Last week I put a survey in the SaaS group at LinkedIn. I was curious to find out what technology SaaS vendors chose to store the accounts of their users:
- SQL database?
- LDAP compatible directory?
- A NoSQL store (e.g. MongoDB)?
First responses show relational databases to be the clear favourite. The cited factors – familiarity with the technology and its flexibility as a data store.
There were no mentions of LDAP. Neither were of the recently touted “emerging” NoSQL stores such as MongoDB.
I terms of LDAP, I think a major factor is that directory servers are considered very much to be “intranet” and “sysadmin” stuff and hence they have nothing to do in an application provider’s environment.
An LDAP directory can, however, be beneficial to a SaaS vendor. It can help reduce the friction of user provision from corporate directories to the service as both sides would effectively use the same language and semantics. And coupled with a robust web LDAP service from NimbusDS it would allow the SaaS user store to be scripted directly from the web apps.