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LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol)

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

LDAP is a client/server protocol for accessing information in network directories such as Novell Directory Services (NDS), Microsoft Active Directory, or directories that follow the X.500 standard. However, LDAP has everything you need to make a directory service, including an information model, a naming model, and an API. RFC 2251 (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol version 3, December 1997) defines the most recent version of LDAP.

Several other topics are related to LDAP, including "Directory Services," "Name Services," and "Service Advertising and Discovery."

A directory service is to a network what white pages and yellow pages are to the telephone system. Like the white pages, a directory service can be used to look up a person or object (file service, printer, etc.) by name. Like the yellow pages, a directory service can be used to look up someone or something by the type of service they offer or some description. A directory service is essentially a lookup database, although network administrators use it to keep track of and manage network users and network resources.

This topic continues in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications" with a discussion of the following:

  • LDAP features
  • LDAP operation
  • LDAP Information Model and Schemas
  • LDAP developments
  • Replication strategies
  • LDAP server implementations

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