Lightweight Directory Access Protocol or LDAP, is a protocol for retrieving information from a directory service like Active Directory.
Active Directory (AD) is Microsoft’s implementation of a directory service that, among other supports LDAP to query it’s data.
Difference between LDAP and Active Directory
- LDAP is much older than Active Directory and a huge part of Active directory comes from LDAP
- Active Directory is from Microsoft while LDAP is the result of an industry effort
- LDAP has largely worked outside of the Windows structure focusing on the Linux / Unix environment
- AD requires a Microsoft Domain Controller to be present and when it users are able to single sign-on to Windows resources that live within the domain structure
- LDAP doesn’t have the same concepts of domains or single sign-on
- LDAP is largely implemented with open source solutions and as a result has more flexibility than AD
- AD manages Windows devices through Group Policy Objects (GPOs).
OpenLDAP is a free, open source implementation of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol developed by the OpenLDAP Project