how to use the Distributed Numeric Assignment (DNA) plug-in in 389 Directory Server

Hello everybody !  Today’s post is about the Distributed Numeric Assignment (or « DNA » ) plug-in for the 389 Directory Server (also known as the Fedora, Red Hat, and CentOS Directory Servers).  Although this plug-in has existed for quite some, there isn’t a whole lot of documentation about how to implement it in a real-world scenario.  I recently submitted some documentation to the maintainer of the 389 wiki, but since i’m not sure how, when, or in what form that documentation will come to exist on their site, i thought i’d expand on it here as well.  If you’ve made it this far, i’m going to assume that you’re already familiar with the basics of LDAP, and already have an instance of Directory Server up and running – if not, i suggest you take a look through the official Red Hat documentation in order to get you started.

By way of some background, it is worth noting that my basic requirement was simply to have a centralised back-end for authenticating SSH logins to the various machines in our park.  The actual numerical values for the UID and GID fields did not need to be the same, they simply needed to be both extant and unique for each user, with the further caveat that they should not collide with any existing values that might be defined locally on the machines.  This is a very basic set of requirements, so it is an excellent starting point for our example.  The first step is to activate the DNA plug-in via the console :

[TAB] Servers and Applications
Domain -> Server -> Server Group -> Directory Server
[SECTION] Configuration
Server -> Plug-ins -> Distributed Numeric Assignment
[X] Enable plug-in
Save

The Directory Server needs to be restarted in order for the activation to take effect.  This can either be done via the console, or via the command-line as normal.  The next step is to define how DNA will interact with new user data ; this is different from configuring the plug-in itself, in that we will be setting up a layer in between the plug-in and the user data that will allow certain values to be generated automatically (which is, of course, the end goal of this exercise).  Consider the following two LDIF snippets :

# uids
dn: cn=UID numbers,cn=Distributed Numeric Assignment Plugin,cn=plugins,cn=config
objectClass: top
objectClass: extensibleObject
cn: UID numbers
dnatype: uidNumber
dnamagicregen: 99999
dnafilter: (objectclass=posixAccount))
dnascope: dc=example,dc=com
dnanextvalue: 1000

# gids
dn: cn=GID numbers,cn=Distributed Numeric Assignment Plugin,cn=plugins,cn=config
objectClass: top
objectClass: extensibleObject
cn: GID numbers
dnatype: gidNumber
dnamagicregen: 99999
dnafilter: (|(objectclass=posixAccount)(objectclass=posixGroup))
dnascope: dc=example,dc=com
dnanextvalue: 1000

As you can see, they are nearly identical.  This configuration activates the DNA magic-number functionality for the UID and GID fields as shown in the Posix attributes section of the console, though the values used may require further explanation.  The only particular requirement for the magic number (specified by the « dnamagicregen » field) is that it be a value that cannot occur naturally, which is to say a value that would not be generated by the DNA plug-in, nor set manually at any time.  The default value is « 0 », but since this is clearly a number with meaning on the average Posix system, i would recommend a suitably large number that is unlikely to ever be used, such as « 99999 ».  Non-numerical values can technically be used too ; however, these will not be acceptable to the console, so unless you’re using a third-party interface (or doing everything from the commandline), a numerical value must be used.

The « dnanextvalue » field functionally indicates where the count will start from.  As noted previously, in order to avoid collisions with existing local entries on the various machines, i chose a start point of « 1000 », which was more than acceptable in my environment.  Once these two snippets are integrated via the commandline, simply re-start the Directory Server (again), and you’re good to go  From now on, any time that a new user is created with the value « 99999 » entered into either (or both) of the UID and GID Posix fields, DNA will automagically generate real values as appropriate.

Hope that helps – enjoy !

Author: phrawzty

I have a computer.

2 thoughts on “how to use the Distributed Numeric Assignment (DNA) plug-in in 389 Directory Server”

  1. Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

    Like

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