LDAP (abbreviation for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) is an open standard, vendor agnostic, industry standard protocol for retrieving and maintaining directory information services over IP network.
Also that LDAP is a protocol which defines the “language” used for client programs to talk to servers (and servers to servers, too). LDAP is a way of speaking to Active Directory.
AD (Active Directory) is a directory service developed by Microsoft and provides a number of network-related services using standardized protocols. AD optionally support Kerberos based authentication and supports LDAP versions 2 and 3. Also, it provides DNS based services.
Related – What is Tree in Active Directory
Active Directory provides the ability for the administrator to manage the administration and security tasks from a central location. It stores all information and configuration details in a centralized database.AD manages Windows devices through Group Policy Objects (GPOs).
It is a centralized hierarchical directory database which contains information of all user accounts in the network.
KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LDAP AND AD –
|Abbreviation for||Lightweight Directory Access Protocol||Active Directory
|Philosophy||An application protocol for querying and modifying items in directory service providers like Active Directory, which supports a form of LDAP.||Active Directory is a database based system that provides authentication, directory, policy, and other services in a Windows environment. It is a centralized hierarchical directory database which contains information of all user accounts in the network.
|Functionality||LDAP is one of the protocols you can use to communicate with Active directory||AD is a directory services database
|Standard||LDAP is a standard||AD is Microsoft's proprietary
|Supported platforms||Focused on the Linux / Unix environment.||Microsoft’s AD is largely a directory for Windows users, devices, and applications
Download the difference table here.
Related – Active Directory vs Domain Controller
Know more about LDAP –
Know more about Active Directory Concepts –