3.3. LDAP directory#

Univention Corporate Server saves domain-wide data in a LDAP directory service based on OpenLDAP. This chapter describes the advanced configuration and coordination of OpenLDAP.

Often several LDAP servers are operated in a UCS domain. The configuration of the server(s) used is described in Configuration of the LDAP server in use.


The LDAP directory is part of Univention Nubus in the Identity Store and Directory Service component. For more information about Nubus, refer to What is Univention Nubus?

3.3.1. LDAP schemas#

Schema definitions specify which object classes exist and which attributes they include, i.e., which data can be stored in a directory service. Schema definitions are saved as text files and included in the OpenLDAP server’s configuration file.

UCS uses standard schemas where possible in order to allow interoperability with other LDAP applications. Schema extensions are supplied for Univention-specific attributes - such as for the policy mechanism. LDAP schema extensions#

To keep the efforts required for small extensions in LDAP as low as possible, Univention Corporate Server provides its own LDAP scheme for customer extensions. The LDAP object class univentionFreeAttributes can be used for extended attributes without restrictions. It offers 20 freely usable attributes (univentionFreeAttribute1 to univentionFreeAttribute20) and can be used in connection with any LDAP object (e.g., a user object).

If LDAP schema extensions are to be delivered as part of software packages, there is also the possibility of packaging them and distributing them to all the Backup Directory Node servers in the domain using a Univention Directory Listener module. Further information is available in Packaging LDAP Schema Extensions. LDAP schema replication#

The replication of the LDAP schemas is also automated via the listener/notifier mechanism (see Listener/notifier domain replication). This relieves the administrator of the need to perform all schema updates manually on all the OpenLDAP servers in the domain. Performing the schema replication before the replication of LDAP objects guarantees that this doesn’t fail as a result of missing object classes or attributes.

On the Primary Directory Node, a checksum for all the directories with schema definitions is performed when the OpenLDAP server is started. This checksum is compared with the last saved checksum in the /var/lib/univention-ldap/schema/md5 file.

The actual replication of the schema definitions is initiated by the Univention Directory Listener. Prior to every request from the Univention Directory Notifier for a new transaction ID, its current schema ID is requested. If this is higher than the schema ID on the listener side, the currently used sub-schema is procured from the notifier system’s LDAP server via an LDAP search.

The output sub-schema is included on the listener system in LDIF format in the /var/lib/univention-ldap/schema.conf file and the local OpenLDAP server restarted. If the schema replication is completed with this step, the replication of the LDAP objects is continued.

3.3.2. Audit-proof logging of LDAP changes#

The univention-directory-logger package allows the logging of all changes in the LDAP directory service. As each data record contains the hash value of the previous data record, manipulations of the log file - such as deleted entries - can be uncovered.

To install the univention-directory-logger package, follow the instructions for installing software packages on UCS in Installation/removal of individual packages via Univention Management Console module or Installation/removal of individual packages in the command line.

Individual areas of the directory service can be excluded from the logging. These branches can be configured using the Univention Configuration Registry variables ldap/logging/exclude1, ldap/logging/excludeN, etc. As standard, the container is excluded in which the temporary objects are stored (cn=temporary,cn=univention). The LDAP changes are logged by a Univention Directory Listener module. The Univention Directory Listener service must be restarted if changes are made to the Univention Configuration Registry variables.

The logging is made in the /var/log/univention/directory-logger.log file in the following format:

Old Hash: Hash sum of the previous data record
DN: DN of the LDAP object
ID: Listener/notifier transaction ID
Modifier: DN of the modifying account
Timestamp: Time stamp in format dd.mm.yyyy hh:mm:ss
Action: add, modify or delete

Old Values:
 List of old attributes, empty when an object is added
New Values:
 List of new attributes, empty when an object is deleted

A hash sum is calculated for each logged data record and also logged in the daemon.info section of the syslog service.

