One of the biggest concerns we have while using our computer is privacy and if you are running a company its importance is undefinable. There are quite a few methods to ensure privacy in Windows but if you don’t want anyone else to log in to your server, in that case, most companies adopt Microsoft Active Directory. With this, no one other than you and your team can log in to your system.
Microsoft Active Directory is nothing but a database built by Microsoft. You need to access it on a device running Windows Server and it will act as a domain controller. All the users in the Windows domain network need to communicate with the domain controller in order to log in to the server.
However, Microsoft Active Directory is not the only directory software in the market. Therefore, in this article, we are going to find some of the best free Microsoft Active Directory alternatives in the market.
Free Microsoft Active Directory Alternatives
The list is in no particular order as all the tools mentioned in this list has their own strength and weakness. The free Microsoft Active Directory Alternatives we are going to discuss in the article are:
- Apache Directory Studio
- Open LDAP
- 398 Directory Server
- Zentyal Active Directory
- Oracle Directory Server Enterprise Edition
Let us discuss them in detail.
1] Apache Directory Studio
The first app on our list is Apache Directory Studio. It is open-source software that is built on Java and LDAP3 certified directory servers. It is certified by Eclipse-based database utilities. Not only that it also supports Kerberos 5 and some other codes as well.
You can download the software from their official website. However, the software won’t work by just installing the software you must have Java 11 or later for it to work on your Windows PC. If you don’t have Java 11 you can download it from AdoptOpenJDK.
Another free and open-source software on our list is OpenLDAP. It is based on Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and can replace Microsoft Active Directory. With this, you will be an administrator of the LDAP database and can control, search, change, create, and remove items from it.
Using OpenLDAP is pretty simple, you can download and install it on your Windows computer. Then enjoy the feature such as managing password, importing and exporting of LDIF, scheme browsing and more feature that allows you to safeguard your data.
If you are after a cross-platform Microsoft Active Directory alternative then JXplorer is what you should be looking at. JXplorer can work on Windows, Linux, and many other platforms.
In JXplorer you can search, read, and edit any LDAP directory with the help of LDAP and DSML interface. It is quite customizable and flexible. It is built on JAVA and has a configurable HTML template.
There are two versions a free one and an Enterprise version. However, you should try the free version first, and if you think that it lacks something then upgrade.
One of the best Microsoft Active Directory alternatives for Linux and Unix-based devices, FreeIPA, is developed by Red Hat. It is a like-to-like replacement of the active directory and has adapted lots of its features.
It has a simple user interface that allows you to control clients simply by downloading the software on your computer. One of its main features is a security information management solution that constitutes Linux, DNS, NTP, and many more. So, If you are running a Unix-based Operating System then there is no better software to manage your clients than FreeIPA.
There are very few active directory software in the market that allows you to create a database on a Unix platform and work as a client on Windows, Samba is one of them. It is one of the best Microsoft Active Directory alternatives for the Unix platform as it works seamlessly on both Unix and Windows as a client.
With this, you will get the best of both worlds, the security of Unix and the simplicity of Windows. They have achieved this effortless connectivity with the help of the Common Internet File System or CIFS. It can also work with other non-Unix hosts such as VMS, AmigaOS, and NetWare.
A user can get all this for free by just downloading the software from their official website.
6] 398 Directory Server
398 Directory Server is another free Microsoft Active Directory alternative for Linux. It has a simple User Interface and one with minimal knowledge can access the software.
They have combined this UI with powerful software that is perfect for thousands of users to work on. The server is LDAPv3 compliant and does secure authentication and transport with the help of TLS and SASL.
You can download the software from their official website fedoraproject.org and install it on your Linux computer to enjoy this powerful tool for free.
OpenDJ as the name suggests is free open-source software with a simple UI that allows you to create a database like Microsoft Active Directory easily.
Therefore, if you are looking for a Microsoft Active Directory alternative then you may download OpenDJ.
8] Zentyal Active Directory
Zentyal Active Directory is Microsoft Active Directory alternative to create a server on the Linux platform. Just like JXplorer, Zentyal can allow Windows clients to work on the server even if the network is hosted on a Linux OS.
It has Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication and supports 6 protocols such as POP3, IMAP, SMTP, etc. So, if you are using Linus then you should at least download and install Zentyal Active Directory as it is free. It is a clean and secure solution that just works.
9] Oracle Directory Server Enterprise Edition
Oracle is an old folk in this game as it was called Sun Java System Directory Server. It is one of the best in the business and has tons of features. You can download the software from their official website.
Some of its features are Web Administrative Console, Active Directory synchronization, Directory Proxy, and more. Because of this, we can say that if you are looking for a heterogeneous application then Oracle Directory Server Enterprise Edition is the way to go.
Last but not least we have RazDC. It is a simple and light software that works on Linux and the best part about this is that it is free.
It is secure and compatible with Microsoft Active Directory with a simple UI that can adjust itself to any screen size. The only caveat is that it is not as powerful as some other software on the list, but if you want to use a light Microsoft Active Directory alternative then you should download RazDC.
Microsoft Active Directory is by far the best database solution built by Microsoft. However, it is not the only software out there in the market, that’s why you should give other software a try.
Read: Verification of prerequisites for Domain Controller promotion failed.