Comparing JumpCloud® with AWS® Cloud Directory

Written by Ryan Squires on October 30, 2018

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Comparing JumpCloud<sup>®</sup> with AWS<sup>®</sup> Cloud Directory

As Amazon Web Services® (AWS®) continues to innovate and offer more microservices every year, many IT admins and DevOps engineers are trying to get a handle on exactly what each one of them does and how they can be useful. One concept to explore when comparing these two services revolves around the definition of a “directory.” Confusion over this definition is leading organizations to compare JumpCloud® with AWS® Cloud Directory so they can see which solution applies to their particular problem or use case.

What Does Directory Mean?

Moving directory services to the cloud

In order to compare and contrast JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® and AWS Cloud Directory, we need to step back and define what a directory is. When comparing these two solutions, it is important to realize that each company defines directory in a distinct manner. For AWS Cloud Directory, the term “directory” refers to its ability to create hierarchical relationships between objects. The use cases that AWS promotes center on HR, organizational charts, and fleet management systems. Think of AWS Cloud Directory as a business intelligence tool for object relationships. A directory, as defined by JumpCloud, is the core store of identities that connects users to their IT resources. Essentially, it is the service that allows users to access their systems, applications, files, and networks.

Amazon’s AWS Cloud Directory Intention

Amazon’s desire with Cloud Directory is to create a platform for people to build applications with. Examples include hierarchical charts where objects can fall under differing sets of relationships. Amazon gives an example of users falling under the same reporting structures while simultaneously existing under different location attributes. So, instead of creating a grid-like hierarchy, Cloud Directory can be used to express a multitude of differing relationships within a single directory instance. It is helpful to think of a social media network when visualizing this example. For example, two different people may have attended the same university, but now they live in different towns. AWS Cloud Directory can help to show relationships like this one although it is much different than what JumpCloud offers.

How does JumpCloud Compare?

Directory is the Foundation

On the other hand, the JumpCloud directory is quite different. As a cloud directory service, JumpCloud is used to authenticate and authorize user access to IT resources. While it, too, has object relationships (users to IT resources, for example) the goals are quite different. The JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service aims to connect and control user access to systems, applications, files, and networks. So instead of being used to create relationships between objects, Directory-as-a-Service is used to enable access to IT resources.

A particularly useful scenario is using JumpCloud to replace Microsoft® Active Directory® (MAD or AD). Active Directory works well with (meaning it was designed for) Windows-based resources, but it requires add-ons to connect to web-based applications (Slack, GitHub, etc), legacy applications (Jira® and MySQL™), cloud infrastructure (AWS® and Google Compute Engine), as well as identity bridges for Mac® and Linux® machines. It just makes sense that as the world moves to these resources, the directory service should as well.

Learn More About JumpCloud

JumpCloud and AWS Cloud Directory

After comparing JumpCloud with AWS Cloud Directory, we can see that each service does something completely different than the other. Now that you know the difference, sign up for a free account and manage 10 free users forever with JumpCloud. This isn’t one of those “free accounts” that requires a credit card either. Just sign up and Make Work Happen™ for your users. If you’d like to see the product in action, schedule a demo, or visit our YouTube channel. If we can help in any other way, please, drop us a line.

Ryan Squires

Ryan Squires is a content writer at JumpCloud, a company dedicated to connecting users to the IT resources they need securely and efficiently. He has a degree in Journalism and Media Communication from Colorado State University.

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