Replacing Red Hat OpenLDAP™ with Cloud LDAP

Written by Zach DeMeyer on November 18, 2018

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The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (or LDAP) is one of the more widely used identity authentication protocols in IT today. A few years after its conception in the early 1990s, a group of enterprising developers took it upon themselves to make this useful tool available for anyone, creating the open source OpenLDAP™. OpenLDAP has served as the backbone for many identity management solutions on the market ever since. Just recently, however, open source software provider, Red Hat, has discontinued their support of OpenLDAP. This has led several people into considering replacing RedHat OpenLDAP with Cloud LDAP.

Challenges with OpenLDAP

Active Directory options

In their release on the matter, Red Hat suggested that customers either seek out an alternative source for OpenLDAP, be it implementing their own OpenLDAP server, using Red Hat’s Directory 389 solution, or paying for a third party service. The first two options, while free, come with their own challenges.

Implementing your own OpenLDAP server is a difficult task, presenting a number of challenges to even the savviest of IT admins. The process involves a fairly in-depth knowledge of the language of OpenLDAP, as well as full installation, configuration per organizational needs, and an on-prem physical infrastructure. While it opens a number of doors for custom configurability, an on-prem OpenLDAP instance requires frequent maintenance to ensure that it is up to snuff for your enterprise. Security must also be maintained in-house, but the likelihood of a breach can be high in DIY setups in an age when cyber attacks are more frequent and sophisticated than ever before.

Red Hat’s Directory 389 is a variant of an open-source LDAP implementation, and follows the popular LDAP RFCs. Like OpenLDAP, 389 still requires manual administration and deployment on a physical server. Given today’s fast-paced workplace, the time and effort needed to implement OpenLDAP or Red Hat 389 has pointed admins’ eyes towards hosted cloud LDAP offerings.

Hosted Cloud LDAP

Using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) LDAP solution from the cloud gives sysadmins the flexibility to do more with their day then maintaining an on-prem server instance. That’s where cloud LDAP comes in. Cloud LDAP uses a cloud-based instance of an LDAP server to dole out access to applications remotely. Since it is an already existing LDAP server up in the cloud, it requires zero work to leverage and can be done so remotely. Cloud LDAP is available through LDAP-as-a-Service, a part of JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.

JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is a cloud directory that relies on the LDAP, SAML, and RADIUS protocols to provide a True Single Sign-On™ experience to IT organizations. As a hosted cloud solution, JumpCloud helps to alleviate many of the burdens that are generally associated with a traditional directory service. This comes in the form of endpoint management as well, regardless of platform (Windows®, Mac®, Linux®).

Learn More

Replacing RedHat OpenLDAP with Cloud LDAP isn’t the only benefit Directory-as-a-Service brings to an organization. To learn more, check out our blog or YouTube channel or drop us a line to get your questions answered directly. You can also see the product for yourself absolutely free by either scheduling a demo or trying it today. By signing up for JumpCloud, you get full reign of Directory-as-a-Service for up to ten users, free forever.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a Product Marketing Specialist at JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, music, and soccer.

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