Chapter 6. Directory Services
What's a Directory?
The larger the information system, the harder it becomes to find anything in that system or even know what's available. As networks grow and become more complex, they are well served by some sort of directory. Network users might make use of a directory service to find other users for email and other messaging services. Resources on a network, like printers and network-available disk areas, might be advertised via a directory service. Public-key and certificate infrastructures could use a directory service to distribute information. In this chapter we'll look at how to use Perl to interact with some of the more popular directory services, including Finger, WHOIS, LDAP, and ADSI.
6.1. What's a Directory?
In Chapter 7, "SQL Database Administration", I suggest that all the system administration world is a database. Directories are a good example of this characterization. For the purpose of our discussion we'll distinguish between "database" and "directory" by observing a few salient characteristics of directories:
If you encounter something that looks like a database but has the above characteristics, you're probably dealing with a directory. In the four directory services we're about to see, these characteristics will be easy to spot.
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