The Solaris operating system gives you the option of using four types of name services: local files, NIS, NIS+, and DNS. Name services maintain critical information about the machines on a network, such as the host names, IP addresses, Ethernet addresses, and the like.
When you install the operating system, you supply the host name and IP address of your server, clients, or standalone machine as part of the procedure. The Solaris installation program enters this information into a network database called the hosts database. The hosts database is one of a set of network databases that contain information necessary for TCP/IP operation on your network. These databases are read by the name service you select for your network.
Setting up the network databases is a critical part of network configuration. Therefore, you need to decide which name service to use as part of the network planning process. Moreover, the decision to use name services also affects whether or not you organize your network into an administrative domain. Chapter 4, Configuring TCP/IP on the Network, has detailed information on the set of network databases.
The NIS, NIS+, or DNS name services maintain network databases on several servers on the network. Solaris Naming Setup and Configuration Guide fully describes these name services and explains how to set them up. It also explains the "namespace" and "administrative domain" concepts in complete detail. If you are changing name services from NIS to NIS+, refer to NIS+ Transition Guide. You should refer to these manuals to help you decide whether to use these name services on your network.
If you do not implement NIS, NIS+, or DNS, the network will use local files to provide name service. The term "local files" refers to the series of files in the /etc directory that the network databases use. The procedures in this book assume you are using local files for your name service, unless otherwise indicated.
If you decide to use local files as the name service for your network, you can set up another name service at a later date.
Many networks organize their hosts and routers into a hierarchy of administrative domains. If you are going to use NIS, NIS+, or the DNS name services, you must select a domain name for your organization that is unique worldwide. To ensure that your domain name is unique, you should register it with the InterNIC. This is especially important if you plan to use DNS.
The domain name structure is hierarchical. A new domain typically is located below an existing, related domain. For example, the domain name for a subsidiary company could be located below the domain of the parent company. If it has no other relationship, an organization can place its domain name directly under one of the existing top-level domains.
.com - Commercial companies (international in scope)
.edu - Educational institutions (international in scope)
.gov - U.S. government agencies
.fr - France
The name that identifies your organization is one that you select, with the provision that it is unique.
The question of administrative subdivisions deals with matters of size and control. The more hosts and servers you have in a network, the more complex your management task. You may wish to handle such situations by setting up additional administrative divisions in the form of more additional networks of a particular class or by dividing existing networks into subnets. The decision as to whether to set up administrative subdivisions for your network hinges on the following factors:
How large is the network?
A single network of several hundred hosts, all in the same physical location and requiring the same administrative services, can be handled by a single administrative division. On the other hand, a network of fewer machines, divided into a number of subnets and physically scattered over an extensive geographic area, would be likely to benefit from the establishment of several administrative subdivisions.
Do users on the network have similar needs?
For example, you may have a network that is confined to a single building and supports a relatively small number of machines. These machines are divided among a number of subnetworks, each supporting groups of users with different needs. Such a case could call for an administrative subdivision for each subnet.
Solaris Naming Administration Guide discusses administrative subdivisions in detail.