A distributed network directory service for managing network resources such as users, servers, and peripherals that is loosely modeled after the X.500 specification. Novell Directory Services (NDS) was originally called NetWare Directory Services.
The foundation of NDS is the directory tree, which provides a hierarchical view of all network resources. Resources in the network can be grouped logically according to their location, function, or the structure of the company. Objects in the tree can be either containers or leaf objects, with the root container being the name of the company or organization. Containers can be considered branches and can hold leaf objects or other containers. When a user is assigned access rights to a container, these rights flow down into any subcontainers within the container. Trees, subtrees, and containers can also be renamed and merged.
You can implement NDS directories as a distributed database that is partitioned among multiple NDS servers on the network to provide fault tolerance and load balancing. As a result, no single server contains or is responsible for the entire directory. The NDS servers replicate with each other to ensure that each server contains an up-to-date version of the directory for the portion of the directory that the server is responsible for. To locate an object such as a user, a group, a shared directory, or a printer on the network, an NDS client can access the directory on any NDS server.
NDS was originally tied to the NetWare 4 operating system, but it is now available for other platforms, including UNIX and Microsoft Windows NT.