Gartner Research

The Role of Virtual Directory and Synchronization Services in Large-Scale Identity Deployments

Published: 22 February 2012

ID: G00227151

Analyst(s): Kevin Kampman


Virtual directory and synchronization services represent two approaches to accomplishing similar identity integration results. They each provide mechanisms to consolidate diverse identity information from multiple sources into either destination repositories or a dynamic view. Synchronization services are employed to gather, reconcile and publish physical collections of data; virtual directory services (VDSs) collect, reconcile and publish information dynamically. This assessment compares and contrasts the complementary features and capabilities of these solutions and how they are utilized for large-scale deployments.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • What's Needed to Achieve Identity Integration?
  • Understanding Directory Components and Relationships
    • Which Services Support Directory Integration?
  • Exploring Virtual Directory and Synchronization Services
    • Virtual Directory Services
    • Synchronization Services
    • Comparing Virtual Directory and Synchronization Services
  • The Decision Starts With the Data
    • Characteristics of Identity Data
    • Repository Characteristics
    • Correlation and Transformation
    • Identity Information Consumers
    • Influences on Performance and Availability
  • Which Should We Choose: Virtual Directory or Synchronization?
  • Deployment Examples
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

The Details

  • Use Case Examples
    • Create Identity
    • Modify Identity
    • Retrieve Identity
    • Authentication Example

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