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LDAP vs Spring Security: What are the differences?

Developers describe LDAP as "A lightweight directory access protocol". It is a mature, flexible, and well supported standards-based mechanism for interacting with directory servers. It’s often used for authentication and storing information about users, groups, and applications, but an LDAP directory server is a fairly general-purpose data store and can be used in a wide variety of applications. On the other hand, Spring Security is detailed as "A powerful and highly customizable authentication and access-control framework". It is a framework that focuses on providing both authentication and authorization to Java applications. The real power of Spring Security is found in how easily it can be extended to meet custom requirements.

LDAP can be classified as a tool in the "User Management and Authentication" category, while Spring Security is grouped under "Security".

Some of the features offered by LDAP are:

  • Lightweight directory access protocol
  • Used for authentication and storing information
  • General-purpose data store

On the other hand, Spring Security provides the following key features:

  • Comprehensive
  • Servlet API integration
  • Protection against attacks

Spring Security is an open source tool with 5.08K GitHub stars and 4.09K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Spring Security's open source repository on GitHub.

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KeycloakKeycloakOktaOkta
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Spring SecuritySpring Security

I am working on building a platform in my company that will provide a single sign on to all of the internal products to the customer. To do that we need to build an Authorisation server to comply with the OIDC protocol. Earlier we had built the Auth server using the Spring Security OAuth project but since in Spring Security 5.x it is no longer supported we are planning to get over with it as well. Below are the 2 options that I was considering to replace the Spring Auth Server. 1. Keycloak 2. Okta 3. Auth0 Please advise which one to use.

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Replies (3)
Luca Ferrari
Solution Architect at Red Hat, Inc. · | 5 upvotes · 128K views
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KeycloakKeycloak

It isn't clear if beside the AuthZ requirement you had others, but given the scenario you described my suggestion would for you to go with Keycloak. First of all because you have already an onpremise IdP and with Keycloak you could maintain that setup (if privacy is a concern). Another important point is configuration and customization: I would assume with Spring OAuth you might have had some custom logic around authentication, this can be easily reconfigured in Keycloak by leveraging SPI (https://www.keycloak.org/docs/latest/server_development/index.html#_auth_spi). Finally AuthZ as a functionality is well developed, based on standard protocols and extensible on Keycloak (https://www.keycloak.org/docs/latest/authorization_services/)

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Sandor Racz
Recommends
KeycloakKeycloak

We have good experience using Keycloak for SSO with OIDC with our Spring Boot based applications. It's free, easy to install and configure, extensible - so I recommend it.

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Recommends
KeycloakKeycloak

You can also use Keycloak as an Identity Broker, which enables you to handle authentication on many different identity providers of your customers. With this setup, you are able to perform authorization tasks centralized.

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    What is LDAP?

    It is a mature, flexible, and well supported standards-based mechanism for interacting with directory servers. It’s often used for authentication and storing information about users, groups, and applications, but an LDAP directory server is a fairly general-purpose data store and can be used in a wide variety of applications.

    What is Spring Security?

    It is a framework that focuses on providing both authentication and authorization to Java applications. The real power of Spring Security is found in how easily it can be extended to meet custom requirements.

    Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

    What companies use LDAP?
    What companies use Spring Security?
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    What tools integrate with LDAP?
    What tools integrate with Spring Security?

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    What are some alternatives to LDAP and Spring Security?
    JSON Web Token
    JSON Web Token is an open standard that defines a compact and self-contained way for securely transmitting information between parties as a JSON object. This information can be verified and trusted because it is digitally signed.
    Auth0
    A set of unified APIs and tools that instantly enables Single Sign On and user management to all your applications.
    Keycloak
    It is an Open Source Identity and Access Management For Modern Applications and Services. It adds authentication to applications and secure services with minimum fuss. No need to deal with storing users or authenticating users. It's all available out of the box.
    Amazon Cognito
    You can create unique identities for your users through a number of public login providers (Amazon, Facebook, and Google) and also support unauthenticated guests. You can save app data locally on users’ devices allowing your applications to work even when the devices are offline.
    OAuth2
    It is an authorization framework that enables a third-party application to obtain limited access to an HTTP service, either on behalf of a resource owner by orchestrating an approval interaction between the resource owner and the HTTP service, or by allowing the third-party application to obtain access on its own behalf.
    See all alternatives