By Rajat Bhargava Posted October 19, 2015
LDAP through the open source solution OpenLDAP™ has long been a standard solution within IT organizations. LDAP has traditionally focused on connecting users to technical resources such as *nix servers and applications. While OpenLDAP has been quite popular, it requires a significant amount of skill and expertise to run. A virtual LDAP service that off-loads the heavy lifting from IT admins is quite helpful. The JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® platform offers SaaS-based LDAP-as-a-Service functionality.
Organizations have been leveraging LDAP for over two decades now. Created as an open source solution to simplify the directory services protocol, LDAP has become the defacto standard in the industry. While a number of other protocols have been created, LDAP has been the underlying directory service protocol for a large number of solutions. The benefits of LDAP include being lightweight, flexible, and widely supported. Many applications simply support the LDAP protocol because there are so many OpenLDAP identity providers in the market.
LDAP in the Cloud
OpenLDAP has historically been used to connect to Linux® servers, on-premises applications, WiFi networks, and, more recently, cloud infrastructure such as AWS. Applications can include legacy solutions like MySQL, OpenVPN, Jira, and Confluence, and more recent solutions such as Docker and AirWatch. A virtual LDAP service spins up LDAP servers in the cloud and seamlessly connects users to these applications, devices, and more. The IT organization avoids the headaches of installing and configuring LDAP which can be time consuming. Integrating applications with LDAP is notoriously difficult, but a third party provider supports many integrations with Knowledge Base articles and support, thus avoiding significant amounts of time and headaches. Further, an LDAP-as-a-Service solution takes care of scaling, high availability, on-going maintenance, and support – all valuable items for IT organizations to outsource.
A cloud-based LDAP service solves a number of challenges for IT organizations today. There is a significant shift to the cloud under way and the ability to move a core IT service to the cloud is powerful. As well, many of the applications and devices that users need to connect to are also in the cloud. If the LDAP server is hosted internally, it adds significant networking work for IT. By having a virtual LDAP service in the cloud, networking is simplified and security is pushed to the cloud-based LDAP server.
Virtual LDAP: The Way of the Future
Modern Directory-as-a-Service platforms are building in the capability of a virtual LDAP server. As more of the directory service is shifted to the cloud, supporting LDAP is a core capability. Additional capabilities of a SaaS-based directory service includes the core storage of identities, user management, RADIUS-as-a-Service, and True Single Sign-On™ among other capabilities. By integrating core directory capabilities into one solution, a single identity can be federated to a wide variety of different types of solutions.
If you would like to learn more about how a virtual LDAP service can support your Identity-as-a-Service needs, drop us a note. We’d be happy to discuss it with you. Or, feel free to try JumpCloud’s SaaS-based LDAP solution for yourself. Your first 10 users are free forever.