The Difference Between OpenLDAP and JumpCloud

By Greg Keller Posted November 20, 2015

OpenLDAP vs JumpCloud

As a new directory services choice, JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service is often compared to OpenLDAP. OpenLDAP is the leading open source directory solution built on top of the core directory services protocol, LDAP. Since its introduction over two decades ago, LDAP  has been a standard in the world of identity and access control. JumpCloud leverages the LDAP protocol and creates a cloud-based LDAP service. So while both JumpCloud and OpenLDAP both use the LDAP protocol there are significant differences between the two. Those differences will often dictate which solution is best for any given organization.

Main differences focus on these areas:

  1. Open source. For some organizations, the use of open source software is critical. With strong developers and technical personnel, these organizations can customize their LDAP implementation. OpenLDAP is an open source delivered solution with a strong community. JumpCloud leverages OpenLDAP, but doesn’t deliver its overall solution as an open source solution.
  2. Custom schema. If organizations need to customize their database schema to add or modify fields, the open source platform of OpenLDAP will make most sense. JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service provides a standard database schema reducing the complexity of implementation.
  3. Multi-platform device authentication. LDAP has historically worked best with *nix devices and in particular Linux devices. The challenge is that most organizations have more than just Linux devices. With Windows and Mac devices being popular, OpenLDAP breaks down as a choice. JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service provides native user management services for all three major platforms: Windows, Mac, and Linux. A central console to DaaS enables IT admins to control all devices from the web.
  4. Device management. OpenLDAP provides no device management capabilities, so if executing tasks or policies is critical to your organization, JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service is the best option. DaaS lets you remotely execute tasks and policies ad hoc, scheduled, or triggered through Webhooks across all of your devices. Device management tasks can include updating software, changing registry settings, updating configs, and modifying other items.
  5. SaaS delivery versus self-managed. If you are not interested in having on-premises equipment or spending IT time on managing LDAP, then your best option is to outsource the solution to be delivered as a SaaS-based service. If you have the time and expertise, OpenLDAP can be a viable option for you.

Comparing JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service and OpenLDAP is a little tricky since they are somewhat the same and then different as well. By understanding your detailed requirements, you’ll be able to determine which one is the best for managing your infrastructure. If you would like to learn more about how JumpCloud compares to OpenLDAP, drop us a note. Or feel free to sign up for a free account and try them both side-by-side to gain a better understanding.

Greg Keller

Greg is JumpCloud's Chief Product Officer, overseeing the product management team, product vision and go-to-market execution for the company's Directory-as-a-Service offering. The SaaS-based platform re-imagines Active Directory and LDAP for the cloud era, securely connecting and managing employees, their devices and IT applications.

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