Executive Introduction to Directory Services Using the X.500 Protocol (RFC1308)
Original Publication Date: 1992-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-12
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
C. Weider: AUTHOR [+2]
This document is an Executive Introduction to Directory Services using the X.500 protocol. It briefly discusses the deficiencies in currently deployed Internet Directory Services, and then illustrates the solutions provided by X.500.
Network Working Group C. Weider
Request for Comments: 1308 ANS
FYI: 13 J. Reynolds
Executive Introduction to Directory Services
Using the X.500 Protocol
Status of this Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does
not specify an Internet standard. Distribution of this memo is
This document is an Executive Introduction to Directory Services
using the X.500 protocol. It briefly discusses the deficiencies in
currently deployed Internet Directory Services, and then illustrates
the solutions provided by X.500.
This FYI RFC is a product of the Directory Information Services
(pilot) Infrastructure Working Group (DISI). A combined effort of
the User Services and the OSI Integration Areas of the Internet
Engineering Task Force (IETF).
The Internet is growing at a phenomenal rate, with no deceleration in
sight. Every month thousands of new users are added. New networks
are added literally almost every day. In fact, it is entirely
conceivable that in the future every human with access to a computer
will be able to interact with every other over the Internet and her
sister networks. However, the ability to interact with everyone is
only useful if one can locate the people with whom they need to work.
Thus, as the Internet grows, one of the limitations imposed on the
effective use of the network will be determined by the quality and
coverage of Directory Services available.
Directory Services in this paper refers not only to the types of
services provided by the telephone companies' White Pages, but to
resource location, Yellow Pages services, mail address lookup, etc.
We will take a brief look at the services available today, and at the
problems they have, and then we will show how the X.500 standard
solves those problems.
2. CURRENT SERVICES AND THEIR LIMITATIONS
In the interests of brevity, we will only look at the WHOIS service,
and at the DNS. Each will illustrate a particular philosophy, if you
will, of Directory Services.
The WHOIS service is maintained by the Defense Data Network Network
Information Center, or DDN NIC. It is currently maintained at GSI
for the IP portion of the Internet. It contains information about IP
networks, IP network managers, a scattering of well-known personages
in the Internet, and a large amount of information related
specifically to the MILNET systems. As the NIC is responsible for
assigning new networks out of the pool of IP addresses, it is very
easily able to collect this information when a new network is
registered. However, the WHOIS database is big enough and