Mark Wilcox has a very informative post where he answers some question about directories and virtual directories. But he does go a bit far when he says:
I don’t cover pricing because there is a lot of negotiation that goes into it.
Anyway ADAM is a meta-directory solution and as with any meta-directory solution – the license cost is the smallest part of the total cost.
Meta-directory means you must synchronize data, backup that data, secure that data, make it highly available by replicating that data, monitor that all of that is working and assign someone to manage that data.
I shouldn’t have to remind you – that you’re already doing that with your existing sources – why would anyone want to redo all of that work? Virtualization allows you to increase your return on existing investments (ROEI) because you can leverage what you already have done in new ways.
Even if the license was free (I mean you could do what ADAM does with OpenLDAP or Fedora directory and they are free) – you can see that license cost is not the true total cost.
I can see where he is going with this; ADAM is often used in conjunction with ILM. But not always, and I’m not sure it’s even the majority. I have seen plenty of installations of ADAM that had nothing to do with meta-directories. ADAM is an LDAP directory server, end of story. If you label that a meta-directory solution, then so too would be Sun DS, OpenLDAP, and (ironically) OID.