History of AD...

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  • Last Post 08 August 2008
Johnchristie11 posted this 06 August 2008

My colleague has made the following statements:

* Novell directory services was previously called Novell Active Directory
* Microsoft licensed/purchased a cut down version of Novell Directory
Services and then developed it.

As far as I'm aware, Novell eDirectory has only ever been marketed as Novell
NDS. He's not the type to do windups so does anyone have any knowledge which
can confirm or deny his claims?

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darren posted this 06 August 2008

Wow, that is a new one on me. I would have to say false on both counts, but
I suppose only someone with history at MS can truly confirm it. I've
personally not heard either of those and have worked with both for a long
time. Wait, is it April 1st???



Darren

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AFidel posted this 06 August 2008

I'm calling BS on this based on the fact that AD is based on the JET Blue
engine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExtensibleStorageEngine) whereas
NDS was based on Recman which was tied tightly to the Novell operating
system. While Novell did eventually decouple the code to use the FLAIM DB
engine it wasn't until much later. The only real similarity between NDS
and AD is that they are both x.500 LDAP compatible directories, the
replication topologies are very different along with the previously noted
differences in database stores.

Andrew



"John Christie" <johnchristie11@googlemail.com>
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[ActiveDir] History of AD...







My colleague has made the following statements:

* Novell directory services was previously called Novell Active Directory
* Microsoft licensed/purchased a cut down version of Novell Directory
Services and then developed it.

As far as I'm aware, Novell eDirectory has only ever been marketed as
Novell NDS. He's not the type to do windups so does anyone have any
knowledge which can confirm or deny his claims?




gabriel/tfi posted this 06 August 2008

What I heard about AD History is that Jim Allchin who was formerly an
architect of the Banyan Vines OS and StreetTalk Directory Service joined
Microsoft around 1990 and played a fundamental role in the Cairo project
which developed, among many other things, the X500 foundation for Active
Directory.

So I may assume AD might come - in a certain way from - StreetTalk as I was
also said that Microsoft closely partnered with Banyan whose engineers
played a fundamental role in building some AD parts.

But this is the first time I heard AD comes from NDS!!!



Gabriele

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tkern posted this 06 August 2008

AD history=exchange 5.5

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ajax posted this 06 August 2008

I know one of the Lead Development Managers of the AD well since he lives locally. I'll ask him about more details as there is some more background there.

Martin

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michael1 posted this 06 August 2008

All very interesting interpretations of an LDAP directory service which
started with a “minor” little application known as Exchange Server.



Regards,



Michael B. Smith

MCITP:SA,EMA/MCSE/Exchange MVP

http://TheEssentialExchange.com

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efleisexchangemicrosoftcom posted this 07 August 2008

Replying to the thread again as there is probably someone that can help tell the tale of how AD started...he can tell it from the perspective of someone who was there....

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listmail posted this 07 August 2008

Oh that gave me a pretty good chuckle.

eDirectory if I recall was released in November 99 which was about the time
Windows 2000 went RTM (I recall that being Dec 99 and RC3 was Nov 99, Beta
started sometime in 1997).

Having spent hundreds of hours looking around the Windows Source code,
specifically the AD Source I can say I have yet to have seen a single Novell
reference for anything in any of the core areas of the DS other than maybe a
mention in a comment to not futz with something because it could impact
Netware.

The closest that can claim parentage over AD would be Exchange and I think
even that is a bit of a stretch as from what I have heard, things were
substantially changed to make it work properly as a solid generic LDAP
directory service.

joe

--
O'Reilly Active Directory Third Edition -
http://www.joeware.net/win/ad3e.htm



_

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neilruston posted this 07 August 2008

eDir is the latest version of what was named NDS. NDS hit the streets in
1993, when Netware 4 was released.



Before that, Novell installed a SAM equivalent on each Netware server
(called a Bindery), all of which were isolated from each other.



Novell may have re-badged their product when w2k/AD was shipped, but in
truth, they had a fully fledged directory product years previous anyway.



