The NZ Defence Force is to separate its shared data from applications to ensure consistency throughout the organisation.
NZDF's planned enterprise directory service will help make shared data available to more than one application, but held in a single copy so consistency is maintained. “We want to decouple the applications from the independent sources of data that they are currently accessing,” says Cdr Warwick Sullivan, deputy director command control information systems. “So we won’t have several versions of the same person’s name, for example, in data sources related to different applications.”
The directory is also expected to enable event-driven synchronisation among applications and their requests for data; so, for instance, if a new employee’s name is being set up from the human resources application, the directory will be triggered to bring Microsoft Exchange into action to provide the person with an email box. At the same time, a centralised directory will provide a place to set up consistent polices regarding authorisation and authentication of users.
NZDF already uses Microsoft’s Active Directory in a network operating system context, and clearly Active Directory will be one of the contenders for the enterprise directory role, says Sullivan. “We will use [the enterprise directory] as the basis for our public key infrastructure, which will be the precursor to all sorts of e-government and possibly e-commerce applications,” he says.
A request for information was issued earlier this month with a closing date of March 15 for initial registration of interest.
NZDF expects to have an initial directory in place, communicating at least with its human resources and SAP systems by the end of the financial year on June 30.