OpenLDAP is the directory server of choice if you want a completely free and open source solution to the directory server problem. Tom Jackiewicz is the author of Deploying OpenLDAP, a title that aims to dissolve many of the myths and cover the mechnanics of using OpenLDAP in your organization. I talked to him about his book, his job (managing OpenLDAP servers) and what he does when he isn’t working on an LDAP problem.
Could you summarize the main benefits of LDAP as a directory solution?There are many solutions to every problem. Some solutions are obviously better than others and they are widely used for that reason. LDAP was just one solution for a directory implementation. Some people insist that Sony’s BetaMax was a better solution than VHS–unfortunately for them, it just didn’t catch on. The main benefit of using LDAP as a directory solution is the same reason people use VHS now. There might be something better out there but people haven’t heard of it, therefore it gets no support and defeats the idea of having a centralized directory solution in place. Bigger and better things out there might exist but if they stand alone and don’t play well with others, they just don’t fit into the overall goals of your environment.If you deploy any of the LDAP implementations that exist today, you instantly have applications that can tie into your directory with ease. Because of this reason, what used to be a large scale integration project becomes something that can actually be accomplished. I’m way into standards. I guess LDAP was simple enough for everyone to implement and just caught on. If LDAP existed in the same form it does today but another directory solution was more accepted, maybe I’d be making arguments against using LDAP.Please read the rest of the interview at LinuxPlanet.