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System Administration Guide: Naming and Directory Services (DNS, NIS, and LDAP)
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NIS Elements

The NIS naming service is composed of the following elements:

The NIS Domain

An NIS domain is a collection of machines which share a common set of NIS maps. Each domain has a domain name and each machine sharing the common set of maps belongs to that domain.

Any machine can belong to a given domain, as long as there is a server for that domain's maps in the same network. An NIS client machine obtains its domain name and binds to an NIS server as part of its boot process.

NIS Daemons

NIS service is provided by five daemons as shown in Table 4-1. The NIS service is managed by the Service Management Facility. Administrative actions on this service, such as enabling, disabling, or restarting, can be performed by using the svcadm command. For an overview of SMF, refer to Chapter 16, Managing Services (Overview), in System Administration Guide: Basic Administration. Also refer to the svcadm(1M) and svcs(1) man pages for more details.

Table 4-1 NIS Daemons

Daemon

Function

ypserv

Server process

ypbind

Binding process

ypxfrd

High speed map transfer

rpc.yppasswdd

NIS password update daemon

** See NOTE below.**

rpc.ypupdated

Modifies other maps such as publickey


Note - rpc.yppasswdd considers all shells that begin with an r to be restricted. For example, if you are in /bin/rksh, you are not allowed to change from that shell to another one. If you have a shell that begins with r but is not intended to be restricted as such, refer to Chapter 7, NIS Troubleshooting for the workaround.


NIS Utilities

NIS service is supported by nine utilities as shown in Table 4-2.

Table 4-2 NIS Utilities

Utility

Function

makedbm

Creates dbm file for an NIS map

ypcat

Lists data in a map

ypinit

Builds and installs an NIS database and initializes NIS client's ypservers list.

ypmatch

Finds a specific entry in a map

yppoll

Gets a map order number from a server

yppush

Propagates data from NIS master to NIS slave server

ypset

Sets binding to a particular server

ypwhich

Lists name of the NIS server and nickname translation table

ypxfr

Transfers data from master to slave NIS server

NIS Maps

The information in NIS maps is stored in ndbm format. ypfiles(4) and ndbm(3C) explain the format of the map file.

NIS maps were designed to replace UNIX /etc files, as well as other configuration files, so they store much more than names and addresses. On a network running NIS, the NIS master server for each NIS domain maintains a set of NIS maps for other machines in the domain to query. NIS slave servers also maintain duplicates of the master server's maps. NIS client machines can obtain namespace information from either master or slave servers.

NIS maps are essentially two-column tables. One column is the key and the other column is information related to the key. NIS finds information for a client by searching through the keys. Some information is stored in several maps because each map uses a different key. For example, the names and addresses of machines are stored in two maps: hosts.byname and hosts.byaddr. When a server has a machine's name and needs to find its address, it looks in the hosts.byname map. When it has the address and needs to find the name, it looks in the hosts.byaddr map.

An NIS Makefile is stored in the /var/yp directory of machines designated as an NIS server at installation time. Running make in that directory causes makedbm to create or modify the default NIS maps from the input files.


Note - Always create maps on the master server, as maps created on a slave will not automatically be pushed to the master server.


Default NIS Maps

A default set of NIS maps are provided in the Solaris system. You might want to use all these maps or only some of them. NIS can also use whatever maps you create or add when you install other software products.

Default maps for an NIS domain are located in each server's /var/yp/domainname directory. For example, the maps that belong to the domain test.com are located in each server's /var/yp/test.com directory.

Table 4-3 describes the default NIS maps, information they contain, and whether the software consults the corresponding administrative files when NIS is running.

Table 4-3 NIS Map Descriptions

Map Name

Corresponding NIS Admin File

Description

audit_user

audit_user

Contains user auditing preselection data.

auth_attr

auth_attr

Contains authorization names and descriptions.

bootparams

bootparams

Contains path names of files clients need during boot: root, swap, possibly others.

ethers.byaddr

ethers

Contains machine names and Ethernet addresses. The Ethernet address is the key in the map.

ethers.byname

ethers

Same as ethers.byaddr, except the key is machine name instead of the Ethernet address.

exec_attr

exec_attr

Contains profile execution attributes.

group.bygid

group

Contains group security information with group ID as key.

group.byname

group

Contains group security information with group name as key.

hosts.byaddr

hosts

Contains machine name, and IP address, with IP address as key.

hosts.byname

hosts

Contains machine name and IP address, with machine (host) name as key.

mail.aliases

aliases

Contains aliases and mail addresses, with aliases as key.

mail.byaddr

aliases

Contains mail address and alias, with mail address as key.

netgroup.byhost

netgroup

Contains group name, user name and machine name.

netgroup.byuser

netgroup

Same as netgroup.byhost, except that key is user name.

netgroup

netgroup

Same as netgroup.byhost, except that key is group name.

netid.byname

passwd, hosts

group

Used for UNIX-style authentication. Contains machine name and mail address (including domain name). If there is a netid file available it is consulted in addition to the data available through the other files.

netmasks.byaddr

netmasks

Contains network mask to be used with IP submitting, with the address as key.

networks.byaddr

networks

Contains names of networks known to your system and their IP addresses, with the address as key.

networks.byname

networks

Same as networks.byaddr, except key is name of network.

passwd.adjunct.byname

passwd and shadow

Contains auditing information and the hidden password information for C2 clients.

passwd.byname

passwd and shadow

Contains password information with user name as key.

passwd.byuid

passwd and shadow

Same as passwd.byname, except that key is user ID.

prof_attr

prof_attr

Contains attributes for execution profiles.

protocols.byname

protocols

Contains network protocols known to your network.

protocols.bynumber

protocols

Same as protocols.byname, except that key is protocol number.

rpc.bynumber

rpc

Contains program number and name of RPCs known to your system. Key is RPC program number.

services.byname

services

Lists Internet services known to your network. Key is port or protocol.

services.byservice

services

Lists Internet services known to your network. Key is service name.

user_attr

user_attr

Contains extended attributes for users and roles.

ypservers

N/A

Lists NIS servers known to your network.

