Likewise's decision earlier in summer 2011 to exit the Active Directory bridge market represented a momentous shift in direction. But the company remains eminently alive and kicking, with some new initiatives lined up in the storage channel. Here's a look at what the "new" Likewise is up to.

When Likewise sold its Likewise Open and Likewise Enterprise products to BeyondTrust in late June, it stepped out of the niche in which it had made its name over the course of several years by developing integrated solutions for joining Linux and OS X machines to Microsoft Active Directory domains.

Likewise Post-AD

But as the Likewise team explained in a recent message to the community, the company's new direction involves intense focus on the storage software market, which accounted for more than 50 percent of the organization's sales by mid-2011.

Currently, Likewise's main storage product is Likewise Storage Services, which builds on the company's past experience with the CIFS protocol but also supports NFS. Likewise touts the solution as a secure way of sharing data across different operating systems.

In the e-mail, Likewise also offered a few clues regarding the upcoming release of a "killer storage application" integrated into the company's existing platform:
We’re not yet ready to talk about the details of this product but I can share some broad strokes. We’ll ship a beta of the application this year. We’re focused on data and the enterprise. Data is king but in many ways managing data has become more complex than ever. There is tremendous pressure on IT to provide access to data from anywhere, including over the cloud, while at the same time providing strong, identity-based security of that data.

Defining Likewise's Direction

On one level, Likewise has clearly shifted its concentration to the storage market. Viewed from a broader perspective, however, the company's focus remains the same: identity management across multiple operating systems.

The technical angle may be a little (but certainly not totally) different, but cross-platform storage solutions oriented around secure identification mechanisms are actually quite similar to Likewise's previous investment in AD authentication tools.

Thus the "new" Likewise may not actually be that radically novel: Its content has shifted, but its key components remain the same. And given the success that the organization has traditionally enjoyed, that's a good thing.