, enabling developers to build high-performance connections between directories.

  • It is compatible with the design of most replicated directory services.

  • It allows efficient resynchronization after server failures.

  • It makes optimal use of existing investments in LDAP.

  • It is freely available for use by the development community.

“Directory integration, meta-directory style, is still difficult because directory products store and protect data in different ways and often do not have a mechanism for change notification,”
said Bruce Robertson, vice president, adaptive infrastructure strategies, Meta Group.
“Microsoft’s LDAP-based interoperability approach should simplify the otherwise laborious task of chasing what has changed, making synchronization more efficient.”

To view Microsoft’s submission to the IETF, visit .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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