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The Apple Certified Guide to Using Mac OS X Server's Open Directory

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This short, four-hour course by authors Schoun Regan and David Pugh is the only Apple-Certified instruction on how to use Mac OS X Server's Open Directory tools.
This chapter is from the book


This lesson takes approximately 4 hours to complete.


Understand the four Open Directory service roles you can configure on Mac OS X Server

Configure Mac OS X Server as an Open Directory master

Locate and identify Open Directory–related log files

Use the Mac OS X Server DHCP service to provide Open Directory information to a Mac OS X computer

Examine the contents of an Open Directory archive and restore those contents

Describe authentication types

Understand basic Kerberos infrastructure

This lesson describes how using a directory service can help you manage users and resources on your network. You will learn about the features of Apple’s Open Directory and how Open Directory can be integrated with other directory services in a mixed environment. You will also learn how to set up and manage directories and user accounts with Server Admin, Workgroup Manager, and Directory Access—the three main tools you’ll use with Open Directory. Finally, you will become familiar with common Open Directory issues and learn how to correct them.

Open Directory is extremely versatile when dealing with a variety of other directory services, such as Active Directory, eDirectory, and Network Information Servers (NIS) directory servers. This lesson deals with a Mac OS X Server–to–Mac OS X directory service scenario.

Introducing Directory Services Concepts

Giving a user multiple user accounts on different computers can cause problems. For instance, if each computer in a network has its own authentication database, a user might have to remember a different password for each computer. Even if you assign the user the same password on every computer, the information can become inconsistent over time, because the user changes passwords in one location but forgets to do so in another. A single authentication database can solve this problem.

Directory services provide this central repository for information about the computers, applications, and users in an organization. With directory services, you can maintain consistent information about all the users—such as their names, passwords, and preferences—as well as about printers and other network resources. You can maintain this information in a single location, rather than on individual computers.

For example, users can freely log in to any Mac OS X computer that is bound to a Mac OS X Server providing a shared directory and have their session managed based on who they are or the group to which they belong. Using a shared directory service also permits the user’s home folder to be located on another server and automatically mounted on whatever computer the user logs into, so long as that computer is bound to the share directory.

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