Before LDAP there was NIS…

Before centralized directory such LDAP existed, there was a system on UNIX called NIS.

This system was in fact a kind of authentification files shares (such /etc/passwd for users or /etc/groups for groups) and other informations as mail routing or share folders mapping.
In order to manage this system, several interfaces exists.One of them is Webmin.
Webmin is a web interface which acts directly on the files. It also contains an extensive list of plugins to manage a Linux system via a web interface.

With this tools, Linux server management is easier, but there is a caveat : Webmin must be installed on each server. Webmin can also be used to manage the contents of an LDAP tree, but it is limited to groups and users.

When LDAP is more and more used

Because IT infrastructure are growing up and complexifying, Information storage with LDAP technology is more and more used. We thus find information, other than users and groups, such as the configuration of DNS / DHCP, access rules for systems such as FreeRADIUS or Pykota. Given the multiplicity of types of data managed, an interface such as Webmin or integration LDIF file from the command line to populate the LDAP tree quickly shows its limits :

  • multiplicity of webmin services;
  • writing tedious openldap command (LDIF file);
  • careful use of tools such as ldapbrowser or Apache Directory Studio.

FusionDirectory addresses this issue of content management directory by providing:

  • a modular web interface as needed and asked to complete only the necessary information (no need to interfere at the level of schemas or information to be written in several places);
  • OpenLDAP schema for the manipulation of information BUT based on pre-existing schemas;
  • a subsystem for managing services that are not interoperable with LDAP via a client-server system.

In other word, FusionDirectory is for LDAP what Webmin is to flat file.