From the book lists at Adware Report:

All information current as of 19:09:18 Pacific Time, Monday, 21 February 2005.

Understanding Directory Services (2nd Edition)

   by Doug Sheresh / Beth Sheresh / System Research Corporation Systems Research Corporation

    28 November, 2001


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Editorial description(s):

Book Description

Book Description

Understanding Directory Services clarifies the complex topic of directory services, starting with basic theory and archetypes, and then working its way up to the current directory service implementations. It describes the basic idea behind directory services, explaining the underlying conceptual models, design characteristics, and methods of managing distributed information.

The book begins with an overview of directory services and their core characteristics, highlighting critical aspects of directory information, distribution, and storage. The evolving nature of the information the directory contains, and the factors involved in organizing and managing it are discussed in detail, and then methods of information distribution and storage are examined at length.

After exploring the basics of directory service, the book progresses to in-depth chapters on each of the critical technologies being used to implement directory services:

* The X.500 standards are explained to help you understand the foundations of directory services and provide a basis for comparison of the other directory technologies.

* Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and its emerging role as a directory access standard is described in detail, with thorough explanations of models, naming, and operations.

*The Domain Name System (DNS) is examined from a directory service perspective, noting parallels in structures and operations.

This knowledge of directory services is then used to describe the design of X.500 and LDAP based directory service products, as well as NDS eDirectory and Active Directory, highlighting the architectural and operational implications of vendor's design decisions. This book:

* Explores X.500-based directory products (eTrust, DirX, Nexor), and highlights implementation approaches and capabilities.

* Describes the LDAP-based directory products (OpenLDAP, SecureWay, iPlanet), identifying similarities and differences between them.

* Explains NDS eDirectory describing the underlying directory architecture and its foundations in X.500, and its evolution from an NOS-based directory to a general purpose directory service.

* Examines how Active Directory integrates NT 4, LDAP, and DNS technologies into a directory service that leverages established Windows networks.

* Explores the information management issues that meta-directories (Siemens DirXmetahub, iPlanet meta-directory, Microsoft Meta-directory Services, Novell DirXML) are designed to address, and characteristics of different types of meta-directory solutions (as well as Radiant Logic's Radiant One virtual directory server).

* Identifies the design of XML-based directory markup languages that map directory schema, objects, and operations providing directory interoperability.

The final chapter is focused on helping you evaluate directory services in the context of your business and network environment. Information, business, and network control factors are identified, and key factors in directory service assessment are explained.

Understanding Directory Services is an excellent reference for directory service technologies that includes extensive references and a glossary containing 385 directory service terms. By explaining key directory technologies, and the integration of those technologies, this book provides the information you need to understand the design and operations involved in all directory services.

From the Back Cover

Understanding Directory Services is the most in-depth resource available on directory services theory, architecture, and design. It provides the conceptual framework and critical technical information for IT professionals who are using directory services in their networks or e-business s olutions.

The 1st edition of this book covered the underlying directory service technologies (X.500, LDAP, DNS), and integrated the information from a networking perspective with a special focus on eDirectory and Active Directory.

The 2nd Edition extends this coverage to the LDAP-based directories (such as iPlanet and SecureWay) and the X.500-based enterprise directory services (including eTrust, DirX, and Nexor), as well as the emerging meta-directory technologies and products which are crucial to the integration of the multiple directories in an enterprise networking environment.

By explaining the origins and technologies of directory services, and clarifying the integration of key directory technologies into network and e-commerce platforms, Understanding Directory Services gives you the information you need to understand the underlying design and operations involved in all directory services.

Reviews of the first edition

Warren E. Wyrostek -- MCP Magazine

...superb, comprehensive...highly recommend it to all network professionals...a must read for anyone wrestling with deploying a directory service...

Douglas Ludens --

...clearly organized and well written...a great book, I highly recommend it...essential to doing well with Windows 2000...

Reader review(s):

Second Edition is completely updated and excellent!, May 28, 2002
This second edition represents a major overhaul of the first edition, and addresses each of the issues cited in the previous review. The authors have done a remarkable job in this edition by clearly explaining the fundamentals of directory services in general and going into the details of specific implementations that have either a large installed base, are used by large corporations or both.

Highlights include complete and clear explanations of directory services at the conceptual level, how they fit into an enterprise-wide infrastructure, and how they have evolved as the foundation of identification and authentication, as well as a more pervasive security approach.

The early models, DNS and X.500, are given detailed treatment. Although DNS is not a feature rich directory service, it does qualify as a legitimate one and its inclusion is a nice touch. I liked the clear explanation of LDAP, which either is implemented in many organizations or is the basis for commercial products such as Novell's eDirectory.

