Configure LDAP

When an OrangeFS server receives a certificate from a client, it performs identity mapping with the certificate. The certificate contains a subject distinguished name (DN) to identify it, while the server needs a numerical user ID (UID) and primary group ID (GID). In order to do the mapping, an LDAP directory is used. The subject DN is transformed in a configurable way to locate a user object in the LDAP directory; the object contains the UID and GID.

OrangeFS is designed to use OpenLDAP client libraries, which are available for most distributions. The OrangeFS server can communicate with an OpenLDAP server or a standard LDAP server from another organization.

For more information on LDAP see

Planning for LDAP Identity Mapping

First, identify which users will be allowed to use OrangeFS. These users will require user certificates and must have a user object in the LDAP directory. Information on creating users in LDAP is provided below.

You might be able to leverage an existing LDAP directory. Use the information below to evaluate how existing LDAP user objects can be utilized.

The next step is to identify a string to be uniquely associated with each user. The most obvious is the login name, the first field of /etc/passwd, with which users log in. However, if you have existing LDAP users, use their naming attribute values (often the “CN” or “UID” attribute).  The description field of /etc/passwd could also be used. Any string will work as long as it is unique to each user. This value is the “user name”.

Determine the naming attribute for user objects in your LDAP directory. When creating a new LDAP directory, Common Name (CN) is a good choice.

Next, determine where in LDAP the users will be, or are, stored. LDAP directories are hierarchical trees, where objects are identified by distinguished names (DNs). A DN consists of segments in the form attribute=value, separated by commas. The DN “ou=Users,dc=acme,dc=com” indicates an organizational unit (OU) named Users under the acme domain context (DC), which in turn is in the com DC. Objects containing other objects are called containers; some typical container classes are domain contexts (DC), organizations (O) and organizational units (OU). Often the DNS name of an organization is used to form the domain contexts at the root of the directory, for example becomes “dc=acme,dc=com”.

Determine the DN of the container that contains all the users to enable for OrangeFS. In some cases the users are in multiple containers; if so, select the container at the “highest” point that contains all subcontainers with users. For example if users are in both “ou=Engineering,ou=Users…” and “ou=Sales,ou=Users…”, make a note of “ou=Users” as the container. Also note whether the users are in one container or multiple containers.

Finally, you must know where the UID and GID values are stored in LDAP. Objects in LDAP have named attributes, which can have one or more values. The default attributes that store the UID and GID are uidNumber and gidNumber. If you are using the OpenLDAP server, use the schema file nis.schema to enable these attributes. (See the OpenLDAP documentation for more information.)

The list below summarizes information needed to configure OrangeFS for LDAP identity mapping.

  1. Which users to enable for OrangeFS
  2. A user name to uniquely identify each user. For existing LDAP installations, this should correspond to the naming attribute of the existing user objects (often “CN” or “UID”).
  3. The naming attribute used for user objects in LDAP, often Common Name (CN) or UID.
  4. The DN of the LDAP container where user objects are stored. Users can be stored in one container or multiple containers.
  5. The names of the UID- and GID-storing attributes, usually uidNumber and gidNumber.

Planning for LDAP Binding

“Binding” means connecting and authenticating to an LDAP server. You must have the following information to bind to your LDAP server:

Because the password is not encrypted, a user should be created for OrangeFS usage with only the rights described above.

Server Configuration File Settings

The LDAP settings are specified in the OrangeFS configuration file, which is identical for each server. The <LDAP> tag within the <Security> tag contains the settings:

               [Hosts {list of LDAP URIs}]
               [BindDN {DN}]
               [BindPassword {password} or {file:path}]
               [SearchMode “CN” or “DN”]
               [SearchRoot {DN}]
               [SearchClass {Class name}]
               [SearchAttr {Attrname}]
               [SearchScope “onelevel” or “subtree”]
               [UIDAttr {Attrname}]
               [GIDAttr {Attrname}]
               [SearchTimeout {timeout (secs)}]

The settings are defined below.

