December 11, 2002 12:45 PM PST

Novell upgrades Web services tool

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Novell on Wednesday upgraded its directory server with the ability to authenticate the identity of people trying to access Web services applications on a network.

The directory server, which is based on Novell's e-directory product line, is compatible with the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) standard. UDDI servers act as a look-up service. For example, when an application tries to connect to a Web service that generates a purchase order, a UDDI server indicates where on the network the Web service can be reached.

Web services is the name given to many Web-based standards and protocols designed to let companies connect disparate applications and share data, either among their own units or with outside partners and suppliers.

Novell's Nsure UDDI server is designed to let businesses register their Web services in a directory and to provide a layer of security and management. Network administrators can configure the directory so that it requires people trying to access a Web service to verify their identities with a password.

With its Nsure product, Novell is trying to take advantage of its traditional strength in networking and, specifically, in directories, to step further into the Web services market. Novell deepened its commitment to Web services and application developers in June, when it bought application server and tools company SilverStream Software for $212 million.

The company said its Nsure product adds an aspect of security to UDDI that is lacking in Web services today.

"Businesses don't need to sacrifice the cost savings and simplicity of Web services in order to maintain tight control over access to a company's resources," said Angie Anderson, Novell's vice president of identity services, in a statement.

Although the UDDI standard was one of the first XML-based Web services standards to be established, usage of UDDI servers has not caught on as quickly as the use of other Web services standards, notably XML (Extensible Markup Language), SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and WSDL (Web Services Definition Language). The reason for the lag in adoption, experts say, is that there has not been a strong demand for a Web services location service and commercial products have been slow to appear.

When the UDDI specification was drawn up, the assumption was that most Web services would function over the Internet, but many early Web services applications have been internal. One company that sells a UDDI server, Systinet, has designed its product specifically for use within corporate networks.

"UDDI was started as a public registry, like the next Google for Web services, but people don't look at it that way today," said Charlie Ungashick, senior director of product marketing at Systinet. "Now we're seeing different departments within a company looking for a way to expose their Web services to other parts of the enterprise."

Systinet sells a Web services run-time server and tools that help bridge disparate operating environments, including .Net and Java-based development models. As part of an upgrade to its Web Applications and Services Platform (WASP) that the company released Tuesday, Systinet upgraded its UDDI server with the ability to "forward" the location of Web services when they are physically moved to another location.

 

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