The Day We Knew Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS) Arrived

Written by Rajat Bhargava on October 22, 2014

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As many of you know, we have been advocating the areas of user management, server orchestration, and DevOps for a while now. We encapsulated all of that about a month ago with our announcement that we were introducing the first Directory-as-a-Service®. Our vision is to reimagine Microsoft Active Directory and LDAP for the cloud era. With the proliferation of Mac devices, the shift to Google Apps from Exchange, and the move to a cloud-based infrastructure, we’ve been educating companies around the world that there is a better way to control and manage your users, devices, networks, and IT applications. You can be more secure and efficient at the same time.

Of course, one of the areas where a cloud-based directory service is incredibly important is within your cloud-infrastructure. We’ve been talking about how we can help IT organizations that have servers located in AWS, for example. Connecting your core directory to your cloud servers is easier, efficient, and more secure. We’ve talked at length about the shortcomings of doing this manually or even utilizing Chef and Puppet. There’s no reason for cloud infrastructure to be treated separately from the rest of a company’s directory infrastructure. AWS recognized this problem too. Yesterday, they created a Windows-focused directory service based on Samba 4. It will help IT organizations manage their AWS services and Windows servers within VPC.

As the dominant provider of Infrastructure-as-a-Service, we applaud their leadership in creating new services for their customers. Also, we are heartened by their focus on the cloud directory services category. They are only focused on a small portion of the problem: connecting AWS Windows desktop and server user management. However, their move is an important signal to the entire IT community – it is critical to connect your devices and applications to a central directory in the cloud. Furthermore, they are saying that a cloud-based directory service is perfectly acceptable, safe, and the future.

As a startup taking on the challenge of creating ‘one directory to rule them all®’, we can use all the help that we can get to spread the word. AWS is helping put cloud-based directories on the map. While a small portion of our solution overlaps with AWS’ new Directory Service, the vast majority is complementary. At the core, JumpCloud® is a centralized directory service for your entire organization. We aim to be the central user store for an organization. IT admins can populate their users in our system and then connect them to their devices, IT applications, and networks.

Where we overlap is our ability to manage Windows users on AWS servers (within VPC) and desktops. Where we differ is that JumpCloud’s goal is to manage all of your users (not just the ones that need access to AWS Windows servers and desktops), all of your devices (laptops, desktops, and servers whether located at AWS or not), applications (could be Web-based apps, IT apps, etc.), and your networks. We want to support all of your authentication and authorization needs, including Macs, Linux, AWS, Office 365 and Google Apps. In short, JumpCloud’s goal is to connect and manage all of your users, devices, and IT applications.

Learn More About Our Directory-as-a-Service

We are excited to have pioneered the DaaS space. We are looking forward to working with AWS and their customers to be their core user directory. Are you an AWS customer interested in cloud-based directory services? Please drop us a note. We’d be happy to talk to you about DaaS, AWS, and directory services in general!

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