Several years ago, I had to go through the process of disconnecting Active Directory and untangling it from a number of services that depended on it. One of these cases was a migration off of all Microsoft services. Another was a result of a company I was involved in acquiring another company that had Active Directory deeply integrated into its infrastructure.
I hadn’t paid much attention to Active Directory or LDAP since them, but I recently found myself in a conversation with Raj Bhargava, the CEO of JumpCloud, about why there was no “Directory as a Service” product. Raj and the team at JumpCloud had begun exploring the notion of a cloud-based directory, I was intrigued and remember the first conversation well. I was driving up to my place in Keystone and Raj was explaining some of the customer feedback they were receiving on their initial product. They were getting positive feedback on the user management capabilities and when they added the ability to execute tasks on servers, the feedback was just add desktop and laptop OSs and voila you have a replacement for Active Directory. Of course, it’s not that easy, but the feedback hit us all like a ton of bricks. Conceptually it was very interesting.
I worked closely with the team over the summer to dig in and really understand the feedback. Turns out, it was more than just moving Active Directory to the cloud. We regularly heard that it was time for a new directory approach as LDAP and Active Directory have been the two dominant directories for the last few decades and there has been very little innovation around them. While Google Apps is awesome for email and apps, it doesn’t really function as a directory, at least, not in the way that IT organizations have come to view them.
As we talked to more people, it was clear that they were looking for a directory that could handle cloud and on-prem systems, variety of operating systems / device types, and the move to cloud services.
So, the JumpCloud team went to work and started executing on that concept. Given the depth of their existing product, adding directory capabilities wasn’t too challenging. Two weeks ago, JumpCloud launched the first ever Directory-as-a-Service offering.
The initial reception has been fantastic. Clearly there are a lot of companies that don’t want to deal with Microsoft Active Directory or manage LDAP themselves. And this was exactly the thesis around the need for a new directory approach that Raj and team had developed from their customer conversations.
If you are interested is using the service, you can do so for free – 10 users are free forever, and then it’s a paid offering. Drop me a note and I’ll connect you to the JumpCloud team or just go on over to JumpCloud and sign-up!
I’d love to hear what you think of the concept and the product if you have a chance to use it.