4.3. Install OpenLDAP

4.3.1. Start the OpenLDAP Container

We will use slapd (part of OpenLDAP) as the main database to manage users including authentication. Using an LDAP server makes it much easier to manage users, such as adding a new user, deleting a user, and modifying a user’s password.

Create a data container to store OpenLDAP data and config:

docker run -v /var/lib/ldap -v /etc/openldap/slapd.d --name openldap-data \
 busybox /bin/true
  • If you have an old database to import, you can copy them into the data container now (configuration into /etc/openldap/slapd.d, and data into /var/lib/ldap).

  • If this is a new database, run the command below to fill the configuration directory (/etc/openldap/slapd.d) with default configuration:

    docker run --rm --volumes-from openldap-data centos:7 \
     yum install -y openldap-servers
    

Now we can create and run the openldap container:

docker run --restart always -d --volumes-from openldap-data \
 --env MAX_NOFILE=8192 --name openldap blowb/openldap

MAX_NOFILE is the maximal number of files that the slapd process can open. The larger this file is, the more RAM this process would need. A number such as 8192 should be enough for a small database.

If you have imported an old database and configuration, you may want to check some potential compatibility issues and skip to Manage the LDAP Database with a GUI frontend. If this is a new OpenLDAP database, we have a little more work to do.

4.3.2. Configure OpenLDAP

First, we need to change the database suffix and the root DN. Run ne openldap to launch the shell inside the OpenLDAP container. Inside the container, run the following command, after replacing example.com with the domain we want to use:

MY_DOMAIN=example.com
LDAP_SUFFIX=$(sed -e 's/^/dc=/' -e 's/\./,dc=/g' <<< $MY_DOMAIN)
ldapmodify -H ldapi:/// <<EOF
dn: olcDatabase={2}hdb,cn=config
changetype: modify
replace: olcSuffix
olcSuffix: $LDAP_SUFFIX

dn: olcDatabase={2}hdb,cn=config
changetype: modify
replace: olcRootDN
olcRootDN: cn=root,$LDAP_SUFFIX

EOF

If you see messages similar to the following lines, then the modification should be successful:

modifying entry "olcDatabase={2}hdb,cn=config"

modifying entry "olcDatabase={2}hdb,cn=config"

Next we are going to set up a password for the root DN. First, generate the hash of the password (follow the prompt to enter password):

HASHED_PASSWD=$(slappasswd)

Then, update the password in the configuration file:

ldapmodify -H ldapi:/// <<EOF
dn: olcDatabase={2}hdb,cn=config
changetype: modify
add: olcRootPW
olcRootPW: $HASHED_PASSWD
EOF

Add some basic schemata:

ldapadd -H ldapi:/// -f /etc/openldap/schema/core.ldif
ldapadd -H ldapi:/// -f /etc/openldap/schema/cosine.ldif
ldapadd -H ldapi:/// -f /etc/openldap/schema/inetorgperson.ldif

Add the domain (replace MY_PASSWORD with the actual password):

ldapadd -H ldapi:/// -x -w MY_PASSWORD -D "cn=root,$LDAP_SUFFIX" <<EOF
dn: $LDAP_SUFFIX
objectClass: domain
dc: $(sed -e 's/,.*//' -e 's/dc=//' <<< $LDAP_SUFFIX)
EOF

Add an organization unit to store the user data (replace MY_PASSWORD with the actual password):

ldapadd -H ldapi:/// -x -w MY_PASSWORD -D "cn=root,$LDAP_SUFFIX" <<EOF
dn: ou=people,$LDAP_SUFFIX
ou: people
description: All users.
objectClass: organizationalUnit
EOF

Next, we will add a minimal user entry for ourselves (and other users if they do not oppose to type their password here in the terminal). First run slappasswd to generate the hashed password:

HASHED_PASSWD=$(slappasswd)

Then run the following commands, after replacing username with the user name, fullname with the full name, surname with the surname (sure, both fullname and surname can be faked), and me@example.com with the email of the new account:

UN='username' CN='fullname' SN='surname' MAIL='me@example.com'
ldapadd -H ldapi:/// -x -w MY_PASSWORD -D "cn=root,$LDAP_SUFFIX" <<EOF
dn: uid=$UN,ou=people,$LDAP_SUFFIX
uid: $UN
objectClass: inetOrgPerson
cn: $CN
sn: $SN
mail: $MAIL
userPassword: $HASHED_PASSWD
EOF

We also need to add a group branch to control users’ accessibility to Internet apps (replace MY_PASSWORD with the actual password):

ldapadd -H ldapi:/// -x -w MY_PASSWORD -D "cn=root,$LDAP_SUFFIX" <<EOF
dn: ou=groups,$LDAP_SUFFIX
ou: groups
description: All groups.
objectClass: organizationalUnit
EOF

We also need to set up the memberOf overlay so that we queries can use memberOf:

ldapadd -H ldapi:/// <<EOF
dn: cn=module,cn=config
cn: module
objectclass: olcModuleList
objectclass: top
olcmoduleload: memberof.la
olcmodulepath: /usr/lib64/openldap

dn: olcOverlay={0}memberof,olcDatabase={2}hdb,cn=config
objectClass: olcConfig
objectClass: olcMemberOf
objectClass: olcOverlayConfig
objectClass: top
olcOverlay: memberof

dn: cn=module,cn=config
cn: module
objectclass: olcModuleList
objectclass: top
olcmoduleload: refint.la
olcmodulepath: /usr/lib64/openldap

dn: olcOverlay={1}refint,olcDatabase={2}hdb,cn=config
objectClass: olcConfig
objectClass: olcOverlayConfig
objectClass: olcRefintConfig
objectClass: top
olcOverlay: {1}refint
olcRefintAttribute: memberof member manager owner

EOF

Press Ctrl+D to exit the container shell.

Finally, add a DNS record to specify ldap as an alias of openldap and restart dnsmasq:

sudo -s <<< "echo 'cname=ldap,openldap' > /etc/dnsmasq.d/ldap"
sudo systemctl restart dnsmasq

4.3.3. Manage the LDAP Database with a GUI frontend

To make managing the LDAP database easier, we probably want to use a GUI frontend, such as JXplorer. In order to connect to the slapd process, we need the container’s IP address and port number. Use the following command to display the IP address of the OpenLDAP container:

docker inspect --format '{{.NetworkSettings.IPAddress}}' openldap

The default port number is 389.

If the server is physically accessible and it has a desktop environment installed (such as GNOME, KDE), we can install a GUI front end and connect to the slapd process through TCP/IP. If the server is managed remotely, we can either (a) use a VNC server, or (b) use SSH tunneling. Here we will use the SSH tunneling method.

First, install a GUI LDAP frontend locally on the client side. Then, assuming the client system is a POSIX-compliant system (GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, etc), use the following command to build an SSH tunnel:

ssh -L 12345:slapd_ip:389 username@server.tld

where slapd_ip is the IP address of the OpenLDAP container, server.tld is the server’s address, and username is the user name of the POSIX account on the server (Windows users may replace ssh with plink). By launching the GUI front end and connect to localhost:12345, we should be able to connect to the OpenLDAP server that we have just set up.