Are organizations really migrating LDAP to the cloud? To be fair, the end goal isn’t to truly migrate LDAP to the cloud, because LDAP is a protocol. More precisely, the aim is to shift LDAP authentication to an LDAP server in the cloud. We understand it can be an exercise in semantics, but, technicalities aside, it is clear that many IT organizations are shifting their IT management infrastructure to the cloud. And, part of the transition means figuring out what to do with identity management, and specifically, the LDAP server.
LDAP has a long history dating back to the early 90s. They say necessity is the mother of all invention, and that’s true when it comes to LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol). LDAP was created as a less resource-intensive version to the X.500 directory services protocol at the University of Michigan by JumpCloud® advisor Tim Howes. X.500 required significant overhead in order for it to be used, and the machines at that time simply were not up to the task. As a result, Mr. Howes and his colleagues worked to pare down X.500 so the machines were able to utilize it. That’s where we get LDAP from.
LDAP became so popular that it was classified as the internet standard for authentication in 1997. It’s still around today because it was a cornerstone in helping to build the internet. Now, it’s mainly used for authentication into the more technical applications and systems that generally make up DevOps organizations and other technical outfits.
LDAP Usage and Limitations
Traditionally, the LDAP protocol and its associated infrastructure hasn’t been the easiest to manage. It is highly technical, and implementations often require tedious configuration and set up. That’s why many IT organizations have to hire engineers in order to set up, configure, maintain, and ultimately manage user access to LDAP-based resources in an LDAP directory like OpenLDAP™. While most LDAP directories, like OpenLDAP, are open source and require no software to purchase, they do require a hefty investment in both the server components and technical knowhow. That said, while (Read more...)