Difference between LDAP and Active Directory
LDAP vs Active Directory:
We use directories to easily access stored data. We find directories in contact with communication and computers as well. For those who are familiar with directory services in computers and networks, LDAP and Active Directory might not be a surprise. But still, there might be confusion over these concepts for those who are not that much familiar with either domain networks or domain controllers. In regards with computers, directory service is a software system. This software system stores, organizes and provides access to information in a directory. Active directory is a directory service, which used LDAP in it. Therefore, this paper aims at bringing forward a brief description on these two concepts and their differences.
What is a LDAP?
LDAP is an abbreviation for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. It is set of protocols for accessing information directories. Email and other programs use LDAP to look up information from a server. It accesses and maintains distributed directory information services over an Internet Protocol (IP) network. LDAP servers index all the data in their entries and “filters” may be used to select just the person or group wanted, and return just the information wanted. However LDAP is not limited to a database where only personnel details are stored. It is widely used to look up encryption certificates, pointers to printers and other services on a network and as LDAP is an open protocol application it is not needed not worry about the type of server hosting the directory. LDAP supports TCP/IP, which is necessary for any type of Internet access. When scanning into the origin of LDAP, it was originally intended to be a lightweight alternative protocol for accessing X.500 directory services through the simpler TCP/IP protocol stack.
What is Active Directory?
Active Directory, which is also denoted by AD is a directory service created by Microsoft for Windows Domain networks. It is a part of Windows 2000, although it was previewed in 1999. It was revised to extend functionality and improve administration in Windows Server 2003. Active Directory is often found in Windows Server Operating Systems, which is designed to handle a large number of read and search operations and a significantly smaller number of changes and updates. Server computers, in which Active Directory is run, are called domain controllers. Also Active Directory is a special-purpose database, which is not a registry replacement. Active Directory data is found hierarchical, replicated, and extensible and as it is replicated, dynamic data such as corporate stock prices or CPU performance need not to be stored. On the other hand, the Active Directory database consists of objects and attributes. Objects and attribute definitions are stored in the Active Directory schema.
What is the difference between LDAP and Active Directory?
Although Active directory and LDAP confusing and seem to be equal, there are slight differences between these two elements. Active Directory is a directory service that encompasses a wide variety of networking services and information about a network infrastructure while LDAP is an industry standard directory access protocol, making Active Directory widely accessible to management and query applications. Therefore, LDAP is necessary if an Active Directory is being used. Thus it is a must to conform to LDAP so that Active Directory can understand and respond to the request. While Active Directory provides authentication, directory, policy, and other services, LDAP queries and modifies items in directory service. Active Directory supports LDAPv3 and LDAPv2.
Telecommunications companies corporatized to create protocol for pulling data from a server across TCP/IP. As a result, LDAP was created in the 1980s and has been refined since then. Active Directory, on the other hand, is a product from Microsoft that has been developed based largely on LDAP, and it was previewed in 1999. Also, it was developed to ensure that it conforms and works flawlessly with LDAP. It was initially meant to provide data via LDAP but has grown to include other services as well. In a nutshell, Active Directory depends on LDAP. Moreover, LDAP can be used in any type of operating system, which is capable of running that application. But, as Active Directory was originally developed by Microsoft, it is found only in Windows operating systems, which is owned by Microsoft.
While LDAP servers exist as public servers, organizational servers for universities/corporations and smaller workgroup servers, AD is used in variety of networks from small networks with very few machines to very large networks with thousands of users. On the other hand, permissions on LDAP databases can be set by the administrator and Active Directory can easily synchronize updates to directories across servers.
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