How-to: Understanding Mac OS X Open Directory

An introduction to directory services in the Mac environment.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Integrating directory services platforms often begins with modifying the schema of the platforms involved to be able to support the additional objects and attributes that make up Open Directory's schema. Often, the Open Directory schema will also be modified to accommodate the needs of the other platform. By supporting the additional information types, it becomes possible to not only perform queries between the platforms but also to store data for specific features, such as managed preferences. While this is a daunting task, the rewards can be worth it in large environments that need a broad solution for differing types of systems.

Hosting a Windows Domain

For those environments that need to support authentication from Windows workstations, Open Directory can host a Windows NT-style domain. In these scenarios, the Open Directory Master acts as a Primary Domain Controller, and replicas function as Backup Domain Controllers. This setup is not always perfect, and the hosted domain is not an Active Directory domain. However, it does provide for authentication and allows for the hosting of home directories and Windows profiles. And it works well in many environments.

Ryan Faas is a freelance writer and technology consultant specializing in Macintosh and multiplatform network issues. In addition to writing for Computerworld, he is a frequent contributor t InformIT.com. Ryan was also the co-author of Essential Mac OS X Panther Server Administration (O'Reilly Media, 2005) You can find more information about Ryan, his consulting services and recently published work at www.ryanfaas.com, and you can e-mail him at ryan@ryanfaas.com.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon