Open source alternative for Active Directory

Open source alternative for Active Directory

Summary: Ever since Active Directory was introduced with Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft has had the upper hand for enterprise account management. Active Directory provides central administration which is essential in any enterprise or corporate environment.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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Ever since Active Directory was introduced with Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft has had the upper hand for enterprise account management. Active Directory provides central administration which is essential in any enterprise or corporate environment. But, the open source community responded with a product that is full featured, and very powerful. It's currently called the "389 Directory Server", and is developed as part of the Fedora Project (Red Hat's free Linux operating system).

Originally, it was called the Fedora Directory Server, introduced in 2005, but it was later renamed to 389 Directory Server. It can interface with Microsoft's Active Directory, and since it is LDAP based it is extremely fast and powerful, and can be interfaced with from other devices that support LDAP authentication. Even client authentication is possible (in Linux, configuring PAM to use it as an authentication service). It also offers a full featured console for easy remote administration.

A full list of features can be found on the Fedora Project page for 389 Directory Server:

http://directory.fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features

And screenshots are also available:

http://directory.fedoraproject.org/wiki/Screenshots

I have been quite impressed at the number of features and functionality of 389 Directory Server. Successful migrations from Windows Active Directory to 389 Directory Server have been documented. Finally, an open source solution to closed source Active Directory, without the hassles of Windows maintenance.

Topic: Open Source

Chris Clay

About Chris Clay

After administering Linux and Windows for over 17 years in multiple environments, my focus of this blog is to document my adventures in both operating systems to compare the two against each other. Past and present experiences have shown me that Linux can replace Windows and succeed in a vast variety of environments. Linux has proven itself many times over in the datacentre and is more than capable for the desktop.

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3 comments
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  • Good report, on a good product that is worth investigating. Thanks.
    j.a.watson@...
  • Thanks for the feedback, Jamie. This is definitely one of the more exciting projects out there, as it offers a gateway for migration away from locked in Windows customers. I am amazed at the plethora of additional applications that fully support 389 Directory Server as well, for instance Samba. This makes it a complete turnkey solution with great all around support.
    Chris_Clay
  • Anyone looked at FreeIPA? I stumbled upon it the other day. It integrates kerberos and a few other relevant services into one solution and is open source (Red Hat supported): http://freeipa.org/page/Main_Page
    anonymous