Two commercial products that are covered in great detail are eDirectory and Microsoft's Active Directory. Since each author has extensive experience with, and certifications in, these products the material is credible and sets the book apart by giving a balanced view of two competing products without bias towards either.

Three other parts of this book are valuable:

(1) Discussion of metadirectory services - this section covers the basics and contains good (but brief) material about Siemen's DirXMetahub, Sun/Netscape's iPlanet metadirectory and Microsoft's metadirectory services, Novell's DirXML and Radiant Logic's RadiantOne VDS. While these products are in many ways niche players (except for the Microsoft and Novell offerings), the description of them indicates where metadirectory services are evolving.

(2) Directory mark-up languages - this section covers XML and offshoots that are specific to directory services, such as DMSL and Novell's DirXML. Given the fact that XML is a web services building block this section of the book is particularly valuable.

(3) Evaluating directory services - the complete, unbiased method for evaluating directory services that the authors provide reflect their objectivity as well as a sensible approach to ensure that both business and technical factors are taken into account.

If you are exploring directory services as an infrastructure component or need to understand them, this book provides the most objective and complete explanation of the fundamentals and key issues, as well as a survey of standards and products. It's up to date and easy to read.

Best intro book on dir services - Needs a major update, March 23, 2001
This book is for technical managers who are evaluating directory services, and enterprise architects who are designing the infrastructure component of an encompassing enterprise solution. Other audiences include: portal designers and developers who intend to employ directory-enabled identification and access, and IT security professionals who are designing enterprise-wide role-based access controls and application-independent security architectures.

In a nutshell (with apologies to O'Reilly & Associates) this book gives a balanced view of the major directory services solutions on the market. It starts with a high-level overview of directory services, how they can fit into an enterprise architecture, and the mechanics of directory services in general.

The first directory service discussed is the grandfather of them all: X.500. If you are evaluating directory services as an enterprise infrastructure component, carefully read this part because it will give a solid basis for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each approach that follows. This section of the book is suitable for "technically-challenged" managers, as are the introductions to each of the directory services discussed in the book.

X.500 is followed by a detailed description and technical discussion of each of the commercially available directory services. The descriptions and technical discussions follow a fixed format and structure, making comparison easy.

The directory services that this book coversare: LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol), DNS (domain naming system), Novell's NDS and Microsoft's Active Directory. It is interesting to note the order in which directory services are discussed. The authors start the book with open standards-based services (X.500, LDAP and DNS), followed by NDS, which is proprietary, but conforms to LDAP version 3. They save Active Directory, which is completely proprietary, for last. Also note that this book is written by what looks like a husband/wife team, one of whom holds Microsoft certifications and the other with Novell certifications. Both demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of directory services discussed in this book, and they have managed to give a completely unbiased view of the advantages and disadvantages of each service discussed.

The reason I gave it four stars is because it badly needs to be updated to reflect what is currently happening today. I took into account the fact that this book was published in December 1999. I also took into account the fairly long lead time between the time a book is written until it is published, and the fact that the information in this book probably reflects the market and state of technology as it was in early 1999. However, the publisher should realize that this book needs to go into a second edition if it is to remain authoritative and valuable.

Here are some examples of gaps:

(1) Novell's NDS now goes by the name "eDirectory" and has been strengthened by their DirXML product. eDirectory is LDAP version 3 compliant, and DirXML is also on its way to becoming an open standard via the DSML consortium (see below). DirXML integrates with eDirectory to monitor and report change events through an XML interface. This is an important management feature for enterprises.

(2) Another gap is Microsoft is not standing still either and is giving some signs of embracing open standards. Their SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)approach might open Active Directory, making it a safe choice that might actually go across platforms. I am not saying that it will happen - just saying that it is possible.

(3) Finally, I feel that this book should be updated to include DSML (Directory Services Extended Mark-up Language. This is an open, industry standard specification that is sponsored by some large players. DSML will provide a standard for querying the data in directories and allow cross-directory exchange of information about their data. The exchange mechanism in this standard is XML, making the extended directory services available to any Web application that supports the XML standard. This is obviously of interest to the target audience and needs to be addressed in a second edition.

Despite the gaps I found this book to be a valuable resource, and the best book available for learning about directory services technology. I applaud the authors for their unbiased treatment of the subject and hope that they will update this book with a second edition.

Excellent overview of Directory Services, March 31, 2000
This book provides more than a theoretical overview. The authors dig deeper and explain design ideas to implementation issues. The book is written for technical professionals and not "managers". (no offense)

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