LDAPCon 2013 – a summary…

ldapcon_2013_logo_line_dateLast Monday and Tuesday (Nov 18-19), I was in Paris attending the 4th International LDAP Conference, an event I help to organize with LDAPGTF, a network of French actors in the LDAP and Identity space. ForgeRock was also one of the 3 gold sponsors of the conference along with Symas and Linagora.

LDAPCon 2013The conference happens every other year and is usually organized by volunteers from the community. This year, the French guys were the most motivated, especially Clément Oudot from Linagora, leader of the LDAP Tool Box and lemonLDAP projects, and Emmanuel Lecharny one of the most active developers on Apache Directory Server.

I was honored to be the keynote and first speaker of the conference and presented “The Shift to Identity Relationship Management“, which was well received and raised a lot of interest from the audience.

The first day was focusing more on the users of LDAP and directory services technologies, and several presentations were made about REST interfaces to directory services, including the standard in progress: SCIM.

Kirian Ayyagari, from the Apache Directory project, presented his work on SCIM and the eSCIMo project. Present for the first time at LDAPCon, Microsoft’s  Philippe Beraud spoke about Windows Azure Active Directory and its Graph API. And I talked about and demoed the REST to LDAP service that we’ve built in OpenDJ. For the demo, I used PostMan, a test client for HTTP and APIs, but also our newly open sourced sample application for Android : OpenDJ contact manager. In the afternoon, Peter Gietz talked about the work he did around SPML and SCIM leveraging OpenLDAP access log.

After many talks about REST, we had a series of talk around RBAC. Shawn McKinney presented the Fortress open source IAM project and more specifically the new work being done around RBAC. Then Peter, Shawn and Markus Widmer talked about the effort to build a common LDAP schema for RBAC. And Matthew Hardin talked about the OpenLDAP RBAC overlay bringing policy decisions within the directory  when deploying Fortress.

Then followed presentations about local directory proxy services for security based on OpenLDAP, about Red Hat FreeIPA (another first appearance at LDAPCon) and about OpenLDAP configuration management with Apache Directory Studio. Also Stefan Fabel came all the way from Hawaii ( Aloha ! ) to present a directory based application for managing and reporting publications by a university: an interesting story about building directory schema and data model.

The day ended with a presentation from Clement Oudot about OpenLDAP and the password policy overlay. As usual, talking about the LDAP password policy internet-draft raises the question of when it will be finally published as an RFC. While there is a consensus that it’s important to have a standard reference document for it, I’m failing to see how we can dedicate resources to achieve that goal. Let’s see if someone will stand up and take the leadership on that project.

After such a long day of talks and discussion, most of the attendees converged to a nearby pub where we enjoyed beers and food while winding down the day through endless discussions.

The second day of LDAPCon 2013 was more focused on developers and the development of directory services. It was a mix of status and presentations of open source directory projects like OpenDJ, OpenLDAP or LSC, some discussions about backend services, performance design considerations and benchmarks, a talk about Spring LDAP… As usual, we had a little bit of a musical introduction to Howard Chu‘s presentation.

LP0_1068I enjoyed the Benchmark presentation by Jillian Kozyra, which was lively, rational and outlining the major difference between open source based products and closed source ones (although all closed source products were anonymized due to license restrictions). It’s worth noting that Jillian is pretty new in the directory space and she seems to have tried to be as fair as possible with her tests, but she did say that the best documented product and the easiest one to install and deploy is OpenDJ. Yeah !!! 🙂

Another interesting talk was Christian Hollstein‘s about his “Distributed Virtual Transaction Directory Server“, a telco grade project he’s working on to serve the needs of the 4G network services (such as HSS, HLR…). It’s clear to me that telco operators and network equipment providers are now all converging to LDAP technologies for the network and this drives a lot of requirements on the products (something I knew since we started the OpenDS project at Sun, kept in mind while developing OpenDJ, even though right now our focus has mainly been on the large enterprises and consumer facing directory services).

All the slides of the conference have been made available online through the LDAPCon.org website and the Lanyrd event page. Audio has also been recorded and will be made available once processed. And as usual, all the photos that I took during the conference are publicly available in my Flickr LDAPCon 2013 Set. Feel free to copy for personal use.

It’s been a great edition of the LDAPCon and I’m looking forward to the next one, in 2 years !

Meanwhile I’d like to thanks the sponsors, all 75 attendees, the 19th speakers and the 2 organizers I had not mentioned yet : M.C. Jonathan Clarke and Benoit Mortier.

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