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Red Hat Debuts Directory Servers

New technology lets Linux vendor move beyond the basic operating-system level to offer a more-complete platform
Red Hat Inc. last week followed through on last year's acquisition of directory-server software from America Online's former Netscape Security Solutions unit with the unveiling of its Red Hat Directory and Fedora Directory servers. Both open-source technologies are licensed under the General Public License and deliver integrated directory services that Red Hat Enterprise Linux customers previously had to acquire from third parties.

The move to add directory services to its product lineup signifies that Red Hat recognizes that security and identity-management are important threads that run through any system. "From a security standpoint, a lot of the attention has gone beyond providing the basic directory to capabilities such as provisioning across multiple systems and offering unified sign-on to multiple applications," Forrester Research analyst Jonathan Penn says.

By the end of the month, the company will offer the Red Hat Directory Server packaged with versions 3 and 4 of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. The company also is making the directory server available to run with the HP-UX 11i and Sun Solaris Unix operating systems. Red Hat offers paid support for each release of Red Hat Directory Server for five years and provides access to updates and upgrades via the Red Hat Network.

Fedora Directory Server, which is available now, follows more of a grassroots path, with Red Hat likewise making the technology available for free via the Web, but relying on the open-source community itself to provide additional development and support. Both directory servers are compliant with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol and are designed to centralize application settings, user profiles, group data, policies, and access-control information in a network-based directory.

Beyond basic directory features, the new technology lets Red Hat deliver even more services and move well beyond the basic operating-system level, Penn says. "That's what it's all about--being able to offer the entire platform and not just the OS," he says. "This also positions Red Hat to better integrate with technology such as identity-management software."