This article is a pre-release chapter in the upcoming “Take Control of OS X Server,” by Charles Edge, scheduled for public release later in 2014. Apart from Chapter 1: Introducing OS X Server, and Chapter 2: Choosing Server Hardware, these chapters are available only to TidBITS members; see “Take Control of OS X Server” Streaming in TidBITS for details.
A directory service is a shared repository of usernames, passwords, network resources, and other information. Mac network clients (and by “client,” I mean a computer) use a directory service to look up various things.
For the typical reader of this book, a directory service is where you’ll create and store user accounts for services including file sharing, calendar, and contacts.
The directory service is at the heart of many large networks. But a directory service is really just a database that lives on a server, along with some underlying technologies that Apple collectively refers to as Open Directory. Some directory services can have roles that are broken out amongst a number of servers, but for the purposes of this book, I’ll assume you need only one directory server (or at most two) to keep this chapter from expanding into a book of its own.
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