Multiple Directory Administrative Users

Most of LDAP directory servers configure a single well known directory administrative account (cn=Directory Manager [,dc=example,dc=com]) which has full access to everything. While there is a need to have one special user to bootstrap the server, we are too often seeing that special account being used by all applications that have specific administrative needs : the provisioning application, the email management application, …

OpenDJ has different mechanisms to define multiple administrative accounts, but today, I’m going to focus on the “Root DNs” i.e. defining multiple Directory Managers.

The default administrative account is “cn=Directory Manager”, and is stored in the configuration under the “cn=Root DNs,cn=config” container entry.

Adding another administrative account is as simple as adding another entry under that container, with one specific objectClass : ds-cfg-root-dn-user.

Create a file newAdmin.ldif

dn: cn=Second Admin,cn=Root DNs,cn=config
cn: Second Admin
objectclass: top
objectclass: person
objectclass: organizationalPerson
objectclass: inetOrgPerson
objectclass: ds-cfg-root-dn-user
sn: Second Admin
ds-cfg-alternate-bind-dn: cn=Admin2,dc=example,dc=com
ds-pwp-password-policy-dn: cn=Root Password Policy,cn=Password Policies,cn=config
userPassword: password42

ldapmodify -a -D cn=Directory Manager -j /var/tmp/dmpassfile -f  newAdmin.ldif

Processing ADD request for cn=Second Admin,cn=Root DNs,cn=config
ADD operation successful for DN cn=Second Admin,cn=Root DNs,cn=config

If you prefer, you can choose not to set the password in the LDIF file, but set it in a secure way afterwards :

$ bin/ldappasswordmodify -p 1389 -D “cn=directory manager” -j /var/tmp/dmpassfile -a “”cn=Admin2,dc=example,dc=com” -N /var/tmp/newpw
The LDAP password modify operation was successful

Where /var/tmp/dmpassfile contains the password for “cn=directory manager” and /var/tmp/newpw the new password for Admin2.

Did you notice the “ds-cfg-alternate-bind-dn” attribute in the definition of the new administrative account ? This enables to authenticate to the directory server with the DN value specified in this attribute, while the entry still has a DN and is located under the “cn=config” suffix.

So now, don’t hesitate to create different administrative accounts for the various applications that need special access to the directory.

In a follow-up post, I will explain how to restrict what those administrative accounts can do in the OpenDJ directory service.