Before having a look at LDAP, we should know about ‘Directory’.
What is directory structure?
The directory structure is the organization of files into a hierarchy of folders. It should be stable and scalable; it should not fundamentally change, only be added to. Computers have used the folder metaphor for decades as a way to help users keep track of where something can be found.
When information is stored in Directory Structure, it becomes very much feasible to manage hierarchical information, read/write to it. This directory structure can be scaled up to achieve three major functionalities on the web: Authentication, Authorization, and Personalization.
LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. LDAP is a standards based specification for interacting with directory data. Directory Services can implement support of LDAP to provide interoperability among third party applications.
LDAP is an open, industrial standard application protocol for reading and editing distributed directories over the network. In these directories, we have set of records in an organized hierarchical structure, similar to how a corporate email directory or a telephone directory looks like. LDAP enables anyone to locate resources in a network, be it on a public internet or corporate intranet. LDAP read operations are extremely fast than any other possible alternatives.
When we have looked at LDAP, lets get to know what an Active Directory is…
Active Directory is Microsoft’s implementation of directory service that, among other protocols, supports LDAP to query it’s data.