Transformation of Directory Services

Directory Services

The directory services market is currently in a renaissance. For nearly the last 20 years, not much has changed in the space. But now, it is undergoing a metamorphosis, like the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Let’s take a look at the final product of this directory services transformation. 

Traditional Directory Services: The “Caterpillars”

Since the inception of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) in 1993, the directory service, or identity provider (IdP), has been a go-to for IT organizations. A directory service provides a centralized location for admins to manage their users, their identities, and their access to IT-related resources. 

LDAP went on to pave the way for several big names to establish themselves in the directory services market. Namely, two major solutions that arose with LDAP as their backbone are Microsoft® Active Directory® (MAD), the commercial leader in the space, and OpenLDAP™, the open-source platform of choice.

In an age when the majority of IT identity management pertained to Windows® systems, applications, files, and servers, Active Directory excelled and became the de facto market share leader. Linux server adoption and more technical applications built on Linux would drive OpenLDAP usage. Both MAD and OpenLDAP became go-to directory services from the early 2000s to today.

The Cloud “Chrysalis”

While the directory service rooted itself on-prem via MAD/OpenLDAP, the rest of the IT environment surrounding it changed entirely. Organizations today are leveraging more Mac® and Linux® systems than ever. Cloud infrastructure and web applications are a mainstay of virtually every organization. WiFi and online security are now a core part of everyday life. Mobility is not only changing how we work but where we live and how we live.

Unfortunately, the directory service, as it was, was ill-equipped to deal with the modern IT landscape. While it excelled at all things on-prem and Windows-based, the world around it no longer held the same values. 

As a result, IT admins have had to surround their core identity provider with tools to help it adapt to their evolving environments. For web applications, they (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Ryan Squires. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/transformation-directory-services/