Docker LDAP integration

Written by Rajat Bhargava on March 22, 2016

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One thing is for sure: Docker has completely transformed the DevOps landscape. Containers are the latest technology that organizations are working to deploy. In case you haven’t heard, the benefit of containers can be tremendous. Compared to traditional servers or machines, containers are lighter weight, easier to deploy, and scale better. The challenge with any new technology, though, is how to easily manage it. Docker user management, in particular, poses a challenge. Who is allowed to deploy and manage containers in the enterprise? That is a problem that Docker recently addressed with LDAP integration.

Looking at The Next Generation of Virtual Servers

Containers are assumed to be the next generation of virtual servers. The goal of containers was clear: eliminate the overhead and duplication of virtual machines. VMs have a full operating system in each instance which needs to be tuned for the particular application. Horizontal scaling can be a significant challenge, to say the least. There are a number of different components that need to be managed on bare metal servers and virtual machines as well, including managing users on each. However, there is very little to manage with containers. They need to be “orchestrated”, but they are, in essence, a throwaway solution. It’s unlikely that operations personnel would individually manage containers. Instead, they would make adjustments to the container image and then redeploy it.

Bad Container Images and the Big Picture

As Docker containers run more of the production infrastructure, it is critical to tightly manage who has the ability to create, manage, and deploy containers. A bad container image can mean an application is down, or worse, it has been compromised. Docker recognized the importance of this and integrated Docker’s Registry and Trusted Registry system with a central directory service. Many technical organizations are leveraging LDAP to manage their users. But there’s a problem: as more organizations move to the cloud, there is less and less enthusiasm about running another server.

Envision Docker LDAP Integration in Action

DevOps and IT organizations are searching for ways to easily manage their Docker implementations. In addition to leading container management solutions, DevOps organizations should include an LDAP-as-a-Service solution into their Docker management suite. Leveraging a third-party virtual LDAP service saves IT admins the heavy lifting of installing, configuring, and managing an LDAP directory service. Instead, users can be imported into the cloud-based directory service to be leveraged by any LDAP-based application. Furthermore, this Directory-as-a-Service platform extends beyond LDAP and into centralized user management of systems, web applications, and WiFi networks.

If you would like to learn more about how JumpCloud’s hosted LDAP functionality can help you more easily manage your Docker deployment, drop us a note. We’d be happy to talk to you about it. Or, if you would like to try integrating Docker with JumpCloud, please feel free to sign-up for a free account.

Rajat Bhargava

Rajat Bhargava is an entrepreneur, investor, author, and CEO and co-founder of JumpCloud. An MIT graduate with over two decades of high-tech experience, Rajat is a ten-time entrepreneur with six exits including two IPOs and four trade sales.

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