With IT networks becoming more decentralized and cloud services emerging, a common question is whether legacy IT solutions can function in a cloud-forward world. Specifically, is it possible to leverage LDAP across networks?
The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) has been a user authentication standard for over twenty years now. As a trusted authentication mechanism, IT admins want to know if what has traditionally been an on-prem implementation has any use cases in the cloud.
The good news is that it is possible to run LDAP across networks via LDAP-as-a-Service. Let’s take a closer look at LDAP and discuss a few benefits of the “as-a-Service” model.
LDAP in a Traditional Sense
LDAP came to be in the early 1990s as an on-prem network authentication protocol. Back then, LDAP had to be instantiated by client/server infrastructure that was usually hosted on-prem as well.
Common examples of popular LDAP servers include OpenLDAP™ or the 389 Directory by RedHat. LDAP servers such as these worked well for more technical infrastructure such as Linux® based applications that were also hosted on-prem.
Among those applications that were often connected to LDAP servers included OpenVPN, Kubernetes, Jenkins, and many more. Yet, the challenge with traditional implementations of LDAP has been similar to other open source solutions
While enabling a great deal of flexibility for DevOps and IT personnel, LDAP can be challenging to implement and maintain. As traditional networks expanded to multiple locations, both in the cloud and on-prem, it became increasingly difficult to run LDAP across networks.
A specific example is that traditional applications usually had to be directly connected to the LDAP server, often by utilizing VPNs. As applications transitioned to the cloud, the usual approaches started to break down.
The Future of LDAP
While the efficacy of traditional LDAP solutions has been diminished in the modern era, the good news is that the future of the LDAP protocol is very bright indeed. A new generation of cloud LDAP solutions are emerging that make it simple and easy to connect to virtually any LDAP-based client application, without having to deal (Read more...)