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What is a legal entity identifier?

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I am particularly interested in legal entity identifier numbers from the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF). What are these numbers for?

More specifically, how does an LEI differ from an EIN or D-U-N-S number?
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A legal entity identifier is a broad term for any number that points to a particular business entity. A Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is an international attempt to standardize legal entity identifiers across countries and registration systems.

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