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Re: What exactly does "backend" mean?

If the front end of MySQL cannot access an LDAP directory with a MySQL backend (albeit without actually going through LDAP) what good is using a MySQL backend? Doesn't that seem counter-intuitive?

You could speak SQL to an SQL-backend directly using on the SQL server's port, just not via the LDAP server.

If you do this, access to the SQL DB should be read-only, since OpenLDAP assumes that no one is messing with its data while it isn't looking. You might also be able to get away with making LDAP access read-only and making all changes via SQL; this might work, I'm not sure.

I think you will find that not many people run SQL backends to LDAP servers. That is in part because of these limitations. It is also because relational and object-oriented database are optomized for rather different tasks.

I do not run such a setup. If you are interested in setting one up, I'd ask on the OpenLDAP list if anyone does.