Saturday, January 28, 2006
Raise your right hand. No, the other right hand.Novell's Susan Morton (she does PR for their identity products line) recently took a stab at placing Novell at the "top of the heap." As part of her evidence she offers two arguments which, while truthful, don't quite hold up to a test of "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth." (of course, PR never does take that oath!).
She says: "The fact is Novell helped create the identity management market." Quite true. Back in the late 90's the only two companies offering provisioning services, for example, (Oblix and Business Layers) both based their offering on Novell's directory. But (as they have with most of their technology) Novell squandered this early lead and watched as Sun, IBM and even Microsoft passed them by in the marketplace.
Then Susan goes on to add: "Simply put, Novell has offered the best directory technology -- now known as eDirectory -- since 1993." I'll agree it's the best LDAP-style directory technology. But that ignores the more robust SQL-style directories (IBM, CA, Oracle, etc.) as well as the more agile virtual directory systems (Radiant Logic, Symlabs, MaXware and OctetString - now Oracle).
Also note that while Novell created the LDAP-style directory and first shipped it in 1993, it was 5 years before 3rd parties discovered ways to leverage it, to add value to the directory with provisioning services and thus gave birth to Identity technology.
Novell's on-again/off-again relationship with it's own virtual engine (DirXML) and provisioning product (Zero Day Start) are as much to blame for its current position near the bottom of the IdM market as anything else. The company has recently started to move back to a position of prominence, but history teaches that they won't stay the course. Only time will tell.
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