OpenLDAP™ is one of the top two on-prem directory services available today. As an open source solution, one of the main draws for OpenLDAP is that it is extremely flexible. This has always been a benefit for IT admins and DevOps engineers who choose to go that route, but the challenge with the open source path is the technical complexity inherent in managing OpenLDAP. Fortunately, a SaaS OpenLDAP platform is helping to solve these challenges.
LDAP has been around for years, and is still used in many areas of IT today. It’s important to understand its beginnings in order to grasp why it is where it is today. The LDAP protocol was created by our advisor, Tim Howes, and his colleagues at the University of Michigan. This protocol went on to spawn two of the most popular directory solutions out there, namely OpenLDAP and Microsoft® Active Directory®. OpenLDAP, as mentioned, was the most popular open source solution, and Microsoft AD was the most popular commercial option. Each identity provider was useful in a different way, and both have largely shaped the identity management space.
For Active Directory, the main focus was on Windows systems and applications that were located on-prem. Because the office used to largely be Microsoft based and on-prem, this meant nearly everything. From computers, to printers, to data storage and more – infrastructure was built for Microsoft and managed by Active Directory.
In the case of OpenLDAP, their main focus was Linux-based systems and applications, often more technical solutions. The flexible nature of the open source option offered the ability for admins to control resources that AD couldn’t cover, and granted them more control as well. But the innovations of modern IT soon changed the status quo for both OpenLDAP and AD.
Adapting to the Modern IT Environment
These identity providers were excellent initially, but as the IT landscape changed they both became more challenging for IT organizations to leverage. The 100% Windows network started to morph into a heterogeneous environment with macOS and Linux machines, complicating the all Microsoft method that (Read more...)