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Our firm belief at Univention is that openness in IT is the key to success. That’s why we released the complete source code for our products back in 2005, and we are the first vendor providing an enterprise-grade open source product that delivers the functionality of Microsoft Active Directory, which, of course, is based on the great work of the Samba Team and its community.
Since early 2013, we have continually supported openness with our Univention App Center, an integrated, open platform with one single identity and infrastructure management system for open (and also for closed-) source software. I am happy to report that the App Center is gaining good traction with companies such as Open-Xchange, Zarafa and ownCloud, who embraced it right from the start. The App Center makes it possible for them to provide customers with a complete solution that works right out of the box, and provides visibility for existing customers, which is especially important for new companies.
The success of the App Center continues to impress us as it continues to expand with new use cases. We crossed the magic mark of 42 apps with vendors such as Mandriva (software distribution), Asterisk (VoIP) and Bareos (Backup), and have a lot of new offerings in the pipeline. The reason behind this momentum is likely because most enterprise applications need to know which identities exist in an organization and which rights are associated with it. In the Microsoft world there is Active Directory for that, so applications just use it. But in the open source world there are many standards, such as /etc/passwd, NIS (is that still in use?), LDAP and Kerberos. Thus, if you set up a Debian box, you can’t just join it into a “domain” of other Linux boxes, you have to first define your own identity management system and app vendors do not know what you have chosen — so they cannot use reasonable defaults.
That is the challenge we are tackling. Univention Corporate Server solves this problem because you just join the domain. Soon we will support joining existing Microsoft domains. For application vendors this yields to a standard they can rely on. No fiddling with passwd files or manual LDAP setup and complex schema extensions, because it requires just a one-click installation from the App Center and everything works.
As we realize the potential of the App Center and standardize processes and the best APIs for app vendors, we see so many more opportunities. For example, cloud service providers are using Univention Corporate Server and the App Center to provide the whole App Catalogue as a set of well-integrated SaaS offerings with one central identity management. There are even more opportunities because the App Center provides an easy way to integrate these offerings with the Active Directory implementations that customers already have and use for identity management.
Visit Univention App Center, get an overview of the wide range of available apps and if you think something is missing, simply vote for your favorite app or get in touch with us to add your Enterprise app to Univention App Center.
What we envision is an open platform for app vendors, cloud services providers, resellers and most importantly our customers, which will encourage competition, choice and control in the cloud, and on premises.
We started this blog to share with you our excitement, experience, thoughts and ideas. This will be an open blog and we hope to generate interesting contributions from within Univention, from our partners and from you, too.
Peter H. Ganten is the founder and CEO of Univention.