I think the last place you'll find MS 'acquiring' code, is from Novell
:-) [go read the bashing both vendors performed back in 99/00 and you'll
realise there was no love lost!]





neil

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tonyszko posted this 07 August 2008

joe wrote:
> Oh that gave me a pretty good chuckle.
>
> eDirectory if I recall was released in November 99 which was about the
> time Windows 2000 went RTM (I recall that being Dec 99 and RC3 was Nov
> 99, Beta started sometime in 1997).
>
> Having spent hundreds of hours looking around the Windows Source code,
> specifically the AD Source I can say I have yet to have seen a single
> Novell reference for anything in any of the core areas of the DS other
> than maybe a mention in a comment to not futz with something because it
> could impact Netware.
>
> The closest that can claim parentage over AD would be Exchange and I
> think even that is a bit of a stretch as from what I have heard, things
> were substantially changed to make it work properly as a solid generic
> LDAP directory service.

Beside exchange I wonder if anything from Site Server or parts of MCIS
has also influenced AD :). At the end site server delivered LDAP directory.

--
Tomasz Onyszko
http://www.w2k.pl/ - (PL)
http://blogs.dirteam.com/blogs/tomek/ - (EN)

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DonH posted this 07 August 2008

Thanks for tipping me off to this thread, Eric. I'll see if I can clear up
the pre-history.

The oldest traceable part of AD started life at 3Com in 1988 or 1989. This
was an (incomplete!) X.500-ish directory with custom communication
protocols, built on top of a C-Tree database, running under 16-bit OS/2. By
1990 3Com had abandoned its network software efforts and the directory code
moved to Microsoft as part of some complicated deal. The LanMan group
planned to include the directory service in LanMan 3.0 and immediately
started porting it to the JET Blue ISAM and building an RPC front end
compliant with the X/Open XDS API.



At this point (in early 1991) Jim Allchin, who had recently taken over the
LanMan group, cancelled LanMan 3.0 and scrapped its directory service
project. In its place he created the Cairo project, which included a
completely non-X.500 like directory service that lived as part of OFS, the
Cairo file system.



The email group at Microsoft picked up two pieces out of the wreckage of
LanMan 3.0: the DS and an X.400 MTA. We (this is when I became dev lead of
the DS) ported the DS to Windows NT, finished the JET and XDS work, and
added a MAPI RPC interface, a query engine, the KCC, a modifiable schema,
the link table, and much, much more. This version of the DSA (plus the MTA
and a custom message store) shipped in Exchange 4.0 in 1996. By this point
there's very little of the original code left, although some elderly data
structures live on, at least in name.



Around late 1995 Cairo, and its attendant directory service, were cancelled.
This left the OS team with an urgent need for a DS (for Windows 2000) but no
plans to build one. To fill the hole, the week after Exchange 4.0 shipped
two of us from the Exchange DS dev team made a copy of the DS sources and
moved to the Windows group, where we got re-christened Active Directory, and
the rest is history.



In summary:

* AD has no relation to Novell NDS/eDirectory. Novell was a
competitor (the competitor), not a licensee/licensor.

* AD has no relation to Banyan StreetTalk. Although both Jim Allchin
and one member of the AD dev team were former Banyan employees, there was no
license or co-work between Microsoft and Banyan.

* AD has no relation to Cairo, except the relation that mammals have
to dinosaurs.

* AD did not inherit code or functionality from Site Server or MCIS.
It did inherit their customers.

* AD is a direct descendant of the DSA in Exchange 4.0 (Note that
LDAP support got added separately to the two branches of the directory in
Exchange 5.something and Windows 2000. Anything that important is clearly
worth doing twice.)



Don


_

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AFidel posted this 07 August 2008

Was there code sharing between the Exchange 5.x and AD LDAP layers, or
were the two efforts silo'd?

Thanks,
Andrew



"Don Hacherl" <don@hacherl.org>
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08/07/2008 10:47 AM
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Thanks for tipping me off to this thread, Eric. I'll see if I can clear
up the pre-history.

