An ISO OSI Directory Service with an information model, a namespace, a functional model, an authentication framework, and a distributed operation model. X.500 directory protocol is used for communication between a Directory User Agent and a Directory System Agent. To allow heterogeneous networks to share directory information, the ITU proposed a common structure called X.500. However, its complexity and lack of seamless Internet support led to the development of Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), which has continued to evolve under the aegis of the IETF. Despite its name, LDAP is too closely linked to X.500 to be "lightweight".

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