Friday, August 22, 2008

ldap thoughts

I have spent the last day or so trying to get my head around LDAP/Catalyst role authorization. For this project, authentication, authorization and auditing are important considerations.

LDAP seems like a suitable choice for the first two, there is someone else who is worrying about provenance and auditing - all I have to do is make sure the hooks are in place.

My struggle with LDAP and Catalyst was metaphorically like building of the channel tunnel: working from two foreign lands and meeting in the middle. The benefit of this process is that I have a much better understanding of LDAP, and ultimatly, the system works.

LDAP is powerful and it is not obvious that this is the right tool for this deployment.

  • It is mature, stable and well documented.
  • It is scalable and can be integrated into existing infrastructure.
  • Many tools support it.
  • It is complicated to administer.
LDAP will allow this project to relate to exsting web applications which have been deployed already. There is a considerable problem with 'account' creep. Each new application requires the same users to create a new account: username/password - and this is a pain. LDAP provides a foundation apon which this can be centralised and ultimatly - single-sign-on can be implemented.

The mature, stable and widly deployed nature of LDAP means that the administration can be centralised.

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