LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. It is a method of organizing data for use with databases that follow LDAP standards. This is an open standard, so any organization can use the builds without paying a license fee.
An LDAP directory is optimized for read-on-write, an excellent choice for long-term storage but not for active databases. Lightweight Directory Access Protocol's free license and read-centric nature has made it a popular way to organize information in data warehouses.
The most confusing aspect of LDAP is what exactly the protocol is. Lightweight Directory Access Protocol is a method of organizing and storing data. An LDAP database is a database that stores information according to protocol. This point gets very muddy as the terminologies converge.
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol is both open standard and cross-platform. This means that any user on any system can easily use and modify LDAP databases.
It also easily handles virtual database systems, allowing several databases to act as a single entity on the client side. Finally, it incorporates Internet Protocols directly into its specifications, allowing it to be accessed over an Internet connection almost painlessly.
Because LDAP adds so much to it, the protocol has become very popular as a means of storing information over a wide network. Most modern database designs are capable of accessing LDAP databases even if they do not directly use Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. This has increased the popularity of the protocols because almost every major database has LDAP built in or available via a plugin.
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