Open Source Active Directory®

Microsoft® Active Directory® has been the most popular identity management solution in the directory services category for almost two decades. But, as the IT environment changes and there is a shift to heterogeneous platforms, is an open source Active Directory in the cards?

The short answer is that while open source tools are usually great, the identity management category has produced a rather limited array of open source solutions on a relative basis. The second part of this is that IT organizations aren’t just looking for open source, but rather cloud-based solutions (if they happen to be open source all the better). Let’s take a closer look at these two aspects that are part of the general interest in an open source Active Directory.

Open Source Alternatives to Active Directory

In the identity management arena there are a number of open source solutions that could qualify here. Of course, the most well known is OpenLDAP, but there are others such as Samba and FreeIPA. Each of these solutions comes with their own set of strengths and challenges, so let’s take a look at what these are.


OpenLDAP is the most popular LDAP server today. It is highly flexible, and it is focused on providing core directory services to resources that leverage the LDAP protocol. The problem with OpenLDAP is that many IT resources prefer other protocols such as SAML, RADIUS, and even native integrations. So, the challenge with OpenLDAP is that IT admins have to contend with either multiple directory services or a decentralized environment.


Samba is best known as a file and print service for non-Windows platforms. While it serves somewhat as a directory service/domain controller, it is often utilized with Active Directory to extend it to non-Windows® IT resources. Samba is usually not used as a stand-alone solution, so the challenge with this open source option is that IT admins still end up having Active Directory in their environment.


FreeIPA is focused on one aspect of the identity management space as well: Linux users and hosts. FreeIPA is a (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Jon Griffin. Read the original post at:

Jon Griffin

Jon Griffin works as a writer for JumpCloud, an organization focused on bringing centralized IT to the modern organization. He graduated with a degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and is an avid learner of new technology from cloud-based innovations to VR and more.

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