AWS Cloud Directory vs Directory-as-a-Service

Written by Natalie Bluhm on June 27, 2018

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There’s recently been some confusion about what a cloud directory is. Last year, Amazon announced their AWS® Cloud Directory service. Then, there is another cloud directory service called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® that is changing the way IT admins think about directory services.  So, what’s what here and is this a situation where it is AWS Cloud Directory vs JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service in the marketplace?

The short answer is that you are talking about apples and oranges when it comes to AWS Cloud Directory vs JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service. The confusion is understandable though, considering that the term cloud directory has taken on some interesting interpretations over the years. Let’s start clearing the air by taking a look at Amazon’s interpretation.

What AWS Cloud Directory Is and Is Not

AWS Cloud Directory

AWS Cloud Directory is “not a directory service for IT Administrators who want to manage or migrate their directory infrastructure” (AWS). Rather, AWS Cloud Directory is a database where organizations can store object information and hierarchically relate that information together along with various attributes. It’s a useful tool and can be thought of as a platform as a service offering. AWS is hoping that IT organizations and developers will leverage the platform and build all kinds of interesting solutions on top of it. Their examples include HR systems, organizational charts, and automobile fleet management systems. That’s a far cry from the traditional directory services definition that IT admins know. However, the definition of what is a directory service is changing as JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service bends the idea of what a directory service is and the cloud directory moniker.

The Old Definition for Directory Services

Legacy Active Directory

Most IT organizations equate directory services with legacy, on-prem solutions such as Microsoft® Active Directory® and OpenLDAP™. These solutions connected users to all of their IT resources, but they only support on-prem resources that are based on a sole protocol, provider, and platform. For example, most in the IT space know that Active Directory manages users and systems best in on-prem, Microsoft-centric environments. OpenLDAP, on the other hand, works great for managing technical, open source IT resources based on LDAP. These have been the two most dominant forces in the directory services market, so it makes sense that a definition for directory services would be based on how these two leading solutions work. While IT admins still want a directory services solution that connects users to all of their systems, apps, and more, they are not interested in solely using one platform, provider or protocol. Now, the typical modern office is leveraging IT resources from a whole host of providers and platforms, like Mac® systems and web-based applications. So, the definition for directory services has been in need of an update. This is where a new modern implementation of a cloud directory comes in.

The New Directory Services Definition

JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service

Called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service, this modern take on directory services is reimagining AD and LDAP. This next generation cloud identity management platform is securely managing and connecting users to the IT resources they need including systems, applications, files, and networks. JumpCloud’s mission is to enable organizations to use the tools that work best for them, so our cloud directory service supports virtually all IT resources regardless of location, provider, protocol, and platform. Additionally, JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is entirely cloud-based, so you no longer have to concern yourself with availability, maintenance, and configuration — responsibilities that are guaranteed to come with an on-prem directory service. Instead, JumpCloud takes care of these for you. You simply get to enjoy centrally managing your users and their access to IT resources.

Learn More About AWS Cloud Directory vs JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service

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