LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. It is a vendor-neutral, industry-standard application protocol used to access and manage directory information services and provides a means to manage user and group membership stored in Active Directory. It was developed by Tim Howes, Steve Kille and Wengyik Yeong in 1993. Originally, LDAP was just a network protocol used to get data out of an X.500 directory(a series of computer networking standards covering electronic directory services).
- Open Source: OpenLDAP is an open-source implementation of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol which means it can be downloaded freely.
- Supports TLS: Since LDAP supports Transport Layer Security, sensitive data can be protected.
- Flexibility: LDAP supports a wide range of databases to store directories allowing its users to choose the database according to the type of information the server needs to circulate.
- Popular: Due to well defined client API, number of LDAP-enabled applications are increasing.
- It has implementation in open-source which makes it free and easily accessible.
- It is lightweight considering other modern protocols.
- It includes strong encoding mechanisms and constraints and a number of authentication types through SASL (simple authentication and security layer) making it highly secure.
- It has a broad industry support.
- It is used by many services like DNS.
Disadvantages of LDAP
- LDAP does not support as many security features as X.500.
- It is quite complex.