The oldest traceable part of AD started life at 3Com in 1988 or 1989. This
was an (incomplete!) X.500-ish directory with custom communication
protocols, built on top of a C-Tree database, running under 16-bit OS/2.
By 1990 3Com had abandoned its network software efforts and the directory
code moved to Microsoft as part of some complicated deal. The LanMan
group planned to include the directory service in LanMan 3.0 and
immediately started porting it to the JET Blue ISAM and building an RPC
front end compliant with the X/Open XDS API.

At this point (in early 1991) Jim Allchin, who had recently taken over the
LanMan group, cancelled LanMan 3.0 and scrapped its directory service
project. In its place he created the Cairo project, which included a
completely non-X.500 like directory service that lived as part of OFS, the
Cairo file system.

The email group at Microsoft picked up two pieces out of the wreckage of
LanMan 3.0: the DS and an X.400 MTA. We (this is when I became dev lead
of the DS) ported the DS to Windows NT, finished the JET and XDS work, and
added a MAPI RPC interface, a query engine, the KCC, a modifiable schema,
the link table, and much, much more. This version of the DSA (plus the
MTA and a custom message store) shipped in Exchange 4.0 in 1996. By this
point there's very little of the original code left, although some elderly
data structures live on, at least in name.

Around late 1995 Cairo, and its attendant directory service, were
cancelled. This left the OS team with an urgent need for a DS (for
Windows 2000) but no plans to build one. To fill the hole, the week after
Exchange 4.0 shipped two of us from the Exchange DS dev team made a copy
of the DS sources and moved to the Windows group, where we got
re-christened Active Directory, and the rest is history.

In summary:
AD has no relation to Novell NDS/eDirectory. Novell was a competitor (the
competitor), not a licensee/licensor.
AD has no relation to Banyan StreetTalk. Although both Jim Allchin and
one member of the AD dev team were former Banyan employees, there was no
license or co-work between Microsoft and Banyan.
AD has no relation to Cairo, except the relation that mammals have to
dinosaurs.
AD did not inherit code or functionality from Site Server or MCIS. It did
inherit their customers.
AD is a direct descendant of the DSA in Exchange 4.0 (Note that LDAP
support got added separately to the two branches of the directory in
Exchange 5.something and Windows 2000. Anything that important is clearly
worth doing twice.)

Don

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listmail posted this 07 August 2008

I would read that as siloed since Don said separately but that is but a
guess.


For anyone who doesn't recognize the name, Don is going to be the best
authority on this topic. Period.

Don: Thanks for taking the time to come out and respond. As always, great
information. :)

joe


--
O'Reilly Active Directory Third Edition -
http://www.joeware.net/win/ad3e.htm





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michael1 posted this 07 August 2008

Great stuff! Thanks.



Regards,



Michael B. Smith

MCITP:SA,EMA/MCSE/Exchange MVP

http://TheEssentialExchange.com

show

listmail posted this 07 August 2008

Ah true. I seemingly forgot about that one. Darn you Neil for reminding me.
NDS didn't get LDAP V3 until just before eDir though did they? Prior it was
proprietary access no?

I think I still have a Netware Admin book somewhere with a free copy of
Netware 5.x in it, my mom got it for me, I never opened it. I was already
working on NT and liked it building near "bullet proof" servers for the
financial division of a large widget company. The servers stayed up exactly
one year every year. They went down once each year because of a data center
power and fire suppression system test requirement they had; if we had only
moved to the corporate datacenter I could have kept them up longer than a
year though we did do updates on them at that same time as well. Really
irked me because that was at a time, as now, that people said Windows
couldn't stay up and running very long. It did, you just had to be careful
about drivers, etc that you put on it. Those systems were tracking billions
of US dollars of money being moved around the world and had to be up and
functioning properly at all times. Three days of lost data could have
bankrupt the entire company.


