Virtual LDAP Directory

By Greg Keller Posted February 16, 2016

The LDAP protocol was created in the mid 1990s as a lighter weight directory service. The open source protocol was leveraged in the popular solution OpenLDAP. IT admins have been implementing LDAP for over two decades now. Most of these implementations have been on-premises with the IT team managing the solution. Until recently, there wasn’t a virtual LDAP directory service or managed solution available. Fortunately, modern Directory-as-a-Service platforms are including virtual LDAP services within their product.

On-Prem LDAP Sticker Shock

The benefits of an outsourced, virtual cloud-based LDAP directory service are enormous. IT organizations that have leveraged LDAP know that it is a tedious, painful solution to manage. The concept of LDAP was brilliant at the time: lightweight, flexible, and open. However, that has transmuted into a solution that is difficult to implement, customize, and maintain. Each device or application leverages LDAP in a slightly different way, and configurations are slightly different as well. To make matters worse, oftentimes the same setting may be used differently by similar applications. This requires a significant level of expertise by IT. While the software may be free, the implementation comes with a hefty price tag.

Virtual LDAP Directory Will Amaze You

The ongoing costs associated with LDAP touch many areas: implementation, management, hardware, hosting, high availability, security, and monitoring. These costs, along with the painful integration requirements, leave IT admins frustrated. Recently, a new breed of solution has appeared on the market. LDAP-as-a-Service is an outsourced LDAP directory service. The concept is for a third-party infrastructure provider to have hosted LDAP service. An organization’s users are housed in a virtual LDAP instance in the cloud. The solution ends up looking like a SaaS-based service where it is easy to scale, security is handled by the provider, and the ongoing maintenance is off-loaded. IT organizations simply input their users into the virtual LDAP directory.

Make Connections with Astonishing Ease

User Management

Connecting users to applications and network infrastructure gear becomes more standardized. Instead of many different implementations, there is standard approach to the schema, configuration, and integration. Applications, such as Jira, Confluence, Docker, MySQL, and OpenVPN are easier to integrate. Further, because the LDAP instance is hosted in the cloud, and many of these applications are now hosted in the cloud, the networking associated with securely connecting the two is far simpler.

JumpCloud’s Solutions Will Blow You Away

If you would like to learn more about how a virtual LDAP directory can support your Identity-as-a-Service plans, drop us a note. Or, take a look at JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®. DaaS serves as the core user management system for organizations. The core user database can leverage a variety of protocols, including LDAP, SAML, RADIUS, SSH, and more. Additionally, device OSs, such as Windows, Mac, and Linux, can be seamlessly managed from one central identity provider hosted in the cloud. Give DaaS a try and let us know what you think.

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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