I'm looking to centralise user management for a pool of Linux servers.

I have previously done this using libnss-mysql which worked ok. However, the project has not been updated since 2006 which concerns me.

As this is a new setup I've got a free choice of the backend to use - MySQL, LDAP, Postgres, whatever. What back-end and NSS library do people recommend?


It is common to use LDAP as access protocol for such a user-management.

For simple requirements you can

  • setup your own custom LDAP server with appropriate schema
  • use MS Active Directory preferrably with sssd

You can use one of the usual LDAP-NSS/PAM integration components which are pretty mature today (in no particular order):

For more complex requirements, e.g. authorization based on host groups, you may want to use full-featured solutions more dedicated to Linux/Unix:

  • FreeIPA using 389-DS as back-end, preferably with sssd
  • Æ-DIR using OpenLDAP as back-end, with any NSS/PAM implementation for LDAP, or in large setups preferably with aehostd

Full disclosure: I'm the project maintainer behind Æ-DIR and therefore I'm biased of course.

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