From Snom User Wiki
LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol which is a client-server protocol for accessing a directory service. It was initially used as a front-end to X.500, but can also be used with stand-alone and other kinds of directory servers. LDAP lets you locate organizations, individuals, and other resources such as files and devices in a network, whether on the Internet or on a corporate intranet, and whether or not you know the domain name, IP address, or geographic whereabouts. An LDAP directory can be distributed among many servers on a network, then replicated and synchronized regularly.
Perhaps the biggest plus for LDAP is that the users can access the central LDAP directory of your organization using LDAP aware applications such as snom IP-Phones without having the need to maintain local address books. The LDAP protocol is both cross-platform and standards-based, so applications needn't worry about the type of server hosting the directory. In fact, LDAP has found much wider industry acceptance because of its status as an Internet standard. Vendors are more willing to write LDAP integration into their products because they don't have to worry about what's at the other end. Your LDAP server could be any one of a number of open-source or commercial LDAP directory servers (or perhaps even a DBMS server with an LDAP interface), since interacting with any true LDAP server involves the same protocol, client connection package, and query commands.
LDAP is particularly useful for storing information that you wish to read from many locations, but update infrequently. For example, your company could store all of the following very efficiently in an LDAP directory:
- The company employee phone book and organizational chart
- External customer contact information
- Infrastructure services information, including NIS maps, email aliases, and so on
- Configuration information for distributed software packages
- Public certificates and security keys