syncing user passwd information between servers

Daniel Marsh jahilliya at
Fri Mar 9 04:13:32 UTC 2007

On 3/9/07, Noah <admin2 at> wrote:
> Hi,
> I am trying to figure out the Best admininstrative way to do the
> following:
> We have two FreeBSD 6.2 servers and want to keep the passwd files in
> sync so all the same users can log into each machine, their UID's match,
> and when the update the password on one machine the other machine gets
> the password.  When we add the user to one machine then the other
> machine has an additional user too.
> What is the best scheme that we can devise to get this working
> technically well?
> Cheers,

A couple of things can be done...
The first, and longest existing method would be to use NIS between the two
machines where one machine acts as a server, the other as a client to that
server, if the server goes down, no-one can login. (I havn't investigated in
backup NIS servers as I don't like NIS)

The other option would be using LDAP (OpenLDAP), you'll install OpenLDAP on
both servers, one will act as a master, the other as a slave, each machine
will login against the ldap database running locally.
The master ldap will replicate to the slave to keep any user changes in tact
and up to date.
You'll need to install the pam_ldap and nss_ldap ports and may want to use
LDAP Account Manager (runs via PHP on Apache) to manage the user accounts.

Another option may be to use a versioning system, one machine has a
versioning repository, you import /etc/ into the versioning system (CVS or
Subversion), when you make a change on a server to passwd's etc... you
commit the change and check it out on the other machine, maybe even making
use of merging changes so if two people, one on each machine, change their
passwords and they both commit you don't lose one of the password changes.

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