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NIS+ High Availability Architecture Features

The availability architecture for NIS+ is similar to that of NIS, but with the following key differences:

  • Initialization of NIS+ clients
  • Propagation of updates from master to replicas
  • Format of mastered data

Unlike NIS clients, which do not require any authentication, NIS+ clients must present credentials to gain access to the service. These credentials are stored in the client's home domain. NIS+ can be initialized with one of three methods:

  • Broadcast
  • Specified Server
  • Cold Start File

The Broadcast and Specified Server methods are similar to what NIS clients do. The Cold Start File method provides a file to a client that contains information about how to locate directory objects and also provides a set of credentials. This is the preferred method since it provides additional security. Only a trusted server can provide a Cold Start File.

Instead of pushing entire maps no matter how many changes are made, NIS+ masters only push out incremental changes. These changes are batched, then pushed out. The result is that the replicas are more likely to be in sync. Also, a transaction log keeps track of changes in case of a system failure before they can be pushed out.

Unlike NIS where the mastered data is kept in text files, NIS+ keeps mastered data in a binary format. This means that not only do these files need to be backed up, they also need to be checked periodically for corruption.

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