SSSD vs Winbind

In a previous post, I compared the features and capabilities of Samba winbind and SSSD. In this post, I will focus on formulating a set of criteria for how to choose between SSSD and winbind. In general, my recommendation is to choose SSSD… but there are some notable exceptions.

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host: Updates Made Easy

Earlier in March we announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Atomic Host, a small footprint, container host based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. It provides a stable host platform, optimized for running application containers, and brings a number of application software packaging and deployment benefits to customers. In my previous container blog I gave the top seven reasons to deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Atomic Host. One reason was the ability to do atomic updates and rollbacks. In this blog I provide an in-depth look into atomic updating and how it differs from a yum update. And, speaking of atomic updates

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Live Kernel Patching Update

In the year since I first wrote about kpatch, Red Hat’s live kernel patching project for Linux, we’ve been very busy.  Here are some of the highlights from the last year of live kernel patching development, and some clues about where we may be headed in the future.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Special Interest Group

In 2014, we kicked off a kpatch Special Interest Group (SIG) for users who are interested in trying out kpatch in a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 environment.  We’ve delivered kpatch fixes for several kernel CVEs, allowing users to easily apply fixes to their kernels immediately with no disruption or reboots necessary.

If you’re a Red Hat Enterprise Linux customer and are interested in joining the kpatch SIG

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Virtual Machines or Containers? Maybe Both?

Over the last 18 months, especially since the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, “containers” have emerged as a hot topic. With the more recent introduction of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host, an operating system optimized for running the next generation of applications with Linux containers, one might wonder… what about virtualization? In that the benefits of containerization seem to overlap those of traditional virtualization, how do organizations know when to pick one approach over the other?

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New SSSD Features in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1

This post is dedicated to the new SSSD features in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 that have significance when SSSD is used by itself (i.e. without IdM integration) – for example, when connecting directly to Active Directory (AD) or some other Directory Server.

Control Access to Linux Machines with Active Directory GPO

A common use case for managing computer-based access control in an Active Directory environment is through the use of GPO policy settings related to Windows Logon Rights. The Administrator who maintains a heterogeneous AD and Red Hat Enterprise Linux network without an IdM server has traditionally had to face the challenging task of centrally controlling access to the Linux machines without being able to update the SSSD configuration on each and every client machine.

In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1, the Administrator is (now) able to

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host Opens New Possibilities for Red Hat Storage Customers

Ready to adopt Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host? I recommend you visit the Red Hat Storage Blog to learn more about how Red Hat Storage with Ceph & Gluster are compelling storage options for containerized environments.

Red Hat Storage

By Sayan Saha, Sr. Manager, Product Management, Storage & Data Business, Red Hat.

This week Red Hat announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host – a host environment optimized to run containerized applications with a minimal footprint. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host simplifies maintenance using image-based update and rollback and includes orchestration toolsets such as kubernetes for managing containers across a cluster of hosts. The new Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host inherits the industry-leading hardware ecosystem, reliability, stability and security the industry has come to expect from Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

What this means for Red Hat Storage customers

This announcement is significant for Red Hat Storage customers on multiple fronts. Workloads running in containers require persistent storage for application code and data. Given the rapid growth in the number of containers within today’s IT shops, software-defined storage has an advantage over traditional storage…

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Active Directory and Identity Management (IdM) Trusts – Exactly Where Are My Users?

As this is my sixth post on Identity Management I thought it would (first) be wise to explain (and link back to) my previous efforts.  My first post kicked off the series by outlining challenges associated with interoperability in the modern enterprise.  My second post explored  how the integration gap between Linux systems and Active Directory emerged, how it was formerly addressed, and what options are available now.  My third post outlined the set of criteria with which one is able to examine various integration options.  And my most recent entries, post four and five, reviewed options for direct and indirect integration, respectively.

Delving deeper into the world of indirect integration (i.e. utilizing a trust-based approach) – two of the biggest questions are often: “Where are my users?” and “Where does authentication actually happen?” As opposed to a solution that relies upon synchronization

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Overview of Indirect Active Directory Integration Using Identity Management (IdM)

The main alternative to direct integration of Linux/UNIX systems into Active Directory (AD) environments is the indirect approach – where Linux systems are first connected to a central server and this server is then somehow connected to AD. This approach is not new. Over the years many environments have deployed LDAP servers to manage their Linux/UNIX systems (using this LDAP server) while users were stored in AD. To reconcile this issue and to enable users from AD to access Linux systems – users and their passwords were routinely synchronized from AD. While this approach is viable – it’s also quite limited and prone to error. In addition, there is little value in having a separate LDAP server. The only reason for such a setup is to have a separation of duties between Linux and Windows administrators. The net result is that the overhead is quite high while the value of such an approach is quite low.

When IdM (Identity Management in Red Hat Enterprise Linux based on FreeIPA technology) emerged, many environments were either considering direct integration or were “in-process” with respect to adoption. How, exactly, does IdM work? IdM provides

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Overview of Direct Integration Options

As mentioned in my previous post there are multiple ways to connect a Linux system to Active Directory (AD) directly. With this in mind, let us review the following list of options…

  • The legacy integration option: this is a solution where (likely older) native Linux tools are used to connect to an LDAP server of your choice (e.g. AD).
  • The traditional integration option: this is a solution based on Samba winbind.
  • The third-party integration option: this is a solution based on (proprietary) commercial software.
  • The contemporary integration option: this is a solution based on SSSD.

Legacy Integration Option

In the case of the legacy integration option (see figure above), a Linux system is connected to AD using LDAP for identity lookup and LDAP or Kerberos for authentication. It pretty much solves the problem of basic user authentication. That said, such a solution has the following significant limitations:

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