Gates uses Innovate '99 to demo Active Directory

The battle for the hearts and minds of IT managers looking to adopt directory technology was in full swing at Compaq Computer's Innovate Forum '99 conference when Bill Gates publicly demonstrated Microsoft's highly anticipated Active Directory for Windows 2000.

In the closing keynote address at the Compaq user's conference here, Gates trumpeted the capabilities and importance of Microsoft's forthcoming directory services only hours after Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Novell, stated his goal of defining a whole new architecture via Novell Directory Services (NDS).

After plugging his new book and stressing the growth potential of the Internet marketplace, Gates demonstrated a few of the rudimentary capabilities of Active Directory in the Beta 3 version of Windows 2000. The demo included Active Directory Connector Manager, which showed automation replication between the Active Directory and Exchange and is designed to wean IT managers off using Exchange's directory.

In addition, the demo showed Directory Synchronization Manager, which synchronised between Active Directory and NDS. "The point is that ripping and replacing won't be necessary," said Doug Groncki, product manager at Microsoft.

Also shown was the Group Policy feature by which IT managers can limit user access and application repair capabilities across the network.

Smarter computers

After the demonstration, Gates wrapped up by stressing the importance of making computers smarter.

"The ultimate is taking the computer from being such a dumb device and teaching it to see, listen, and learn," said Gates, referring to voice recognition and videoconferencing. "All of these things will be part of the operating system, because you don't want to have each application vendor do it separately."

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