Technically, LDAP is a directory access protocol to an X.500 directory service, the OSI directory service. Initially, LDAP clients accessed gateways to the X.500 directory service. This gateway ran LDAP between the client and gateway and X.500's Directory Access Protocol (DAP) between the gateway and the X.500 server. DAP is a heavyweight protocol that operates over a full OSI protocol stack and requires a significant amount of computing resources. LDAP is designed to operate over TCP/IP and provides most of the functionality of DAP at a much lower cost.
While LDAP is still used to access X.500 directory service via gateways, LDAP is now more commonly directly implemented in X.500 servers.
The Standalone LDAP Daemon, or slapd(8), can be viewed as a lightweight X.500 directory server. That is, it does not implement the X.500's DAP nor does it support the complete X.500 models.
If you are already running a X.500 DAP service and you want to continue to do so, you can probably stop reading this guide. This guide is all about running LDAP via slapd(8), without running X.500 DAP. If you are not running X.500 DAP, want to stop running X.500 DAP, or have no immediate plans to run X.500 DAP, read on.
It is possible to replicate data from an LDAP directory server to a X.500 DAP DSA. This requires an LDAP/DAP gateway. OpenLDAP Software does not include such a gateway.