We have heard from a number of our customers that they would like to tie their directory to Google Apps, but they don’t want yet another service that they need to run. Google’s recommended method to connect to an on-premises Microsoft Active Directory Server or OpenLDAP server is to leverage an agent called Google Apps Directory Sync (GADS).
Benefits and Challenges with GADS
GADS can work, but it doesn’t satisfy our customers’ desires to keep things simple. Organizations that go this route will need to run GADS on a server and connect the utility to both their on-premises directory service and to Google Apps.
The benefit of GADS is that Google Apps accounts can be controlled from an authoritative directory. New users can be automatically provisioned in Google Apps by adding the user to the directory service. Users that are terminated in the directory are subsequently terminated (or disabled) in Google Apps. Password updates, contact information updates, and other changes all propagate through to Google Apps.
GADS and Microsoft AD
This capability was an important one for Google when it introduced Google Apps. Since the core functionality of Google Apps was hosted email and their target was to eliminate Microsoft Exchange from a network, they still needed a way for IT organizations to manage their user accounts en masse. Manually provisioning and deprovisioning accounts in Google Apps wasn’t going to work for companies of any scale. The solution to the problem was to connect Google Apps to Microsoft Active Directory, which is most often used in organizations that have Exchange. And, that’s how Google Apps Directory Sync was born.
GADS and Google Apps in the Cloud Era
Fast forward to present day and many organizations leveraging Google Apps do not have a directory service. So, when they start to look around for a new directory and start to evaluate the on-premises options of Active Directory and LDAP, they realize that they will need to have GADS as well.
So, their on-premises hardware and software grew from just a directory to a directory plus the connector to Google. For many organizations that are interested in leveraging the cloud, this is going the wrong way. They want to eliminate on-premises equipment, not get more of it.
Eliminate GADS, Still Integrate with Google Apps
The ideal option is to leverage a cloud-based directory service that integrates seamlessly into Google Apps. Modern organizations are already cloud enabled with Google Apps. Their directory service should be as well.
That’s exactly what Directory-as-a-Service does.
DaaS solutions put the directory in the cloud and integrate to Google Apps via APIs rather than GADS. This approach eliminates the need for any on-premises equipment. Yet IT organizations still get the benefit of one, central authoritative directory store that can automatically provision, deprovision, and modify records in Google Apps.
If you have Google Apps and still have directory services on-premises, give JumpCloud a try. You’ll eliminate the heavy lifting, while increasing control and security. You can try JumpCloud for free or drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org