Virtual Open Directory

Open Directory is Apple’s foray into the directory services space. Based on OpenLDAP™, this directory services solution has been around for a number of years. As the world shifts to the cloud and uncertainty abounds with Apple’s vision for Open Directory, a common question we hear is if there will be a virtual Open Directory option in the future?

Open Directory Today

Open Directory is shipped with macOS server, although recently there are murmurs about Apple’s wavering commitment to the macOS server line and even Open Directory. This has been spurred by Apple eliminating their server hardware (Xserve). While the macOS server software is still an option for $20, the big picture is foggy: it isn’t clear whether Apple will continue down this path and support Open Directory in the future.

Servers and server management have never been priorities for Apple. In fact, as you take a look at what macOS server is really focused on, it is aimed at being a small business server. The primary tasks center around being a management tool for macOS and iOS platforms. IT admins can control software deployment and simple management of their Apple devices. That’s all well and good, but it’s not exactly enterprise-class IT management tools.

So let’s take a look at where Open Directory came from, and then dig into the idea of a virtual Open Directory.

Open Directory an Alternative to Active Directory

Open Directory was added many years ago with the Mac OS X Server 10.2 and was created to be an alternative to Microsoft Active Directory®. At the time and still to this day, Active Directory has made it difficult for IT to smoothly authorize and authenticate Mac systems. So Open Directory, or OD as it has become to be known, was popular in the Apple community because it made it easy to leverage LDAP and Kerberos for authentication in an Apple network.

But as the workplace started moving towards web-based applications and cloud infrastructure, both Open Directory and Active Directory had trouble with adapting to this new IT landscape.

Virtual Open Directory in the Future?

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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from JumpCloud authored by Natalie Bluhm. Read the original post at:

Natalie Bluhm

Natalie is a writer for JumpCloud, an Identity and Access Management solution designed for the cloud era. Natalie graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing, and she loves learning about cloud infrastructure, identity security, and IT protocols.

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