Technology isn't the only hard part

Developing a metadirectory is more than a technical challenge. Politics can also be an obstacle.

"A metadirectory is a central repository for an organization's critical information, and so there is also the challenge of getting to agreement over what should be in it, when it should go in and who should get to control it," said Dan Kuznetsky, vice president of systems software research at IDC.

How well that is handled can have a direct impact on the effectiveness of a metadirectory strategy. A "significant amount of upfront analysis" is needed before an organization can even begin to start putting a metadirectory together, according to Lance Horne, program manager for directory services at Microsoft Corp.

"People have to decide which components of the organization are authoritative for whichever object is contained in a directory," he said. "And certain attributes of that object may have different authoritative sources."

It's a task people have to approach carefully, and they must be prepared for disagreements, Kuznetsky said.

"Unfortunately, too often they aren't," he said.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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