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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
directory service
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database, networking A structured repository of information
on people and resources within an organisation, facilitating
management and communication.
On a LAN or WAN the directory service identifies all
aspects of the network including users, software, hardware,
and the various rights and policies assigned to each. As a
result applications can access information without knowing
where a particular resource is physically located, and users
interact oblivious to the network topology and protocols.
To allow heterogeneous networks to share directory
information the ITU proposed a common structure called
X.500. However, its complexity and lack of seamless
Internet support led to the development of LightweightDirectory Access Protocol (LDAP) which has continued to
evolve under the aegis of the IETF. Despite its name LDAP
is too closely linked to X.500 to be "lightweight".
LDAP was adopted by several companies such as NetscapeCommunications Corporation (Netscape Directory Server) and
has become a de facto standard for directory services.
Other LDAP compatible offerings include Novell, Inc.'s
products are available for Windows NT and Unix
integral part of Microsoft's Windows 2000 and although it
can interface with directory services running on other systems
it is not available for other platforms.