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LDAP System Administration by Gerald Carter

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Chapter 6. Replacing NIS

One of LDAP’s chief advantages is its ability to consolidate multiple directory services into one. This chapter examines the pros and cons of using LDAP as a replacement for Sun’s Network Information Service (NIS). NIS is used primarily by Unix clients to centralize management of user information and passwords, hostnames and IP addresses, automount maps (files that control the mounting of remote file systems), and other administrative information. NIS clients for other operating systems, such as Windows NT 4.0, exist, though they aren’t particularly common.[1]

While the focus of this chapter is using an LDAP directory as a replacement for NIS domains, many other tools are used to distribute management information on Unix systems; for example, many sites use rsync(1) to push administrative files, such as /etc/passwd, to client machines. While this chapter assumes that you are replacing NIS with an LDAP directory, adapting these techniques I present to other schemes for sharing the data in /etc/passwd, /etc/hosts, and other key files should be straightforward:

  • Get the information you want to share into the directory.

  • Get your clients to use the directory.

  • Disable your old information-sharing mechanism.

There are two fundamental strategies for replacing NIS with an LDAP directory. The first solution, illustrated in Figure 6-1, involves setting up an NIS/LDAP gateway: i.e., an NIS server that accepts NIS queries, but answers the queries by retrieving information ...

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