System Administration Guide: Naming and Directory Services (DNS, NIS, and LDAP)

NIS Servers

The NIS server does not have to be the same machine as the NFS file server.

NIS servers come in two varieties, master and slave. The machine designated as master server contains the set of maps that the system administrator creates and updates as necessary. Each NIS domain must have one, and only one, master server, which can propagate NIS updates with the least performance degradation.

You can designate additional NIS servers in the domain as slave servers. A slave server has a complete copy of the master set of NIS maps. Whenever the master server maps are updated, the updates are propagated among the slave servers. Slave servers can handle any overflow of requests from the master server, minimizing “server unavailable” errors.

Normally, the system administrator designates one master server for all NIS maps. However, because each individual NIS map has the machine name of the master server encoded within it, you could designate different servers to act as master and slave servers for different maps. To minimize confusion, designate a single server as the master for all the maps you create within a single domain. The examples in this chapter assume that one server is the master for all maps in the domain.