New ipnodes maps (ipnodes.byaddr and ipnodes.byname) are added to NIS. The maps store both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.


Note - Starting with Solaris Express 10/06, the Solaris OS does not have two separate hosts files. The /etc/inet/hosts file is the single hosts file that contains both IPv4 and IPv6 entries. You do not need to maintain IPv4 entries in two hosts files that always require synchronization. For backward compatibility, the /etc/inet/ipnodes file is replaced with a symbolic link of the same name to the /etc/inet/hosts file.

For more information, see the hosts(4) man page.

NIS clients and servers can communicate using either IPv4 or IPv6 RPC transports.


The ageing.byname mapping contains information used by yppasswdd to read and write password aging information to the DIT when the NIS-to-LDAP transition is implemented. If password aging is not being used, then it can be commented out of the mapping file. For more information about the NIS-to-LDAP transition, see Chapter 15, Transitioning From NIS to LDAP (Overview/Tasks).

Using NIS Maps

NIS makes updating network databases much simpler than with the /etc files system. You no longer have to change the administrative /etc files on every machine each time you modify the network environment.

For example, when you add a new machine to a network running NIS, you only have to update the input file in the master server and run make. This automatically updates the hosts.byname and hosts.byaddr maps. These maps are then transferred to any slave servers and are made available to all of the domain's client machines and their programs. When a client machine or application requests a machine name or address, the NIS server refers to the hosts.byname or hosts.byaddr map as appropriate and sends the requested information to the client.

You can use the ypcat command to display the values in a map. The ypcat basic format is the following.

% ypcat mapname

where mapname is the name of the map you want to examine or its nickname. If a map is composed only of keys, as in the case of ypservers, use ypcat -k. Otherwise, ypcat prints blank lines. The ypcat(1) man page describes more options for ypcat.

You can use the ypwhich command to determine which server is the master of a particular map. Type the following.

% ypwhich -m mapname

where mapname is the name or the nickname of the map whose master you want to find. ypwhich responds by displaying the name of the master server. For complete information, refer to the ypwhich(1) man page.

NIS Map Nicknames

Nicknames are aliases for full map names. To obtain a list of available map nicknames, such as passwd for passwd.byname, type ypcat -x or ypwhich -x.

Nicknames are stored in the /var/yp/nicknames file, which contains a map nickname followed by the fully specified name for the map, separated by a space. This list might be added to or modified. Currently, there is a limit of 500 nicknames.

NIS-Related Commands

The NIS service includes specialized daemons, system programs, and commands, which are summarized in the following table.

Table 4-4 NIS Command Summary

Command

Description

ypserv

Services NIS clients' requests for information from an NIS map. ypserv is a daemon that runs on NIS servers with a complete set of maps. At least one ypserv daemon must be present on the network for NIS service to function.

ypbind

Provides NIS server binding information to clients. It provides binding by finding a ypserv process that serves maps within the domain of the requesting client. ypbind must run on all servers and clients.

ypinit

Automatically creates maps for an NIS server from the input files. It is also used to construct the initial /var/yp/binding/domain/ypservers file on the clients. Use ypinit to set up the master NIS server and the slave NIS servers for the first time.

make

Updates NIS maps by reading the Makefile (when run in the /var/yp directory). You can use make to update all maps based on the input files or to update individual maps. The ypmake(1M) man page describes the functionality of make for NIS.

makedbm

makedbm takes an input file and converts it into dbm.dir and dbm.pag files – valid dbm files that NIS can use as maps. You can also use makedbm -u to disassemble a map, so that you can see the key-value pairs that comprise it.

ypxfr

Pulls an NIS map from a remote server to the local /var/yp/domain directory, using NIS itself as the transport medium. You can run ypxfr interactively, or periodically from a crontab file. It is also called by ypserv to initiate a transfer.

ypxfrd

Provides map transfers service for ypxfr requests (generally slave servers). It is run only on the master server.

yppush

Copies a new version of an NIS map from the NIS master server to its slaves. You run it on the master NIS server.

ypset

Tells a ypbind process to bind to a named NIS server. This is not for casual use and its use is discouraged because of security implications. See the ypset(1M) and ypbind(1M) man pages for information about the ypset and ypsetme options to the ypbind process.

yppoll

Tells which version of an NIS map is running on a server that you specify. It also lists the master server for the map.

ypcat

Displays the contents of an NIS map.

ypmatch

Prints the value for one or more specified keys in an NIS map. You cannot specify which version of the NIS server map you are seeing.

ypwhich

Shows which NIS server a client is using at the moment for NIS services, or, if invoked with the -m mapname option, which NIS server is master of each of the maps. If only -m is used, it displays the names of all the maps available and their respective master servers.

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  Published under the terms fo the Public Documentation License Version 1.01. Design by Interspire