1.4. Directory Design Overview

Planning the directory service before actual deployment is the most important task to ensure the success of the directory. The design process involves gathering data about the directory requirements, such as environment and data sources, users, and the applications that use the directory. This information is integral to designing an effective directory service because it helps identify the arrangement and functionality required.
The flexibility of Directory Server means the directory design can be reworked to meet unexpected or changing requirements, even after the Directory Server is deployed.

1.4.1. Design Process Outline

  1. The directory contains data such as user names, telephone numbers, and group details. This chapter analyzes the various sources of data in the organization and understand their relationship with one another. It describes the types of data that can be stored in the directory and other tasks to perform to design the contents of the Directory Server.
  2. The directory is designed to support one or more directory-enabled applications. These applications have requirements of the data stored in the directory, such as the file format. The directory schema determines the characteristics of the data stored in the directory. The standard schema shipped with Directory Server is introduced in this chapter, as well as a description of how to customize the schema and tips for maintaining a consistent schema.
  3. Along with determining what information is contained in the Directory Server, it is important to determine how that information is going to be organized and referenced. This chapter introduces the directory tree and gives an overview of the design of the data hierarchy. Sample directory tree designs are also provided.
  4. Topology design means how the directory tree is divided among multiple physical Directory Servers and how these servers communicate with one another. The general principles behind design, using multiple databases, the mechanisms available for linking the distributed data together, and how the directory itself keeps track of distributed data are all described in this chapter.
  5. When replication is used, multiple Directory Servers maintain the same directory data to increase performance and provide fault tolerance. This chapter describes how replication works, what kinds of data can be replicated, common replication scenarios, and tips for building a high-availability directory service.
  6. The information stored in the Red Hat Directory Server can by synchronized with information stored in Microsoft Active Directory databases for better integration with a mixed-platform infrastructure. This chapter describes how synchronization works, what kinds of data can be synched, and considerations for the type of information and locations in the directory tree which are best for synchronization.
  7. Finally, plan how to protect the data in the directory and design the other aspects of the service to meet the security requirements of the users and applications. This chapter covers common security threats, an overview of security methods, the steps involved in analyzing security needs, and tips for designing access controls and protecting the integrity of the directory data.

1.4.2. Deploying the Directory

The first step to deploying the Directory Server is installing a test server instance to make sure the service can handle the user load. If the service is not adequate in the initial configuration, adjust the design and test it again. Adjust the design until it is a robust service that you can confidently introduce to the enterprise.
For a comprehensive overview of creating and implementing a directory pilot, see Understanding and Deploying LDAP Directory Services (T. Howes, M. Smith, G. Good, Macmillan Technical Publishing, 1999).
After creating and tuning a successful test Directory Server instance, develop a plan to move the directory service to production which covers the following considerations:
  • An estimate of the required resources
  • A schedule of what needs to be accomplished and when
  • A set of criteria for measuring the success of the deployment
See the Directory Server Installation Guide for information on installing the directory service and the Directory Server Administrator's Guide for information on administering and maintaining the directory.