OpenDS: serving LDAP in five minutes

While getting my diploma thesis done, I spent quite some time dealing with various implementations (both open-source and “proprietary”) of the LDAP protocol in order to get a unified naming and directory structure introduced to our environment. These days, dealing with many of the tools available so far basically was about spending quite some time on getting infrastructure set up and running, just to figure out the application doesn’t meet the requirements in one point or another, which was quite annoying at times.

A few years later (now…), I have just stumbled across OpenDS, an open-source LDAP implementation project mainly lead by Sun Microsystems it seems, and got interested by reading through the QuickSetupTool description which seemed rather straightforward and quite promising. And, indeed: Downloading and installing OpenDS was as easy as downloading and starting a Java Web Start application on your local machine, and, following that (given internet connection, of course), a couple of questions later, OpenDS was installed on my machine. For convenience’s sake, OpenDS comes with a simple status panel to monitor / start / stop the directory server:

ldap-console.jpg

Once having it running, indeed it was available to local clients, including e-mail clients with LDAP integration I used for testing, as well as my so far favorite Unix based LDAP client gq (the only thing worth mentioning of course is to eventually configure your applications to connect to LDAP using port 1398 as, given OpenDS is not running ‘root’, binding to the “standard” LDAP port is not allowed to the server):

ldap-gq.jpg

Well, what to say, before I am about to do some more test-driving using OpenDS: Haven’t had a working LDAP server up, basically configured and running in a time as short as this. Overally, OpenDS, at the very least talking about installation and “getting-started”, has proven how easily even server software could be deployed if just someone spent some time on getting this done right.

And, asides that: I am in no way employed or paid by Sun Microsystems, and yet I have to say that, looking at open-source development and infrastructure projects started or somehow pushed forth by Sun folks, we’re talking rather good quality at the moment: No matter whether the NetBeans IDE, the Glassfish Java EE application server, the oncoming new portal platform still known as Project WebSynergy, the OpenSolaris operating system, or OpenDS: Most of these do provide rather stable, usable, feature-laden code, in most cases exceptionally well-documented (especially OpenSolaris and Glassfish), and seem to be supported by a still small yet friendly and helpful crowd of people on mailing lists and in web forums. The tools added to ones everyday working toolbox surely could be worse than that…