Latest Release of Microsoft Metadirectory Services Eases Deployment of Active Directory

REDMOND, Wash., July 26, 2000 — Momentum for Windows 2000 Active Directory remains strong, as reflected both in the number of Windows 2000 copies sold since launch as well as the number of certified applications developed for Windows 2000 that leverage Active Directory. Microsoft has exceeded its targets on several fronts. In addition, today marks the availability of Microsoft Metadirectory Services 2.2, a powerful tool that makes it easier for enterprise customers to manage multiple directories in a heterogeneous directory environment and has the added benefit of simplifying the deployment of Active Directory.

According to Shanen Boettcher, lead product manager for Windows 2000 Server, the number of copies of Windows 2000 sold since the product’s February launch exceeded 3 million by the end of June, more than Microsoft was expecting by that time. Furthermore, over 110 certified applications have been developed and various PC manufacturers, including Sony, NEC, Gateway, IBM and Hewlett-Packard, have reinforced their commitment to the platform by recently offering new Windows 2000 pre-loaded systems that enable users to take full advantage of the platform’s functionality.

“We are seeing continuing momentum as customers realize the benefits of Windows 2000,” Boettcher said.”
In particular, with Active Directory, customers are realizing the benefits of centralized management, strengthened enterprise security and extended interoperability. In addition, our partners and the OEMs are doing a great job out there as well, which helps momentum in terms of offering products and services that leverage and support Windows 2000.

Simplified Network Management Boosts Demand for Active Directory

According to Boettcher, large- and small-business customers are turning to Active Directory because it provides benefits in several essential areas. Active Directory simplifies network management by providing a single, consistent point of management for users, applications and devices. Network security is strengthened through security management from a central location. Active Directory also extends interoperability and synchronization support to existing directory services as well as to third party certified applications.

One customer, Shell Services International, the primary IT services provider for the Royal Dutch/Shell Group worldwide, recently finished its initial Active Directory pilot. Based on strong results from the pilot, the company is beginning to deploy Active Directory with a rollout of 80,000 seats expected by the fourth quarter of this year. “One of our goals at Shell was to provide a single a point of administration and management for our network,
“said Markus Schladt, chief architect of Shell Services International.”
We chose Active Directory because it provides the sound foundation for us to do this.”

Telus, a telecommunications company based in Western Canada, has migrated more than 14,000 users to Windows 2000 Active Directory while simultaneously deploying over 5,000 desktops with Windows 2000 Professional.
“For us, the key influencers behind our decision to deploy Windows 2000 were reliability and manageability,”
said Arthur Tymos, vice president and chief information officer of Burnaby BC-based Telus.
“Our entire business depends on systems that are up-and-running, and Windows 2000 simply provides the degree of consistent dependability that we demand.”

Other customers include the Toronto District School Board, which has launched a project to scale the district’s directory to serve 600 schools in the Toronto metropolitan area, with over 300,000 students, 25,000 staff and 50,000 Intel- and Apple-based computers.

Numbers High for Active Directory Applications Development and Training

Over 110 third-party applications have already been rigorously reviewed and certified via the Microsoft
“Certified for Windows”
program. In addition, another 300 applications are currently undergoing the process. Rolled out last year, the program establishes a demanding and unprecedented set of technical standards for developers, termed the Application Specification for Windows 2000, which includes guidelines on integration with Active Directory to simplify management. Applications that pass the program receive the
“Certified for Windows”
logo from Microsoft. For example, CenterBeam, an IT solutions provider for small businesses, has recently developed a leading-edge ASP solution based on Active Directory and Windows 2000.

Demand for Windows 2000 Active Directory is also demonstrated by high demand for training programs. To date, over a quarter of a million Microsoft customers and partners worldwide have been trained on Windows 2000 via Microsoft’s $40 million training initiative. This figure exceeds the original, overall training goal by more than two-thirds. To meet the high demand for trained professionals, Microsoft is offering additional summer sessions covering Windows 2000 Active Directory.

New Microsoft Metadirectory Services 2.2 Tightly Integrated with Active Directory

Today’s availability of Microsoft Metadirectory Services 2.2 (MMS) extends the network management capabilities of Active Directory across multiple kinds of directories.
“If you have an Active Directory infrastructure and you want to get email addresses or phone numbers from your Lotus Notes directory into Active Directory, this is the product that does that for you,”
said Jackson Shaw, product manager for Microsoft Metadirectory Services. MMS 2.2 also makes deployment of Active Directory much simpler for customers that have information about employees, customers and partners in multiple directories, thanks to a new feature that enables real-time synchronization of directory information into Active Directory.

The new MMS 2.2 is tightly integrated with Active Directory, said Shaw, allowing for near real-time synchronization between otherwise incompatible directories as well as other functional improvements.
“This version of MMS is more in tune with enterprise customers who are using Active Directory,”
he said.
“The synchronization detects changes much more quickly and moves those changes out much faster than previously.”
The Active Directory Management Agent is one of the key additions to MMS 2.2, providing both full discovery and delta-based discovery of Active Directory object classes and attribute types.

Another advantage of MMS 2.2 for enterprise customers is improved directory-enabled provisioning, whereby administrators can set up rules to govern synchronization and trigger sets of events. For instance, an administrator might create a record in the Human Resources directory when an employee is hired. The Metadirectory can then
“notice”
that a new person has been hired and do automatic provisioning of services for that person — assigning them an email address, a NOS account and other resources that until now have been manually provided by administrators.

Superior Synchronization Across Multiple Directories

ICL, one of Europe’s leading e-Business services companies, with more than 21,000 employees in over 40 countries, is using MMS to centrally manage over 80 otherwise separate directories, including a personnel directory on SQL Server, an X.500 directory, a contractor directory on Oracle, and a directory linked to the Mitel telephone directory system.
“The management of so many directories would be very difficult to do in any other form,”
said Wayne Alston, Technical Design Authority for ICL.
“You need an automatic mechanism for doing it that can handle error recovery, which MMS is extremely good at.”

The synchronization abilities of MMS provide powerful enterprise-level organizational tools for ICL.
“When someone gets added to the personnel directory as a record, they also have an Exchange account added,”
Alston said.
“Using MMS, we join those accounts together using the personnel number as the joining key. That gives me the ability to generate distribution lists that are based on organizational structure.”

ICL also uses a Web interface that allows users, and not only administrators, to change some of their personnel details.
“Using MMS, employees can go to the Web and change certain information about their job title and so on. That information gets automatically rolled out to the Metadirectory without the administrator having to make these very small changes himself,”
Alston said. ICL also uses MMS to take changes made in the telephone directory and automatically update records in other directories, saving a lot of time for administrators.

MMS 2.2 Simplifies Active Directory Deployment Via Automatic Synchronization

The new release of MMS 2.2 provides an important bonus for ICL: simplifying deployment of Windows 2000 by enabling automatic synchronization from Microsoft Windows NT4 into Active Directory. ICL, which primarily uses Windows NT4, recently completed a Windows 2000 pilot and is beginning to roll out Active Directory throughout the enterprise.

“One reason we’ve moved from MMS 2.1 to MMS 2.2 is because of the new Active Directory Connector,”
Alston said.
“This will allow us to take our Windows NT4 information from our Exchange systems and other accounts and transfer portions of the Metadirectory information directly into the Active Directory on Windows 2000. It’s going to make life a lot easier for us to transfer our Windows NT4 environment into the Windows 2000 environment.”

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