As of UCS 4.4 erratum 536 the respective transaction ID of the entry is added to the file /var/log/univention/directory-logger.log before each line as a prefix:

ID 342: Old Hash: 70069d51a7e2e168d7c7defd19349985
ID 342: DN: uid=Administrator,cn=users,dc=example,dc=com
ID 342: ID: 342
ID 342: Modifier: cn=admin,dc=example,dc=com
ID 342: Timestamp: 15.04.2020 09:20:40
ID 342: Action: modify
ID 342:
ID 342: Old values:
ID 342: description: This is a description test
ID 342: entryCSN: 20200415091936.317108Z#000000#000#000000
ID 342: modifyTimestamp: 20200415091936Z
ID 342:
ID 342: New values:
ID 342: description: This is a description test
ID 342: entryCSN: 20200415092040.430976Z#000000#000#000000
ID 342: modifyTimestamp: 20200415092040Z
ID 342: END

If univention-directory-logger was installed before this UCS version, the old behavior (no prefix) is retained by default. By setting the Univention Configuration Registry Variable ldap/logging/id-prefix to yes the new behavior can be activated. This prefix simplifies the correlation of related lines when post-processing the sign in analysis and monitoring software.

3.3.3. Timeout for inactive LDAP connections#

The Univention Configuration Registry Variable ldap/idletimeout is used to configure a time period in seconds after which the LDAP connection is cut off on the server side. When the value is set to 0, no expiry period is in use. The timeout period has been set at six minutes as standard.

3.3.4. LDAP command line tools#

In addition to the UMC web interface, there are also a range of programs with which one can access the LDAP directory from the command line.

The univention-ldapsearch tool simplifies the authenticated search in the LDAP directory. A search filter needs to be specified as an argument; in the following example, the administrator is searched for using the user ID:

$ univention-ldapsearch uid=Administrator

The slapcat command makes it possible to save the current LDAP data in a text file in LDIF format, e.g.:

$ slapcat -f /etc/ldap/slapd.conf > ldapdata.txt

3.3.5. Access control for the LDAP directory#

Access to the information contained in the LDAP directory is controlled by Access Control Lists (ACLs) on the server side. The ACLs are defined in the central configuration file /etc/ldap/slapd.conf and managed using Univention Configuration Registry.

The slapd.conf is managed using a multifile template; further ACL elements can be added below /etc/univention/templates/files/etc/ldap/slapd.conf.d/ between the 60univention-ldap-server_acl-master and 70univention-ldap-server_acl-master-end files or the existing templates expanded upon.

If LDAP ACL extensions are to be delivered as part of software packages, there is also the possibility of packaging them and distributing them to all the LDAP servers in the domain using a Univention Directory Listener module. Further information is available in Packaging LDAP ACL Extensions.

The default setting of the LDAP server after new installations with UCS does not allow anonymous access to the LDAP directory. This behavior is configured with the Univention Configuration Registry Variable ldap/acl/read/anonymous. Individual IP addresses can be granted anonymous read permissions via Univention Configuration Registry Variable ldap/acl/read/ips.

Following successful authentication on the LDAP server, all attributes of a user account can be read out by this user.

In addition, an extra, internal account, the root DN, also has full write access.

In addition, UCS offers a number of further ACLs installed as standard which suppress access to sensitive files (e.g., the user password) and establish rules which are necessary for operation (e.g., necessary accesses to computer accounts for log-ins). The read and write access to this sensitive information if only intended for members of the Domain Admins group.

Nested groups are also supported. The Univention Configuration Registry Variable ldap/acl/nestedgroups can be used to deactivate the nested groups function for LDAP ACLs, which will result in a speed increase for directory requests. Delegation of the privilege to reset user passwords#

To facilitate the delegation of the privilege to reset user passwords, the univention-admingrp-user-passwordreset package can be installed. It uses a join script to create the User Password Admins user group, in so far as this does not already exist.

Members of this group receive the permission via additional LDAP ACLs to reset the passwords of other users. These LDAP ACLs are activated automatically during the package installation. To use another group, or a group that already exists, instead of the User Password Admins group, the DN of the group to be used can be entered in the Univention Configuration Registry Variable ldap/acl/user/passwordreset/accesslist/groups/dn. The LDAP server must be restarted after making changes.