Setting Default
Hosts: a list of LDAP URIs separated by spaces, for example “ldaps://”. “ldaps://localhost”.
BindDN: an LDAP DN specifying the user that will connect to LDAP will bind anonymously
BindPassword: the password for the binding user, or the string “file:” followed by a path to a file from which to read the password.  no password
SearchMode: “CN” or “DN”. See below for more information. “CN”
SearchRoot: the DN of the container with the user objects.
Note You must specify this value if you are using an OpenLDAP server.
the root of the directory
SearchClass: the object class of the user objects. “inetOrgPerson”
SearchAttr: the naming attribute to match against the certificate CN. “CN”
SearchScope: “onelevel” or “subtree”. Whether to search only the SearchRoot container (“onelevel”) or that container and all child containers (“subtree”).  “subtree”
UIDAttr: the name of the UID-storing attribute. “uidNumber”
GIDAttr: the name of the GID-storing attribute. “gidNumber”
SearchTimeout: timeout in seconds for LDAP searches.  “15”

You should have noted these values during “Planning for LDAP Binding” described above.

Searching LDAP for Identities

The OrangeFS server searches LDAP for the user object based on the user certificate’s subject DN.

If the SearchMode is “CN”, the CN (common name) of the certificate subject is used. It must match an object meeting these criteria:

  1. It is in or under the SearchRoot container (depending on SearchMode).

  2. It has an object class equal to the SearchClass

  3. It has its SearchAttr attribute matching the certificate CN. The search filter used is:

(&(objectClass={SearchClass})({SearchAttr}={Certificate CN}))

The UID and GID will be retrieved from the UIDAttr and GIDAttr attributes of the object. This UID and GID will be used for subsequent file system operations. If this search fails, an error will be printed to the server log and “operation not permitted” returned to the client.

If the SearchMode is “DN”, the certificate subject DN must match the LDAP user object DN exactly (case-insensitive). In this mode, SearchRoot, SearchClass, SearchAttr and SearchScopeare not used.

OrangeFS will retry the connection if it can’t contact the LDAP server. It will try different servers on the URI list.

LDAP and System Identities

You can specify that an LDAP user object have a different UID/GID from its corresponding system user. For example, the system user “jsmith” can have UID/GID 500/100, but the LDAP user corresponding to “jsmith” might have UID/GID 550/500. However, OrangeFS utilities will still show the system login name associated with the OrangeFS UID/GID. In our example, OrangeFS utilities display files as owned by system UID 550 rather than “jsmith”. If you are using nsswitch (Name Service Switch) with LDAP you will not have this conflict. Otherwise, it is not recommended that the identities have mismatching UID/GIDs.

Creating a New LDAP Directory

The examples/certs directory included in the distribution contains scripts and files that can be used to create a new OpenLDAP directory.

The script will create a new OpenLDAP directory and add some basic objects. Usage of the script is:

./ [-p {prefix}] [-a {admin dn}] [-s {suffix dn}] [-w {admin password}]

The script will create the new LDAP directory and add two organizational units, named “Users” and “Groups.” A user object for the system root account will be created with a random password. See “Adding Users to LDAP” below for information on changing the password.

Important  The directory created is not secure. User passwords are stored in plaintext, and SSL/TLS security is not enabled. The directory should only be used for testing, or as a starting point for a secure directory. Consult the OpenLDAP documentation for information on securing the directory.

These statements in the OrangeFS configuration file will configure this directory.

               Hosts ldap://{hostname}
               BindDN {admin dn}
               BindPassword {admin password}
               SearchRoot ou=Users,{suffix dn}
               SearchScope onelevel

Substitute the values in braces for the values used when creating the LDAP directory. All unspecified values are equal to the defaults.

Adding Users to LDAP

The ldapadd utility is used to add objects, including users, to an LDAP directory. LDAP utilities use LDIF files to describe objects. Consult the LDIF RFC ( for more information on the LDIF file format.

In examples/certs, the script will create a user based on the information for that user in /etc/passwd:

./ [-D {admin dn}] [-w {admin pw}] {logon name} {container dn}

The script will create a user with the CN equal to the logon name, located in the specified container. The uidNumber, gidNumber, displayName, homeDirectory and login shell attributes will be set to correspond to the system account fields (displayName corresponds to description). A random password will be created.

To change a user password, the ldapmodify utility is used. A wrapper script is provided in examples/certs:

./ [-D {admin dn}] [-w {admin pw}] {user dn} {password}

For example:

./ -D cn=admin,dc=acme,dc=com -w ldappwd cn=jsmith,ou=users,dc=acme,dc=com ‘sEcr3t!’

The script will store the password in LDAP in an encrypted format, using the slappasswd utility.