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Portal UME data store and various options (Opinions needed!)

We are currently exploring our options with connecting the portal (UME) to various data sources for user authentication. Per EP 101, we all know that yes, we can authenticate against (1) the portal db (2) the portal DB + an SAP system and (3) the portal db + a LDAP directory. Now, of course, in most cases, #3 is the standard option. But now, we want to explore another option.....what if we set up synchronization with the LDAP directoy (ie. http://help.sap.com/saphelp_nw04/helpdata/en/95/49cb3a663bfc70e10000000a114084/frameset.htm). For example, our process is such that now, within SAP R/3, a "new hire" is created and then this triggers the creation of their userid/password in the external LDAP directory as well. Is it possible to then have synchronization set up so that the LDAP directory will then synchronize with the portal db and create the user in the portal db itself? (the example given in the help file seems to suggest this but does not provide any detail). Then the portal could authenticate users against it's own db? (ie. no need to make a "trip" to the LDAP directory). Soooooo first off, is this possible and if so, how? Second, what are the pros/cons of this approach versus the standard option of simply using the LDAP directory for authentication and storing only portal specific attributes in the portal's own db? Lastly any "gotchas" to be aware of (ie such as "yes this works fine for NDS but no way will it work for MS-AD" haha)?

oh...and one more...take the LDAP directory out of the picture for a moment...is it possible to "synchronize" directly from an SAP system (such as 4.6d or ECC5.0) directly with the portal db (as well as other SAP componenet systems)? (*this one is more out of curiousity than anything...past experience with CUA. haha)

thanks BIG TIME in advance!

Chris

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