System Administration Guide: IP Services

Selecting a Name Service and Directory Service

Oracle Solaris enables you to use three types of name services: local files, NIS, and DNS. Name services maintain critical information about the machines on a network, such as the host names, IP addresses, Ethernet addresses, and so forth. Oracle Solaris also gives you the option of using the LDAP directory service in addition to or instead of a name service. For an introduction to name services on Oracle Solaris, refer to Part I, About Naming and Directory Services, in System Administration Guide: Naming and Directory Services (DNS, NIS, and LDAP).

Network Databases

When you install the operating system, you supply the host name and IP address of your server, clients, or standalone system as part of the procedure. The Oracle Solaris installation program adds this information into the hosts and, in Solaris 10 11/06 and earlier Solaris 10 releases, the ipnodes network database. This database is part of a set of network databases that contain information necessary for TCP/IP operation on your network. The name service that you select for your network reads these databases.

The configuration of the network databases is critical. 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 you organize your network into an administrative domain. Network Databases and the nsswitch.conf File has detailed information on the set of network databases.

Using NIS or DNS as the Name Service

The NIS and DNS name services maintain network databases on several servers on the network. System Administration Guide: Naming and Directory Services (DNS, NIS, and LDAP) describes these name services and explains how to configure the databases. In addition, the guide explain the “namespace” and “administrative domain” concepts in detail.

Using Local Files as the Name Service

If you do not implement NIS, LDAP, or DNS, the network uses local files to provide the 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.

Note –

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.

Domain Names

Many networks organize their hosts and routers into a hierarchy of administrative domains. If you are using the NIS or DNS name service, you must select a domain name for your organization that is unique worldwide. To ensure that your domain name is unique, you should register the domain name with the InterNIC. If you plan to use DNS, you also need to register your domain name with the InterNIC.

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 can be located below the domain of the parent company. If the domain name has no other relationship, an organization can place its domain name directly under one of the existing top-level domains.

The following are a few examples of top-level domains:

You select the name that identifies your organization, with the provision that the name must be unique.

Administrative Subdivisions

The question of administrative subdivisions deals with matters of size and control. The more hosts and servers that you have in a network, the more complex your management task. You might want to handle such situations by setting up additional administrative divisions. Add networks of a particular class. Divide existing networks into subnets. The decision about setting up administrative subdivisions for your network is determined by the following factors: