LDAP Directrories Explained: An Introduction and Analysis

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Overview

Directory technology promises to solve the problem of decentralized information that has arisen with the explosion of distributed computing. Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is a set of protocols that has become the Internet standard for accessing information directories. Until now, however, those curious about LDAP had no introductory source to learn how the technology can help them centrally manage information and reduce the cost of computing services.

LDAP Directories Explained provides technical managers and those new to directory services with a fundamental introduction to LDAP. This concise guide examines how the technology works and gives an overview of the most successful directory products in an easy-to-reference format.

Key topics include:


  • An overview of LDAP, including how directories differ from databases
  • The LDAP namespace, with an overview of DNS, LDAP object structure, and LDAP object naming
  • Client LDAP operations, including directory-enabled services and applications, searches, and the LDAP protocol
  • LDAP schema, including object classes, attributes, syntaxes, matching rules, and more
  • Directory management, including directory integration strategies, metadirectories, security, and more
  • LDAP vendors OpenLDAP, Microsoft Active Directory, and Directory Server
  • A case study of Stanford University's directory architecture, which illustrates how integral an LDAP directory can become to a business

If you are an information technology manager, LDAP Directories Explained will provide the technical foundation you need to make sound business decisions about LDAP. If you're a developer, this straightforward referencewill bring you quickly up to speed on LDAP and directories.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Brian Arkills works as a software engineer at the University of Washington, where he performs systems administration, analysis, and project management. While at Stanford University, Brian used LDAP technology to extend Stanford's existing Netscape Directory Services to Microsoft clients via Microsoft Active Directory. In doing so, he found that there were no quality books that provided a basic introduction to the technology. He wrote this guide to fill that need.

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Read an Excerpt

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is the predominant protocol used to communicate with directories. These days, directories are everywhere. Many enterprise software packages require a directory, for example, and companies seeking to reduce costs and streamline their business also implement a directory.

Not so long ago, I knew nothing about LDAP. Because Stanford University, my employer, was implementing and integrating Active Directory with its existing directory, I needed to understand LDAP and how directories worked. However, I found that the resources for a novice were sparse and hard to find, and that none of the books on the subject took me from novice to competency. During the course of the Stanford project, I met David Chappell and worked closely with him. This led to an invitation from Addison-Wesley, and I embarked on writing this book. I hope it fills the gap I found.Audience

This book is part of the Independent Technology Guide series, which focuses on providing an independent look at a technology combined with a no-nonsense approach. David Chappell, the series editor, likes to say that the series should be called "Big Pictures ÔRÕ Us." Each of the books in the series explains how the technology fits into the larger world. Technical managers turn to this series for explanations of all the acronyms and buzzwords they hear.

This book is also appropriate for someone who is more technically savvy, but looking to break into LDAP and directories. Almost every LDAP book on the market is written for developers, and those who donÕt write code are left in the dark. This book takes a different approach by providing a thorough introductionfor newcomers regardless of their orientation or technical background. Once youÕve finished this book, you might turn to Understanding and Deploying LDAP Directory Services by Tim Howes, Mark Smith, and Gordon Good to continue learning about LDAP, especially in the context of developing LDAP code.About the Book

The book is divided into two parts. Part I explores how LDAP and directories work in general. This book is unique in its approach to the topic from a standards-based, non-product-centric perspective. Part II explores three products to highlight how LDAP is used. If you donÕt have a lot of time to do research, this overview of the most popular LDAP products will help you compare existing products.Appendixes

There are also several appendixes to augment the material presented in the chapters. When additional material is available, I have included references in the relevant chapter. IÕd like to call your attention to two of the appendixes in particular. Appendix C is a case study of Stanford UniversityÕs directory architecture. It is intended to give you a real-world sense of how integral an LDAP directory can become to your business. Appendix G contains URLs for all the online reference material that I used while writing this book. Many people have indicated to me how invaluable this compilation of online resources was to their research.

Brian Arkills, October 2002

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Pt. I How LDAP Works 1
1 Overview of LDAP 3
2 LDAP Namespace 41
3 Client LDAP Operations 69
4 LDAP Schema 103
5 Directory Management 139
Pt. II How Vendors have Implemented LDAP 197
6 OpenLDAP 199
7 Microsoft Active Directory 227
8 Directory Server 271
App. A Client LDAP Operations Appendix 313
App. B Schema Appendix 317
App. C Stanford University Directory Architecture 327
App. D OpenLDAP Access Control 341
App. E Active Directory Controls Appendix 351
App. F Directory Server Appendix 357
App. G Online Reference Material 373
Index 387
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Preface

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is the predominant protocol used to communicate with directories. These days, directories are everywhere. Many enterprise software packages require a directory, for example, and companies seeking to reduce costs and streamline their business also implement a directory.

Not so long ago, I knew nothing about LDAP. Because Stanford University, my employer, was implementing and integrating Active Directory with its existing directory, I needed to understand LDAP and how directories worked. However, I found that the resources for a novice were sparse and hard to find, and that none of the books on the subject took me from novice to competency. During the course of the Stanford project, I met David Chappell and worked closely with him. This led to an invitation from Addison-Wesley, and I embarked on writing this book. I hope it fills the gap I found.

Audience

This book is part of the Independent Technology Guide series, which focuses on providing an independent look at a technology combined with a no-nonsense approach. David Chappell, the series editor, likes to say that the series should be called "Big Pictures ÔRÕ Us." Each of the books in the series explains how the technology fits into the larger world. Technical managers turn to this series for explanations of all the acronyms and buzzwords they hear.

This book is also appropriate for someone who is more technically savvy, but looking to break into LDAP and directories. Almost every LDAP book on the market is written for developers, and those who donÕt write code are left in the dark. This book takes a different approach by providing a thorough introduction for newcomers regardless of their orientation or technical background. Once youÕve finished this book, you might turn to Understanding and Deploying LDAP Directory Services by Tim Howes, Mark Smith, and Gordon Good to continue learning about LDAP, especially in the context of developing LDAP code.

About the Book

The book is divided into two parts. Part I explores how LDAP and directories work in general. This book is unique in its approach to the topic from a standards-based, non-product-centric perspective. Part II explores three products to highlight how LDAP is used. If you donÕt have a lot of time to do research, this overview of the most popular LDAP products will help you compare existing products.

Appendixes

There are also several appendixes to augment the material presented in the chapters. When additional material is available, I have included references in the relevant chapter. IÕd like to call your attention to two of the appendixes in particular. Appendix C is a case study of Stanford UniversityÕs directory architecture. It is intended to give you a real-world sense of how integral an LDAP directory can become to your business. Appendix G contains URLs for all the online reference material that I used while writing this book. Many people have indicated to me how invaluable this compilation of online resources was to their research.

Brian Arkills, October 2002

020178792XP01292003

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