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The Most Complete History of Directory Services You Will Ever Find

April 13, 2012 19 comments
I started working with Directory Servers back in 1997 when Netscape was but a fledging company. Over the past 20 years a lot has changed. Companies have come and gone and code has changed hands more times than I care to remember. But one thing remains the same – that little effort started by Tim Howes, Mark Smith, and Gordon Good at the University of Michigan is as important today as it was two decades ago.
 
I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look back at the various companies that have carried the LDAP mantle for stand-alone directory servers and see where we are today. As such, I have created a table of pertinent events (see below) as well as a graphical timeline (see graphic).
 
I offer you the industry’s most most complete history of directory services that you will ever find – well, at least until the next one comes along.
 
 

Directory Services Timeline

The Most Complete History of Directory Services You Will Ever Find

(Until the next one comes along)

 

DateEvent

Source

1969First Arpanet node comes online; first RFC published.

1

1973Ethernet invented by Xerox PARC researchers.

1

1982TCP/IP replaces older Arpanet protocols on the Internet.

1

1982First distributed computing research paper on Grapevine published by Xerox PARC researchers.

1

1984Internet DNS comes online.

1

1986IETF formally chartered.

1

1989Quipu (X.500 software package) released.

1

1990Estimated number of Internet hosts exceeds 250,000.

1

1990First version of the X.500 standard published.

1

1991A team at CERN headed by Tim Berners-Lee releases the first World Wide Web software.

1

1992University of Michigan developers release the first LDAP software.

1

1993NDS debuts in Netware 4.0.

1

July 1993LDAP specification first published as RFC 1487.

1

December 1995First standalone LDAP server (SLAPD) ships as part of U-M LDAP 3.2 release.

1

April 1996Consortium of more than 40 leading software vendors endorses LDAP as the Internet directory service protocol of choice.

1

1996Netscape Hires Tim Howes, Mark Smith, and Gordon Good from University of Michigan.  Howes serves as a directory server architect.

2

September 1997Sun Microsystems releases Sun Directory Services 1.0, derived from U-M LDAP 3.2

3

November 1997LDAPv3 named the winner of the PC Magazine Award for Technical Excellence.

1

December 1997LDAPv3 approved as a proposed Internet Standard.

1

1998The OpenLDAP Project was started by Kurt Zeilenga.  The project started by cloning the LDAP reference source from the University Of Michigan.

5

January 1998Netscape ships the first commercial LDAPv3 directory server.

1

March 1998Innosoft acquires Mark Walh’s Critical Angle company, relesases LDAP directory server product 4.1 one month later.

4

July 1998Sun Microsystems ships Sun Directory Server 3.1, implementing LDAPv3 standards

3

July 1998Estimated number of Internet hosts exceeds 36 million.

1

1999AOL acquires Netscape and forms the iPlanet Alliance with Sun Microsystems.

6

March 1999Innosoft team, led by Mark Wahl, releases Innosoft Distributed Directory Server 5.0

3

March 2000Sun Microsystems acquires Innosoft, merges Innosoft directory code with iPlanet.  This forms the foundation for the iPlanet Directory Access Router.

3

October 2001The iPlanet Alliance ends and Sun and Netscape fork the codebase.

6

October 2004Apache Directory Server Top Level Project is formed after 1 year in incubation

3

December 2004RedHat Purchases Netscape Server products

2

2005Sun Microsystems initiates the OpenDS project.  An open source directory server based on the Java platform.

7

June 2005RedHat Releases Fedora Directory Server

2

October 2006Apache Directory Server 1.0 is released

3

2007UnboundID releases its directory server

12

2008AOL Stops Supporting Netscape Products

8

April 2009Oracle purchases Sun Microsystems

9

May 2009RedHat changes the Fedora Directory Server to 389 Directory Server

10

Feb 1, 2010ForgeRock is founded

3

Dec 2010ForgeRock releases OpenDJ

11

July 2011Oracle releases Oracle Unified Directory

13

Sources:

(1) Understanding and Deploying LDAP Directory Services; Second Edition; Timothy A. Howes, Ph.D., Mark C. Smith, and Gordon S. Good.
(2) 389 Directory Server; History (http://directory.fedoraproject.org/wiki/History).
(3) Email exchange with Ludovic Poitou (ForgeRock).
(4) Press Release, March 16th, 1998; “Innosoft Acquires LDAP Technology Leader Critical Angle Inc. (http://www.pmdf.process.com/press/critical-angle-acquire.html).
(5) OpenLDAP; Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenLDAP).
(6) iPlanet; Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPlanet).
(7) OpenDS; Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDS).
(8) Netscape; Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netscape).
(9) Press Release, April 20th, 2000; “Oracle Buys Sun” (http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/018363).
(10) 389 Directory Server; 389 Change FAQ (http://directory.fedoraproject.org/wiki/389_Change_FAQ).
(11) OpenDJ; Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDJ).
(12)  Email exchange with Nick Crown (UnboundID).
(13) Press Release, July 20th, 2011; “Oracle Announces Oracle Unified Directory 11g” (http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/434211).

Disjointed Identity

March 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Having my identity located in so many different databases is like wearing multiple watches

You never really know what time it is!

Image