--
O'Reilly Active Directory Third Edition -
http://www.joeware.net/win/ad3e.htm





show

neilruston posted this 07 August 2008



Ah true. I seemingly forgot about that one. Darn you Neil for reminding
me.

* You can always rely upon me, joe :-)



NDS didn't get LDAP V3 until just before eDir though did they? Prior it
was proprietary access no?

I believe so - I stopped working with Netware at version 3!



I think I still have a Netware Admin book somewhere with a free copy of
Netware 5.x in it, my mom got it for me, I never opened it. I was
already working on NT and liked it building near "bullet proof" servers
for the financial division of a large widget company. The servers stayed
up exactly one year every year. They went down once each year because of
a data center power and fire suppression system test requirement they
had; if we had only moved to the corporate datacenter I could have kept
them up longer than a year though we did do updates on them at that same
time as well. Really irked me because that was at a time, as now, that
people said Windows couldn't stay up and running very long. It did, you
just had to be careful about drivers, etc that you put on it. Those
systems were tracking billions of US dollars of money being moved around
the world and had to be up and functioning properly at all times. Three
days of lost data could have bankrupt the entire company.

*
* I had Netware 2 and 3 servers with uptime of several years in the
early nineties. No doubt, the mainframe guys would say the same. I'd
install only what I wanted / needed and nothing else (and yes, no UI!).
Very stable and supportable.

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DonH posted this 07 August 2008

The two LDAP efforts were mostly separate. Exchange went first and AD
followed. As I recall we didn't borrow any code, but we did borrow one of
the developers for a month or two. That let us benefit from their
experience without code porting difficulties. (The addition of
per-attribute access controls in AD made lots of AD code diverge from the
Exchange DS very rapidly.)

Don



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Tony posted this 07 August 2008

Yeah, not the full story perhaps, but a lot of the history is here:



http://windowsitpro.com/Common/adforceimages/Decadeofexchange.pdf



Tony

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MThommes posted this 07 August 2008

It's a little fuzzy nowadays but I seem to recall that working in the
Novell command line environment was somewhat like using ntdsutil today!
LOL!



Mike Thommes

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gabriel/tfi posted this 07 August 2008

Great stuff! What a fascinating thread!

Before reading Don’s piece, I was trying to google-find some more historical
details about AD, but did not find any really interesting and when compared
to Don’s they appear misleading.



1) Dead-End Road to Cairo
(http://business2-cnet.com.com/2009-1017-857509.html)

“October 1998: Microsoft says it will rename Windows NT 5.0 to be called
Windows 2000. The operating system will include Active Directory, technology
originally slated for Cairo”.



2) Banyan VINES (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BanyanVINES, as the
header tells it requires improvement)

“…Banyan was sharing their technological advantages with a much larger
competitor. Using that information, Microsoft soon began work on its own
implementation of a directory services model to be called Active Directory
and rolled out with its OS 5.0, Windows 2000. Even while hiring away James
Allchin, known as the "Father of StreetTalk," Microsoft ran into technical
difficulties, particularly in world-wide synchronization of Active Directory
across time zones. Not afraid to use outside expertise, Microsoft actually
partnered with Banyan in one of Banyan's last strategic and, many would
argue, ultimately fatal partnerships, as Banyan sent a team of its most
experienced StreetTalk engineers to Redmond to "fix Active Directory."



3) Cairo ( <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo(operatingsystem)&gt;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo(operatingsystem)

Although Cairo never emerged as a shipping product, its main features were
shipped as parts of other Microsoft operating systems…… DCE/RPC shipped in
Windows NT 3.1. X.500 shipped as part of Active Directory in Windows 2000.



Don, I think that it would be greatly valuable for the entire DS community
if you gave your contribution by correcting the misleading infos at
Wikipedia (e.g. clarifying the Cairo or StreetTalk supposed dependency).

Finally I think that an “AD History” piece would be a must-have among
ActiveDir.org articles, what do you think Tony? ;-)



Thank you very much – Gabriele.

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