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Lesson 2 Why use NIS?
ObjectiveList the reasons for using NIS on a UNIX system.

Reasons for using NIS UNIX

To understand the need for a system like NIS, imagine a network of UNIX machines used by a group of people. For a user to log on to the many different machines in the network, he or she would need separate accounts, with separate passwords, on each machine in the network. This arrangement is very ungainly, and users should be able to log on to any machine in the network using a single, centrally administered network password. One of the principal purposes of the NIS system is to provide a central password database that allows users to have a single account valid on all machines in the network. Administering a large local network of UNIX machines also raises the problem of maintaining the many configuration files necessary to keep the machines in the system operating correctly. Without a system like NIS, a configuration change for the machines in the network forces the administrator to log on to each machine individually and make the necessary modifications. With NIS, the relevant configuration files can be distributed from a central location, so changes can be made in a single place and propagated throughout the network.

What are the advantages of Network Information Service (NIS)

There are several advantages of using Network Information Service (NIS):
  1. Centralized management: NIS allows for the centralization of user and group information, as well as other system-related information, on a network. This makes it easy for system administrators to manage and maintain this information for a large number of users and systems.
  2. Scalability: NIS is designed to handle large numbers of users and systems, and can scale easily to support growing networks.
  3. Easy integration: NIS can be easily integrated with other services such as the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and Domain Name System (DNS) to provide a more comprehensive system for network management.
  4. Improved security: NIS uses a secure communication protocol for client-server communications, and supports secure authentication for clients.
  5. Reduced administration costs: NIS reduces the administrative costs of managing a network by allowing system administrators to manage user and group information centrally, rather than having to manage it on each individual system.
However, as it was mention before, NIS is an older technology, it was release in late 80s and has some security weaknesses, like lack of encryption of the data transferred and lack of granular access control. Due to security concerns and the availability of newer, more secure solutions, it is no longer recommended to use NIS in a production network.