A virtual directory server is a technology that offers a way to provide a consolidated view of user identity without creating an entire directory infrastructure. A virtual directory is a lightweight service that operates between applications and identity data. In other word, it is used as a middleware service. This ability to retrieve data frome disparate repositories makes virtual directory technology ideal for data consolidation in a distributed environment.
Issues of Data consolidation:
The key for business process integration is to migrate separate user populations from two companies to the same business applications and IT systems. But, the toughest part is to bring different user databases and directories under the same umbrella between m&a companies. Many applications like CRM, HR , Collaboration use LDAP protocal to implement virtual directory service. Both of the merging companies need to consolidate their data from different LDAP sources and Identity Repositories to a single LDAP directory. Data can also belong to non-LDAP source.
A practical application of a virtual-directory application would be to consolidate user data for an employee directory in a corporate portal. Portal information could be pulled from the human resources management system, an e-mail server, a knowledge-management application and CRM system, for instance.
The potential problem to consolidate all of the data into a single directory is that a> It may take time to prepare a single schema b> There may be problem to copy the data from other sources due to legal problem 3> Synchronization is going to take time and that may be a problem if you need to take action immediately. 4> Application may require their own views of data.
Technical Advantage of Virtual directory:
- You can deploy your data from different sources faster by avoiding synchronization
- Virtual directories let you access data structures already in place, regardless of format, while maintaining the security structure of the applications.
- A virtual directory acts as a proxy to the authoritative app, passing security credentials, accessing records and transforming data so that it can be displayed to users in the right context.
- They let companies work within the security parameters of existing directory and database apps rather than creating a new security model.
- With the help of Virtual directories, you can re-architect how users view ID information without changing underlying apps.
- you can also use it as a proxy to other apps
- Increase Return of Investment with Existing Infrastructure:
Identity data is not always stored in LDAP server. They may belong to the database for invidual CRM or HR application. So, you need to copy the data from LDAP compliant applications into a LDAP directory structure. Chances are high that you may need to copy the data into multiple directories because there may be one LDAP directory for each application. When each system requires backups, synchronization, the cost of managing these systems is going to be very high. The best way to get away this problem is to connect virual directory to HR/CRM etc. applications.
- Faster deployment:
If LDAP is used by applications for authentication, customization, determining what LDAP service to use, it can delay the whole deployment significantly. This is very much evident if there is multiple LDAP sources. You can eliminate this problem by using virtual directory. If an application requires specificdata, virtual directory presents the view of the data accordingly.