DEN (Directory-Enabled Networking)

Directory-Enabled Networking (DEN) is an industry-standard initiative and specification for how to construct and store information about a network's users, applications, and data in a central directory. A standard way of describing the network's elements in a central repository can enable applications to be developed that will automatically learn of user access privileges, bandwidth assignments, and the company's resource policies, and provide services accordingly. The result should reduce the cost of running the network and enable new services.

DEN defines an object-oriented information model that is based on another recent standard initiative, the Common Information Model (CIM). Both models are being mapped into the directory defined as part of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). DEN and CIM are an advance over and can be used with the Simple Network Management Protocol (Simple Network Management Protocol).

With DEN, a client/server application on the network can be designed to automatically provide the user with the proper level of access to its resources without needing manual assistance from a network administrator when the user changes locations or positions within the company. In the past, the proper level of access has required significant manual assistanceto implement and maintain. Information that may affect access can include not only the user's own access privileges but also network resource availability in terms of bandwidth and services.

By entering specific information about the network in the central directory using the DEN model and syntax, network information then becomes available to any DEN-enabled application in the network. When a user attempts to open one of these types of applications on the network, the application checks dynamically in the LDAP global directoryin order to see what the user's access privileges should be. The applicationcan then automatically open and configure itself to provide the correctlevel of access to its features, based on the usage policy informationit has located in the LDAP directory.

An example of a "DEN-enabled application" is the Microsoft Windows NT operating system, Version 5.0 or higher, which includes the Active Directory Service, an implementation of DEN. DEN was developed by 70 companies, including Microsoft and Cisco. In late 1998, the Desktop Management Task Force (DMTF) took over the DEN work on network data models and began integrating it into its own Common Information Model (CIM).

This was last updated in April 2007

Continue Reading About DEN (Directory-Enabled Networking)

Dig Deeper on Network protocols and standards