LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. It is a protocol used for accessing and managing directory information services. LDAP is designed to provide a standardized way to access and interact with directory servers, which store and organize information about users, groups, devices, and other resources in a networked environment.
LDAP follows a client-server model, where a client application communicates with an LDAP server to perform various operations on directory entries. Some common operations include searching for specific entries, adding new entries, modifying existing entries, and deleting entries.
LDAP directories are hierarchical in nature, organized in a tree-like structure called the Directory Information Tree (DIT). Each entry in the tree represents an object, such as a user or a group, and is identified by a unique Distinguished Name (DN). Entries can have attributes that store specific information about the object, such as name, email address, or phone number.
LDAP is widely used in various applications and services, including user authentication, address books, organizational directories, and network services. It provides a standardized and efficient way to access and manage directory information across different platforms and systems.
It’s important to note that LDAP itself is a protocol specification, and there are multiple LDAP server implementations available, both commercial and open-source, such as OpenLDAP, Microsoft Active Directory, and Novell eDirectory.