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|System Administration Guide: Naming and Directory Services (DNS, NIS, and LDAP) Oracle Solaris 11 Express 11/10|
The Oracle Solaris platform provides the following naming services.
DNS, the Domain Name System (see Description of the DNS Naming Service)
/etc files, the original UNIX naming system (see Description of the /etc Files Naming Service)
NIS, the Network Information Service (see Description of the NIS Naming Service)
LDAP, the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (see Part IV, LDAP Naming Services Setup and Administration LDAP Naming Services Setup and Administration)
Most modern networks use two or more of these services in combination. When more than one service is used, the services are coordinated by the nsswitch.conf file which is discussed in Chapter 2, The Name Service Switch (Overview).
DNS is the naming service provided by the Internet for TCP/IP networks. DNS was developed so that machines on the network could be identified with common names instead of Internet addresses. DNS performs naming between hosts within your local administrative domain and across domain boundaries.
The collection of networked machines that use DNS are referred to as the DNS namespace. The DNS namespace can be divided into a hierarchy of domains. A DNS domain is a group of machines. Each domain is supported by two or more name servers, a principal server and one or more secondary servers. Each server implements DNS by running the in.named daemon. On the client's side, DNS is implemented through the “resolver.” The resolver's function is to resolve users' queries. The resolver queries a name server, which then returns either the requested information or a referral to another server.
Support for two extensions to the DNS protocol is now available. These two extensions are multicast DNS (mDNS) and DNS Service Discovery (DNS-SD). mDNS extends the Domain Name Service system to operate over link-local multicast. DNS-SD adds support for discovering network services over DNS.
The original host-based UNIX naming system was developed for standalone UNIX machines and then adapted for network use. Many old UNIX operating systems and machines still use this system, but the system is not well suited for large complex networks.
The Network Information Service (NIS) was developed independently of DNS. DNS makes communication simpler by using machine names instead of numerical IP addresses. NIS focuses on making network administration more manageable by providing centralized control over a variety of network information. NIS stores information about the network, machine names and addresses, users, and network services. This collection of network information is referred to as the NIS namespace.
NIS namespace information is stored in NIS maps. NIS maps were designed to replace UNIX /etc files, as well as other configuration files. NIS maps store much more than names and addresses. As a result, the NIS namespace has a large set of maps. See Working With NIS Maps for more information.
NIS uses a client-server arrangement which is similar to DNS. Replicated NIS servers provide services to NIS clients. The principal servers are called master servers, and for reliability, the servers have backup, or slave servers. Both master and slave servers use the NIS retrieval software and both store NIS maps. For more information on NIS Architecture and NIS Administration, see Chapter 5, Setting Up and Configuring NIS Service and Chapter 6, Administering NIS (Tasks).
The Oracle Solaris Operating System supports LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) in conjunction with the Sun Java System Directory Server (formerly Sun ONE Directory Server), as well as other LDAP directory servers.
For information about LDAP naming services, see Chapter 8, Introduction to LDAP Naming Services (Overview/Reference).
For information about transitioning from NIS to LDAP, see Chapter 15, Transitioning From NIS to LDAP (Overview/Tasks).
For information on single sign-on, as well as the setup and maintenance of Kerberos authentication services, see Part VI, Kerberos Service, in System Administration Guide: Security Services.