Back in the early 1990s, our advisor Tim Howes and his colleagues at the University of Michigan created the LDAP protocol. This creation was a seminal event in the history of identity management, and marked the beginning of the era of directory services that has continued to this day. Now, however, after over two decades, there is a new generation of directory services emerging with a virtual OpenLDAP platform.
Why is There a Need for a Virtual OpenLDAP?
The creation of LDAP was crucial in the identity management world. At the time, controlling users and their access was an incredibly heavyweight process that required leveraging the X.500 specifications and protocols. As personal computers were emerging, Howes and his team realized that there needed to be a better way to control access to these machines.
This need is what inspired their creation of LDAP. Eventually, the LDAP protocol would go on to inspire two significant directory services solutions that we still see today, OpenLDAP™ and Microsoft Active Directory®. Both were beneficial in their own way and would become dominant in the open source and commercial areas of the identity and access management landscape.
OpenLDAP went on to be the popular open source solution for controlling access to more technical solutions, like Linux-based systems and applications. The challenge with OpenLDAP though has always been that it is complex to setup and manage. As an open source solution, OpenLDAP relies on a high caliber of technical expertise to manage and run. This meant that you needed a highly trained admin on staff to even consider OpenLDAP an option. On top of that, OpenLDAP requires the admin to ensure that the system is highly available and secure. This can mean additional infrastructure for redundancy, and a greater workload to verify security. Perhaps the most significant issue though is connecting systems and applications to OpenLDAP, as there are often a plethora of configurations to understand and tweak. If this setup isn’t handled correctly, it can drastically impact the functionality and end user experience of your network.
OpenLDAP Without the Management and Maintenance
Many IT (Read more...)