BT has chosen Novell's eDirectory as the hub for user services on 21CN, its next-generation converged voice, data and video network.

The directory system will store up to 28 million user profiles, and will authenticate customers for access to services such as video-on-demand and IP telephony.

"It's one of the largest directory implementations across Europe," said Novell's UK sales director Paul Roberts. "eDirectory will be in the middle, talking to all the other applications. One thing BT needs to do is capture identities for all its customers."

The number of profiles - or identities - is more than the number of customers because each customer could have multiple profiles, he added. For example, the children of a household could have age-limited profiles to prevent them accessing adult material.

Roberts said that Novell won the business after competing on a testbed to prove its enterprise scalability. Its rivals were Sun and CA - the need for carrier-class technology ruling out certain other directory software suppliers. Novell did have an advantage in that BT already uses eDirectory internally, noted Mike Galvin, BT's director of portfolio infrastructure. "It's a proven solution that we knew could scale to the extremes required for a customer facing profile store," he said.

The next step for 21CN, or 21st Century Network, is to choose an identity management system, said Roberts. He added that Novell hopes to win that business too for its Identity Manager technology, but said that because it's "basically LDAP", the directory should work with any ID software.

The 21CN directory system is already nearly complete, Roberts said: "We are three-quarters of the way through building and testing - it goes live in Cardiff in a few weeks for trials." BT is using the Welsh capital for a number of pilot projects, including 21CN and and municipal WiFi.

The directory system will store up to 28 million user profiles, and will authenticate customers for access to services such as video-on-demand and IP telephony.

"It's one of the largest directory implementations across Europe," said Novell's UK sales director Paul Roberts. "eDirectory will be in the middle, talking to all the other applications. One thing BT needs to do is capture identities for all its customers."

The number of profiles - or identities - is more than the number of customers because each customer could have multiple profiles, he added. For example, the children of a household could have age-limited profiles to prevent them accessing adult material.

Roberts said that Novell won the business after competing on a testbed to prove its enterprise scalability. Its rivals were Sun and CA - the need for carrier-class technology ruling out certain other directory software suppliers.

Novell did have an advantage in that BT already uses eDirectory internally, noted Mike Galvin, BT's director of portfolio infrastructure. "It's a proven solution that we knew could scale to the extremes required for a customer facing profile store," he said.

The next step for 21CN, or 21st Century Network, is to choose an identity management system, said Roberts. He added that Novell hopes to win that business too for its Identity Manager technology, but said that because it's "basically LDAP", the directory should work with any ID software.

The 21CN directory system is already nearly complete, Roberts said: "We are three-quarters of the way through building and testing - it goes live in Cardiff in a few weeks for trials." BT is using the Welsh capital for a number of pilot projects, including 21CN and and municipal WiFi.