UDDI Spec Needs What LDAP Has

You may think LDAP was yesterday's news, but the spotlight is hitting it again as vendors work to tie it to the UDDI standard.

You may think LDAP was yesterdays news, but the spotlight is hitting it again as vendors work to tie it to the UDDI standard. Developed in 2000 by Ariba Inc., IBM, Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp. and SAP AG, the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration specification describes Web-based services and the interface required so that businesses and business applications can interact across the Internet.

Much work is being done to tie LDAP to UDDI, especially since LDAPs strengths—which include maturity, reliability, scalability and security—are key attributes lacking in current Web services standards, experts say.

On the standards front, Novell Inc. issued a submission to the Internet Engineering Task Force aiming to formalize the role of LDAP in Web services by extending the schema of LDAP and outlining how to represent UDDI data in an LDAP directory. On the product front, Sun Microsystems Inc.s Sun Open Net Environment, or Sun ONE, Registry Server will allow IT managers to store UDDI repositories in an LDAP directory. Novell also has plans to deliver a UDDI server product as part of its next-generation eDirectory platform sometime next year, said Alan Nugent, Novells chief technology officer, in Cambridge, Mass.

"Theres not a whole lot of energy being focused on doing full-blown UDDI implementation today," Nugent said. "But UDDI will become a big factor as Web services grows."

Although few will argue that UDDI is the next big thing, not everyone sees LDAP as the key to UDDIs success.

Industry heavyweights such as IBM and Microsoft, for example, both have a major implementation of UDDI running on top of their respective relational databases. IBMs WebSphere UDDI Registry relies on the companys DB2 database, while Microsofts integration of a UDDI server into its .Net server software relies on SQL Server.

While LDAPs integration with UDDI will be important down the road, analysts say that, so far, it has been more important to vendors pushing agendas than to IT managers actually deploying internal UDDI registries.

"If an enterprise was very advanced on an internal implementation of Web services, it might be concerned about UDDI as a way to discover applications," said Dan Blum, an analyst with The Burton Group Corp., in Midvale, Utah. "But an enterprise thats building advanced Web services today is probably using so much custom technology that whether or not UDDI is part of an LDAP directory or a database is probably the least of their concerns."