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Oracle® Fusion Middleware Administrator's Guide for Oracle Directory Integration Platform
11g Release 1 (11.1.1)

Part Number E10031-06
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5 Understanding the Oracle Directory Synchronization Service

This chapter discusses the synchronization profiles and connectors that link the Oracle back-end directory and connected directories. It contains these topics:

See Also:

Chapter 1, "Introduction to Oracle Identity Management Integration" for a conceptual discussion of Oracle Directory Integration Platform

5.1 Components Involved in Oracle Directory Synchronization

This section discusses the components involved in Oracle Directory synchronization. It contains these topics:

5.1.1 Connectors for Directory Synchronization

To synchronize between the Oracle back-end directory and a connected directory, Oracle Directory Integration Platform relies on a prepackaged connectivity solution called a connector. Minimally, this connector consists of a directory integration profile containing all the configuration information required for synchronization.

5.1.1.1 Using Connectors with Supported Interfaces

When synchronizing between the Oracle back-end directory and a connected directory, Oracle Directory Integration Platform uses one of these interfaces: DB, LDAP, tagged, or LDIF. If the connected directory uses one of these interfaces, then the connector requires only a directory integration profile for synchronization to occur. For example, the Oracle Directory Server Enterprise Edition connector provided with Oracle Internet Directory uses the LDAP interface to read the changes from Oracle Directory Server Enterprise Edition. The changes are in the format specific to Oracle Directory Server Enterprise Edition and can be determined by running ldapsearch in Oracle Directory Server Enterprise Edition.

5.1.1.2 Using Connectors Without Supported Interfaces

If a connected directory cannot use one of the interfaces supported by Oracle Directory Integration Platform, then, in addition to the directory integration profile, it requires an agent. The agent transforms the data from one of the formats supported by Oracle Directory Integration Platform into one supported by the connected directory. An example is the Oracle Human Resources connector. It has both a prepackaged integration profile and an Oracle Human Resources agent. To communicate with the Oracle back-end directory, the agent uses the tagged file format supported by Oracle Directory Integration Platform. To communicate with the Oracle Human Resources system, the agent uses SQL (through an OCI interface).

5.1.2 Directory Synchronization Profiles

A directory integration profile for synchronization, called a directory synchronization profile, contains all the configuration information required for synchronization including:

  • Direction of synchronization

    Some connected directories only receive data from the Oracle back-end directory—that is, they participate in export operations only. Others only supply data to the Oracle back-end directory—that is, they participate in import operations only. Still others participate in both import and export operations.

    A separate profile is used for each direction—that is, one profile for information coming into the Oracle back-end directory, and another for information going from the Oracle back-end directory to the connected directories.

  • Type of interface

    Some connected directories can receive data in any of the interfaces built into Oracle Directory Integration Platform. These interfaces include LDAP, tagged, DB (for read-only), and LDIF. For these connected directories, the Oracle Directory Synchronization Service performs the synchronization itself directly, using the information stored in the profile.

  • Mapping rules and formats

    In a directory synchronization environment, a typical set of entries from one domain can be moved to another domain. Similarly, a set of attributes can be mapped to another set of attributes.

    Mapping rules govern the conversion of attributes between a connected directory and the Oracle back-end directory. Each connector stores a set of these rules in the orclodipAttributeMappingRules attribute of its synchronization profile. The Oracle Directory Integration Platform uses these rules to map attributes as needed when exporting from the directory and interpreting data imported from a connected directory or file. When the Oracle Directory Integration Platform imports changes into the Oracle back-end directory, it converts the connected directory's change record into an LDAP change record following the mapping rules. Similarly, during export, the connector translates the Oracle back-end directory changes to the format understood by the connected directory.

  • Connection details of the connected directory

    These details include such information about the connected directory as host, port, mode of connection—that is, either SSL or non-SSL—and the connected directory credentials.

  • Other information

    Although the synchronization profile stores most of the information needed by a connector to synchronize the Oracle back-end directory with connected directories, some connectors may need more. This is because some operations require additional configuration information at runtime.

    You can store additional connector configuration information wherever and however you want. However, Oracle Directory Integration Platform enables you to store it in the synchronization profile as an attribute called orclODIPAgentConfigInfo. Its use is optional—that is, if a connector does not require such information, then leave this attribute empty.

    The configuration information can pertain to the connector, the connected directory, or both. The Oracle back-end directory and Oracle Directory Integration Platform do not modify this information. When the connector is invoked, the Oracle Directory Integration Platform provides it with the information in this attribute as a temporary file.

    See Also:

    The attribute reference chapter of the Oracle Identity Management User Reference for a list and descriptions of the attributes in a directory integration profile

5.2 How Synchronization Works

Depending on where the changes are made, synchronization can occur:

Regardless of the direction in which the data flows, it is assumed that:

This section contains these topics:

5.2.1 Synchronizing from the Back-end Directory to a Connected Directory

The Oracle back-end directory maintains a change log in which it stores incremental changes made to directory objects. It stores these changes sequentially based on the change log number.

Synchronization from the Oracle back-end directory to a connected directory makes use of this change log. Consequently, when running the Oracle Directory Integration Platform, you must start the Oracle back-end directory with the default setting in which change logging is enabled.

Each time the Oracle Directory Synchronization Service processes a synchronization profile, it:

  1. Retrieves the latest change log number up to which all changes have been applied.

  2. Checks each change log entry more recent than that number.

  3. Selects changes to be synchronized with the connected directory by using the filtering rules in the profile.

  4. Applies the mapping rules to the entry and makes the corresponding changes in the connected directory.

The appropriate entries or attributes are then updated in that connected directory. If the connected directory does not use DB, LDAP, tagged, or LDIF formats directly, then the agent identified in its profile is invoked. The number of the last change successfully used is then stored in the profile.

Periodically, the Oracle back-end directory purges the change log after all profiles have used what they need, and identifies where subsequent synchronization should begin.

Note:

To log all information for a synchronization profile, including entries that are synchronized, set the log level for the profile to All using Oracle Enterprise Manager Fusion Middleware Control or set the odip.profile.debuglevel parameter to a value of 63 using the manageSyncProfiles command.

5.2.2 Synchronizing from a Connected Directory to the Back-end Directory

When a connected directory uses DB, LDAP, tagged, or LDIF formats directly, changes to its entries or attributes can be automatically synchronized by the Oracle Directory Synchronization Service. Otherwise, the connector has an agent in its synchronization profile, which writes the changes to a file in the LDIF or tagged format. The Oracle Directory Synchronization Service then uses this file of connected directory data to update the Oracle back-end directory.

5.2.3 Synchronizing Directories with Interfaces Not Supported by the Back-end Directory

Some connected directories cannot receive data by using any of the interfaces supported by the Oracle back-end directories. Profiles for this type of directory contain an attribute identifying an "agent," which is a separate program for synchronization. The agent translates between the connected directory's unique format and a DB, LDAP, tagged, or LDIF file containing the synchronization data. The agent, as identified in the profile, is invoked by the Oracle Directory Synchronization Service.

When exporting data from the Oracle back-end directory to this type of connected directory, the Oracle Directory Synchronization Service creates the necessary file in the tagged or LDIF format. The agent then reads that file, translates it into the correct format for the receiving connected directory, and stores the data in that directory.

When importing data from this type of connected directory to the Oracle back-end directory, the agent creates the necessary tagged or LDIF format file. The Oracle Directory Synchronization Service then uses this file data to update the Oracle back-end directory.