What Is Apache Directory™ Server?

By Rajat Bhargava Posted February 2, 2017

In the land of directory services, there are a few open-source solutions that IT admins don’t know a whole lot about. One of these solutions is Apache Directory Server. ApacheDS is an LDAP- and Kerberos-based directory service. It is open-source and also comes with a suite of UI tools to help make the server a little easier to manage.

Overview of Apache Directory Server

ApacheDS was widely seen as an alternative to OpenLDAP, the most popular LDAP-based directory server on the market. OpenLDAP is also open source. Another LDAP-based alternative to both of these is the 389 Directory Server.

ApacheDS is focused on being a little easier to install, configure, and manage. The accompanying Apache Directory Studio suite of tools is there for IT admins to more easily implement ApacheDS. The UI tools include an LDAP schema editor, LDAP browser, LDIF editor, access control editor, and more. The ApacheDS and associated tools have largely been written in Java.

A core distinction that Apache Directory Server has when compared to OpenLDAP and other LDAP-based, open-source solutions has been that ApacheDS has introduced stored procedures and triggers to help make database maintenance and the process of managing the database a little stronger.

Challenges with Apache and other Open-Source Solutions

For many IT admins, the challenge with ApacheDS and with open-source solutions in general has been that it is difficult to manage and maintain.

It’s a case of their greatest strength also being their biggest weakness. Most open-source solutions have been created to be extremely flexible. Therefore, the user needs to be able to manipulate the solution via code. With so many different contributors to the code, these types of adjustments are rarely elegant or simple.

Another issue is that the ongoing maintenance is owned by the IT admin. This used to be the norm. But in an era of SaaS-based services, many IT admins are opting to outsource the process of implementing a piece of IT infrastructure. As a result, they can spend their time focusing on more critical items.

Alternative to Apache Directory Server

A popular alternative to managing LDAP-based servers in-house is Directory-as-a-Service®. Based on the LDAP RFC, this SaaS-based directory service aims to take the heavy lifting off the IT organization’s plate. IT admins simply connect their applications to the cloud-hosted LDAP service and add their users via a web console or automatically via an import. Those users can be authenticated via LDAP and a number of other protocols. The Directory-as-a-Service platform serves as the central identity provider for an organization.

Learn More

Drop us a note if you would like to learn more about ApacheDS or our alternative solution, Directory-as-a-Service. Also, sign up for a free account to see how it works. Your first 10 users are free forever.

Rajat Bhargava

Rajat Bhargava is co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud, the first Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS). JumpCloud securely connects and manages employees, their devices and IT applications. An MIT graduate with two decades of experience in industries including cloud, security, networking and IT, Rajat is an eight-time entrepreneur with five exits including two IPOs, three trade sales and three companies still private.

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