Directory Services in the Telco world

Last week I was invited to a meeting with one of our customers,
a wireless telecom operator happily  user of Sun Directory Server 5.2 (patch3) with a few tens of million entries.

With the convergence of voice and data, the telcos are looking
for ways to reduce the number of databases they have and consolidate the
data in a single repository such as LDAP-based directory services.
The discussion went on the subject of the data models, the differences
between the LDAP model and the relational model, drifting to which model would be the
most appropriate in consideration with the Generic User Profile recommendation from the IMS specifications. Clearly the discussion was reaching the limits of my expertise (while
I’m quite confident in the LDAP area, IMS is not something that I’ve
followed), but it was very informative.

The one thing that I really found interesting in this discussion: at no
time, the consideration of performances was mentioned. It seemed obvious
for all parties that LDAP directory services (and probably more
specifically our Directory Server) do have the capability of keeping
with the high throughput and low response time requirements of the
network equipments.

And in fact, they really do. We will have some evidence of this with Directory
Server Enterprise Edition
6.0 very soon.

OpenDS crossing ELBE

No, OpenDS is not moving to Central Europe (where the Elbe is a major waterway).

Matthew, developer on OpenDS and located in an office near mine, showed me how ELBE, an Eclipse plugin for Browsing and Editing LDAP directories, could be with OpenDS and more specifically the instance running on his laptop :

Snapshot ELBE OpenDS 

ELBE OpenDS Schema 

ELBE is really a cool and well designed tool… I personally just wished it runs in my preferred IDE: NetBeans.


Is this the biggest Directory Server in production ?

Another great Sun customer story has just been published on

This time it’s about Sina, one of the largest Web portals and a leading online media and value-added information service provider in China, who redeployed its Sun Java System Directory Server on 12 Sun Fire T1000 servers, powered by coolthreads.

But with over 230 million users in Sun Java System Directory Server, I believe that this is the largest Directory Server in production.

I’m amazed with what our customers are doing with our product, and I’m sure that this "record" (if it is one) will not stand long with Directory Server Enterprise Edition 6.0 coming soon, enabling new kinds of highly scalable and manageable directory services.

Addendum on Dec 20, 2006:

It seems that the current number of entries in the Directory is more around 120 than 230 as the article suggested. But according to one of the engineers involved in the project, the plan is to move to 600 millions soon. I’m still waiting for the deployment details: size of data, partitioning and performance numbers. May be early next year 😉