With ownCloud it is possible to connect to one or more LDAP instances so existing users are able to login with their passwords and have email and pictures imported.
Even if the LDAP integration already works fast enough, speed and a responsive service have a big positive impact on the user experience. On the very first tab of the LDAP Backend configuration assistant a Base DN is supposed to be given.
Once the first tab is done or the necessary configuration steps completed, different Base DNs for both users and groups can be specified on the Advanced tab in the "Directory Settings" section. A helpful idea is to specify "sn" and "givenname" as search attributes, and it won't matter whether "alic" or "aliso" or "alice alison" or "alison alice" was used as search text, the desired user will be found. There is more and specific documentation about OpenLDAP Indexes (official doc) and also by Zytrax. However, if a somewhat bigger directory is in use, an improvable performance might be faced in some scenarios. At that time it is used to determine Users and Groups and related information in the subsequent configuration steps. Within the set up Group Base DN are still plenty-thousand of groups, but only one or two handful would suffice? When a user wants to look up someone else or also a group (for instance in the share dialog) ownCloud by default matches it against the corresponding display name attribute and attaches a wildcard to the entered term.
Many attributes can be enlisted and it may be useful to keep "displayname" as well and also add attributes for email, license plate number or favorite pet. Further, there is also an informative blog on Indexing on Active Directory as well as a short How-To.

I operate the backend via a different domain with a private SSL Cert, which will throw SSL errors for others. I had a new installation of owncloud and, once I started to use LDAP to secure external repositories (local mounts), the performance drop was really disappointing. Typically the first look at the Users page after configuring an LDAP connection can make the admin wait quite a while. There are some ways to minimize the time LDAP queries take, making ownCloud behave snappier. We even have a detection therefore, but while it provides ease of use, it pulls in a too wide search scope on bigger directories when in full operation.
The smaller the searchable trees are in LDAP the faster the queries run and the snappier the ownCloud experience will be.
Here it is necessary to get active on the LDAP server side and enable the MemberOf-Overlay first.
Select them directly, or introduce a custom schema as well and utilize an attribute in the filter.
However, the more attributes are chosen the more complex the resulting search filter will be and could take longer to process. However, this can be expensive at times and thus ownCloud does cache results to avoid querying the server for the same information repeatedly (e.g. While AD does provide it out of the box, I am not familiar with how it looks like on other LDAP servers as it is not standardized.
Many groups can delay loading of the Users page significantly at the moment and, depending on Sharing configuration, in the share dialog.

On OpenLDAP, the attributes used in the filters qualify for an eq index, while the search attributes for a sub index.
The file cache however had two issues: while it was still faster than no cache it was not terribly fast either, and it does not work well with concurrent operations. The assistant helps by compiling it, all that is to be done is just selecting the desired groups. Even if the server has an implementation which differs from the approach on OpenLDAP and AD, it is pretty likely that a working filter can be written manually. A wide selection of attributes enhances the user experience, but do not overdo it unnecessarily as it will slow things down. Or, is a custom LDAP schema available or possible to add so that a specific attribute for ownCloud users is provided?
This impacts only user and group searches, for instance in the share dialog or the users admin page.
The filter has to be entered manually then, however if inserting a new schema was mastered this is a breeze.

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