Saturday, April 22, 2006
Database Trends in corporate America
At one time, use of lightweight directory-oriented products that leveraged the LDAP protocol was very popular for Internet applications. Nowadays, they seem to have taken a backseat and everyone is simply using relational databases. It seems as if the LDAP protocol is now stereotyped only for usage for lightweight identity stores and nothing more.
Industry analysts aren't even talking about this space and haven't produced "quadrants" in a long time. The guys over at Redmonk who provide wonderful insight into Sun products also never talk about Sun product offerings in this space. What's going on?
LDAP is highly optimized for read-intensive applications. An LDAP server that receives a request from an application takes responsibility for it. It may pass the request to other servers until it can be fulfilled, or it may refer the client to other servers, something which relational databases don't support until you start buying enterprise versions.
Replication of directory data is also required for high availability networks. Consider a directory supplying the authentication database for a business-critical Web application. If the directory is down, the Web application can't authenticate users, which means lost business. One way to reduce the risk is to make two or more copies of the directory data, each served by a separate machine. If one copy becomes inaccessible, the other can take over.
Microsoft, not only has built Active Directory and has exposed it via the LDAP protocol but also has released Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM). For those in the open source community, there is also OpenLDAP.
Would love to gain insight as to why industry analysts are talking about this space and why more enterprises aren't considering as part of their architectural thinking? What am I missing?
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