Solaris DHCP Administration Guide

Choosing the Data Store

You can choose to store the DHCP data in text files, binary files, or the NIS+ directory service. The following table summarizes the features of each type of data store, and recommends the environment to which each is best suited.

Table 2–3 Comparison of Data Stores

Data Store Type 




Recommended Environment 

Binary files 

High performance, high capacity.  

Low-maintenance, no database servers required. Contents must be viewed with DHCP Manager or dhtadm and pntadm. Regular file backups suggested.

Containers cannot be shared among DHCP servers. 

Midsize to large environments with many networks with thousands of clients per network. Useful for small to medium ISPs.  


Moderate performance and capacity, dependent upon NIS+ service's performance and capacity 

DHCP server system must be configured as a NIS+ client. Requires NIS+ service maintenance. Contents must be viewed with DHCP Manager or dhtadm and pntadm. Regular backups with nisbackup suggested.

DHCP data is distributed in NIS+, multiple servers can access the same containers.  

Small to midsize environments with up to 5000 clients per network.  

Text files 

Moderate performance, low capacity. 

Low-maintanence, no database servers required. ASCII format is readable without DHCP Manager, dhtadm, or pntadm. Regular file backups suggested.

Containers can be shared among DHCP servers if DHCP data is stored on one file system that is exported though an NFS mount point. 

Small environments with a few hundred to a thousand clients per network, less than 10,000 total clients. 

Traditional NIS (as opposed to NIS+) is not offered as a data store option because it does not support fast incremental updates. If your network uses NIS, you should use text files or binary files for your data store.