System Administration Guide: Naming and Directory Services (NIS+)

Structure of the NIS+ Namespace

The NIS+ namespace is the arrangement of information stored by NIS+. The namespace can be arranged in a variety of ways to suit the needs of an organization. For example, if an organization had three divisions, its NIS+ namespace would likely be divided into three parts, one for each division. Each part would store information about the users, machines, and network services in its division, but the parts could easily communicate with each other. Such an arrangement would make information easier for the users to access and for the administrators to maintain.

Although the arrangement of an NIS+ namespace can vary from site to site, all sites use the same structural components: directories, tables, and groups. These components are called NIS+ objects. NIS+ objects can be arranged into a hierarchy that resembles a UNIX file system. For example, the illustration below shows, on the left, a namespace that consists of three directory objects, three group objects, and three table objects; on the right it shows a UNIX file system that consists of three directories and three files:

Diagram compares UNIX file system with NIS+ namespace

Although an NIS+ namespace resembles a UNIX file system, it has five important differences: