Category Archives: Centralized Authentication

Hello Houston and Hello Dallas and Hello Centralized Authentication

After a short trip to Houston and back, I noted a few sites that are along I-45. Their’s Fairfield’s Sam’s Boat, which I vaguely remember visiting years ago at a random stop for dinner. I recall the place being fairly clean and the food wasn’t bad either. Their’s also a gas station that sells alot of beef jerky by Centerville, but I’ve never really bothered to try it. Their’s also a fancy new bakery thats opened in Corsicana right by the Home Depot. All this stuff is right by the highway.

Over the weekend, I encountered a very common problem when administering a network of servers. Even though the development team numbers only a handful of people, recreating the same logins and passwords on each machine can quickly become tedius. The common term for the solution to this problem is ‘Centralized Authentication’. Centralized authentication is solved using Active Directory on the MS platform. Since we’re developing our system in Linux, I needed to search for some alternatives to Active Directory. After a few quick Google searches, I stumbled upon a few open source alternatives and even some tutorials. LDAP Authentication in Linux – Covers OpenLDAP, pam_ldap, nss_ldap, PADL mirgration tools Central Authentication server (old but still pertinent) – Covers OpenLDAP, Hendal Kerberos, SSH, PAM, NSS configuration

When it comes to centralized authentication, you’ll see the term ‘LDAP’ thrown in the conversation. LDAP is an open standard TCP/IP communications protocol for connecting to different applications or servers. It isn’t a data store. In the near future, I do plan on implementing a centralized authentication server thats compatible with LDAP. This will not only give us a much better way to manage users on our network, but provide us with a well supported and mature communications protocol to program against in our new applications.