A Better OpenLDAP™ Option for MSPs

By Zach DeMeyer Posted October 16, 2018

A Better OpenLDAP Option for MSPs written over picture of caterpillar

The Greeks have a saying that roughly translates to, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” This idiom is particularly pertinent when considering the open-source directory tool, OpenLDAP™. While OpenLDAP is completely free, it comes with its own hidden costs, and no one knows that better than managed service providers (MSPs). Due to the challenges it can bring to an organization, many are wondering if there is a better OpenLDAP option for MSPs out there?

What is the Cost of OpenLDAP™?


So what are these hidden costs to OpenLDAP? Well, it would be nice to first understand what OpenLDAP actually is. OpenLDAP is the leading open source directory service. Based on the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), OpenLDAP was created about two decades ago to provide an option for IT admins who didn’t want to pay for Microsoft® Active Directory®. Despite its age, OpenLDAP is still a workhorse in many IT organizations, due to the wide range of IT solutions that still leverage the LDAP protocol for authentication.

The hidden cost of OpenLDAP is that it can be difficult to manage and maintain. Since it is generated as simply source code that needs to be built into the “service”, the challenge of OpenLDAP is installing, configuring, and implementing the code into a working directory service instance. For MSPs, this challenge is multiplied by each additional client in their organization, as each individual customer requires their own OpenLDAP instance. Due to this hurdle, a better OpenLDAP option for MSPs would certainly save them much needed time.

Is There a Better OpenLDAP Option for MSPs?

Since self-managed OpenLDAP isn’t an ideal solution for modern MSPs, is there a better OpenLDAP option for MSPs to leverage? Well, there are a couple of key factors for making such a judgement. First, will the better OpenLDAP solution be able to provide similar functionality to OpenLDAP? It will need to be able to securely manage client access to on-prem applications via LDAP. Second, is it as cost-effective? Very few solutions are “cost-free” like the open source LDAP instance, but if one could offer the same or better usability at a reasonable cost, it would certainly be worthy of consideration.

That being said, there is an innovative cloud LDAP service available for MSPs to use for their clients. With a multi-tenant console, this SaaS OpenLDAP solution can quickly and easily become the backend LDAP server for an MSP’s client, without any on-prem equipment or the hassle of on-going management. MSPs can simply leverage this LDAP-as-a-Service offering for their clients and manage connecting applications to the cloud LDAP endpoint remotely. Further, because this cloud LDAP offering serves as a core directory service, the client’s identities can also be leveraged for their systems, cloud applications, file servers, and networks.

JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®: Better OpenLDAP for MSPs

With JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service’s LDAP-as-a-Service, MSPs can find the better OpenLDAP option they’ve been looking for. Directory-as-a-Service securely connects end users to their on-prem applications with LDAP-as-a-Service, as well as to their systems, web apps via SAML SSO, Samba file servers and NAS appliances, and WiFi networks via RADIUS. JumpCloud also offers the Multi-Tenant Portal feature to specifically provide MSPs with a way to remotely manage all of their clients’ organizations. For MSPs who become JumpCloud Partners, a special discounted pricing model is available as well.

JumpCloud partners program for MSPs

Ready to see how JumpCloud can provide you with OpenLDAP for MSPs? Apply to be a Partner today to get the ball rolling. Once you’ve submitted an application, a Partner Support expert will follow up to help evaluate if JumpCloud is the right fit for your clients and managed services.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a writer and researcher for JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, making music, and soccer.

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