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Part: V Appendices > The Development of Lightweight Directory Access Protocol

The Development of Lightweight Directory Access Protocol

In 1993 the X.500 protocol standards were approved by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU); later these standards were also adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The purpose of the various protocols under this standard was to create a hierarchical database and the necessary protocols needed to access the database so that information from different applications such as those envisioned by the X.400 standards for e-mail could be located in a central database. Because the namespace provided by the X.500 standards was so flexible, developers realized that a directory could be created to store many different kinds of information, not just the e-mail data originally targeted by the development work on X.500.

The X.500 standards were developed to run on powerful machines (for their time) and were not intended to address the small, yet growing, PC market. Because of this, LDAP was developed as a “lightweight” set of protocol standards for accessing a directory, based (with some modifications) on the original directory envisioned by the X.500 developers. LDAP runs over transfer call protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP) networks. Because IP is so flexible in providing a networking service to higher-level protocols, it was easy to develop LDAP to make use of IP.


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