Passwords can be reset via the UMC module Users. By default the module is only accessible to the Administrator user. During the installation a new default-user-password-admins policy is created automatically, which is linked to the members of the User Password Admins group and can be assigned to a corresponding container in the LDAP directory. Further information on the configuration of UMC policies can be found in Delegated administration for UMC modules.

The policy makes it possible to search for users and create an overview of all the attributes of a user object. If an attempt is made to modify further attributes in addition to the password when the user does not have sufficient access rights to the LDAP directory, Univention Directory Manager denies them write access with the message Permission denied.


The package should be installed on the Primary Directory Node and the Backup Directory Nodes. During the installation, the LDAP server is restarted and is thus temporarily unavailable.

Password resets via the password group can be prevented for sensitive users or groups (e.g., domain administrators). The Univention Configuration Registry variables ldap/acl/user/passwordreset/protected/uid and ldap/acl/user/passwordreset/protected/gid can be used to configure users and groups. Multiple values must be separated by commas. After changes to the variables, it is necessary to restart the LDAP server using the systemctl restart slapd command. By default the members of the Domain Admins group are protected against having theirs password changed.

If access to additional LDAP attributes should be necessary for changing the password, the attribute names can be expanded in Univention Configuration Registry Variable ldap/acl/user/passwordreset/attributes. After the change, the LDAP directory service must be restarted for the change to take effect. This variable is already set appropriately for a UCS standard installation.

3.3.6. Name Service Switch / LDAP NSS module#

With the Name Service Switch, the GNU C standard library (glibc) used in Univention Corporate Server offers a modular interface for resolving the names of users, groups and hosts.

The LDAP NSS module is used on UCS systems for access to the domain data (e.g., users) as standard. The module queries the LDAP server specified in the Univention Configuration Registry Variable ldap/server/name (and if necessary the ldap/server/addition).

What measures should be taken if the LDAP server cannot be reached can be specified by the Univention Configuration Registry Variable nssldap/bindpolicy. As standard, if the server cannot be reached, a new connection attempt is made. If the variable is set to soft, then no new attempt is made to connect. This can considerably accelerate the boot of a system if the LDAP server cannot be reached, e.g., in an isolated test environment.

3.3.7. Syncrepl for synchronization with non-UCS OpenLDAP servers#

The syncrepl replication service can also be activated parallel to the notifier service for the synchronization of OpenLDAP servers not installed on UCS systems. Syncrepl is a component of OpenLDAP, monitors changes in the local directory service and transmits them to other OpenLDAP servers.

3.3.8. Configuration of the directory service when using Samba/AD#

As standard, the OpenLDAP server is configured in such a way that it also accepts requests from ports 7389 and 7636 in addition to the standard ports 389 and 636.

If Samba/AD is used, the Samba/AD domain controller service occupies the ports 389 and 636. In this case, OpenLDAP is automatically reconfigured so that only ports 7389 and 7636 are used. This must be taken into account during the configuration of syncrepl in particular (see Syncrepl for synchronization with non-UCS OpenLDAP servers). univention-ldapsearch uses the standard port automatically.

3.3.9. Daily backup of LDAP data#

The content of the LDAP directory is backed up daily on the Primary Directory Node and all Backup Directory Node systems via a Cron job. If Samba 4 is used, its data directory is also backed up.

The LDAP data are stored in the /var/univention-backup/ directory in the naming scheme ldap-backup_DATE.ldif.gz in LDIF format. They can only be read by the root user. The Samba 4 files are stored in the directory /var/univention-backup/samba/.

The Univention Configuration Registry Variable backup/clean/max_age can be used to define how long old backup files are kept (e.g. backup/clean/max_age=365, all files older than 365 days are automatically deleted). For new installations (from UCS 4.4-7 on) the default for this variable is 365 (days). If the variable is not set, no backup files are deleted.