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Old Unix and Linux 10-03-2002   -   Original Discussion by blakmk
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NIS question

Is it possible to set up a NIS slave to refer to a different set of home directories in /etc/passwd.

Im basically thinking of setting up a failover system where the NIS master has an attached storage array (A1000) containing the home directories. However if this fails I want the NIS slave to point to a storage array attached to itself.
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Old Unix and Linux 10-03-2002   -   Original Discussion by blakmk
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This may not be the right solution for your environment and there may be an easy way to accomplish the same objective, but I wanted to put it out there for your consideration.

The following configuration is from a few years back (in a former life), but I'll do my best to remember the details.

The environment had multiple physical paths to the drives containing the user's home directories. In this case, I believe it was a 2-node cluster where both nodes had a direct connection (vs. SAN) to the drives. The data was later moved to drives in a storage box on the SAN, but the concept remained the same.

The primary node used NFS to make the home directories accessible to 20-30 systems in the same NIS domain. If the primary node failed, the secondary node would mount the drives and make them available via NFS.

A cluster alias was used by the NIS systems to originally mount the home file system so that they would not have to be re-mounted if a failover occurred. On the NIS systems, symbolic links were used to point to the NFS mounted file system (the home directories).

Side note: You should be able to accomplish the same configuration with a NAS solution.

Hope this helps!

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Old Unix and Linux 10-03-2002   -   Original Discussion by blakmk
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In how you asked the question - no, it can not be done. Not without cluster-style software that would be able to automatically use the other array. The other problem (which could be solved with cluster-style software) is the NIS Master not being there. If you are looking for an automated solution, some type of cluster software is needed.

One way to do it without cluster-style software - bring up the IP address of the NIS master on the slave and set the slave to become the master with the array attached to it (either a second array or the original via second path). If it's a different array, then data will need to be updated nightly. Writing scripts to do all this can be done, it just isn't as accurate as cluster style software. Getting all the software/scripts to work properly and not bring up the slave as a master by mistake in the middle of the day (when there is nothing wrong with the master) may be a nightmare you don't want.

Another way to do this without cluster-style software - your original (NFS) home directories mounted over /export/home/user. If the NFS mount can't happen, you could then use a default /export/home/user which would be local. This would work but would be a royal pain as far as administration.

(Single user mode)
# ls -a /export/home/myuser
.profile README.nofiles

(Multi-user with NFS working)
#ls -a /export/home/myuser
.dt .profile myfiles.txt

If NFS isn't working then the user would have minimal files in their home directory. The real problem is when the NFS mounts start working (folks could 'lose' files - files would be there, just not accessable - but if your looking for a D/R solution to just get folks working, it could be done this way).

These are just ideas - none of which I have seen work or implemented - I've always been lucky enough to put the fear of loss data into the right people to make them buy the correct software for the redundancy they say they require. That is always the best way to go if this is truely a mission critical server.
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