8. Database Creation and Maintenance Tools

This section tells you how to create a slapd database from scratch, and how to do trouble shooting if you run into problems. There are two ways to create a database. First, you can create the database on-line using LDAP. With this method, you simply start up slapd and add entries using the LDAP client of your choice. This method is fine for relatively small databases (a few hundred or thousand entries, depending on your requirements). This method works for database types which support updates.

The second method of database creation is to do it off-line using special utilities provided with slapd. This method is best if you have many thousands of entries to create, which would take an unacceptably long time using the LDAP method, or if you want to ensure the database is not accessed while it is being created. Note that not all database types support these utilities.


8.1. Creating a database over LDAP

With this method, you use the LDAP client of your choice (e.g., the ldapadd(1)) to add entries, just like you would once the database is created. You should be sure to set the following options in the configuration file before starting slapd(8).

        suffix <dn>

As described in the General Database Directives section, this option defines which entries are to be held by this database. You should set this to the DN of the root of the subtree you are trying to create. For example:

        suffix "dc=example,dc=com"

You should be sure to specify a directory where the index files should be created:

        directory <directory>

For example:

        directory /usr/local/var/openldap-data

You need to create this directory with appropriate permissions such that slapd can write to it.

You need to configure slapd so that you can connect to it as a directory user with permission to add entries. You can configure the directory to support a special super-user or root user just for this purpose. This is done through the following two options in the database definition:

        rootdn <dn>
        rootpw <passwd>

For example:

        rootdn "cn=Manager,dc=example,dc=com"
        rootpw secret

These options specify a DN and password that can be used to authenticate as the super-user entry of the database (i.e., the entry allowed to do anything). The DN and password specified here will always work, regardless of whether the entry named actually exists or has the password given. This solves the chicken-and-egg problem of how to authenticate and add entries before any entries yet exist.

Finally, you should make sure that the database definition contains the index definitions you want:

        index {<attrlist> | default} [pres,eq,approx,sub,none]

For example, to index the cn, sn, uid and objectclass attributes, the following index directives could be used:

        index cn,sn,uid pres,eq,approx,sub
        index objectClass eq

This would create presence, equality, approximate, and substring indices for the cn, sn, and uid attributes and an equality index for the objectClass attribute. Note that not all index types are available with all attribute types. See The slapd Configuration File section for more information on this option.

Once you have configured things to your liking, start up slapd, connect with your LDAP client, and start adding entries. For example, to add an organization entry and an organizational role entry using the ldapadd tool, you could create an LDIF file called entries.ldif with the contents:

        # Organization for Example Corporation
        dn: dc=example,dc=com
        objectClass: dcObject
        objectClass: organization
        dc: example
        o: Example Corporation
        description: The Example Corporation

        # Organizational Role for Directory Manager
        dn: cn=Manager,dc=example,dc=com
        objectClass: organizationalRole
        cn: Manager
        description: Directory Manager

and then use a command like this to actually create the entry:

        ldapadd -f entries.ldif -x -D "cn=Manager,dc=example,dc=com" -w secret

The above command assumes settings provided in the above examples.


8.2. Creating a database off-line

The second method of database creation is to do it off-line, using the slapd database tools described below. This method is best if you have many thousands of entries to create, which would take an unacceptably long time to add using the LDAP method described above. These tools read the slapd configuration file and an input file containing a text representation of the entries to add. For database types which support the tools, they produce the database files directly (otherwise you must use the on-line method above). There are several important configuration options you will want to be sure and set in the config file database definition first:

        suffix <dn>

As described in the General Database Directives section, this option defines which entries are to be held by this database. You should set this to the DN of the root of the subtree you are trying to create. For example:

        suffix "dc=example,dc=com"

You should be sure to specify a directory where the index files should be created:

        directory <directory>

For example:

        directory /usr/local/var/openldap-data

Finally, you need to specify which indices you want to build. This is done by one or more index options.

        index {<attrlist> | default} [pres,eq,approx,sub,none]

For example:

        index cn,sn,uid pres,eq,approx,sub
        index objectClass eq

This would create presence, equality, approximate, and substring indices for the cn, sn, and uid attributes and an equality index for the objectClass attribute. Note that not all index types are available with all attribute types. See The slapd Configuration File section for more information on this option.

8.2.1. The slapadd program

Once you've configured things to your liking, you create the primary database and associated indices by running the slapadd(8) program:

        slapadd -l <inputfile> -f <slapdconfigfile>
                [-d <debuglevel>] [-n <integer>|-b <suffix>]

The arguments have the following meanings:

        -l <inputfile>

Specifies the LDIF input file containing the entries to add in text form (described below in the The LDIF text entry format section).

        -f <slapdconfigfile>

Specifies the slapd configuration file that tells where to create the indices, what indices to create, etc.

        -d <debuglevel>

Turn on debugging, as specified by <debuglevel>. The debug levels are the same as for slapd. See the Command-Line Options section in Running slapd.

        -n <databasenumber>

An optional argument that specifies which database to modify. The first database listed in the configuration file is 1, the second 2, etc. By default, the first database in the configuration file is used. Should not be used in conjunction with -b.

        -b <suffix>

An optional argument that specifies which database to modify. The provided suffix is matched against a database suffix directive to determine the database number. Should not be used in conjunction with -n.

8.2.2. The slapindex program

Sometimes it may be necessary to regenerate indices (such as after modifying slapd.conf(5)). This is possible using the slapindex(8) program. slapindex is invoked like this

        slapindex -f <slapdconfigfile>
                [-d <debuglevel>] [-n <databasenumber>|-b <suffix>]

Where the -f, -d, -n and -b options are the same as for the slapadd(1) program. slapindex rebuilds all indices based upon the current database contents.

8.2.3. The slapcat program

The slapcat program is used to dump the database to an LDIF file. This can be useful when you want to make a human-readable backup of your database or when you want to edit your database off-line. The program is invoked like this:

        slapcat -l <filename> -f <slapdconfigfile>
                [-d <debuglevel>] [-n <databasenumber>|-b <suffix>]

where -n or -b is used to select the database in the slapd.conf(5) specified using -f. The corresponding LDIF output is written to standard output or to the file specified using the -l option.


8.3. The LDIF text entry format

The LDAP Data Interchange Format (LDIF) is used to represent LDAP entries in a simple text format. This section provides a brief description of the LDIF entry format which complements ldif(5) and the technical specification RFC2849.

The basic form of an entry is:

        # comment
        dn: <distinguished name>
        <attrdesc>: <attrvalue>
        <attrdesc>: <attrvalue>

        ...

Lines starting with a '#' character are comments. An attribute description may be a simple attribute type like cn or objectClass or 1.2.3 (an OID associated with an attribute type) or may include options such as cn;lang_en_US or userCertificate;binary.

A line may be continued by starting the next line with a single space or tab character. For example:

        dn: cn=Barbara J Jensen,dc=example,dc=
         com
        cn: Barbara J
          Jensen

is equivalent to:

        dn: cn=Barbara J Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
        cn: Barbara J Jensen

Multiple attribute values are specified on separate lines. e.g.,

        cn: Barbara J Jensen
        cn: Babs Jensen

If an <attrvalue> contains non-printing characters or begins with a space, a colon (':'), or a less than ('<'), the <attrdesc> is followed by a double colon and the base64 encoding of the value. For example, the value " begins with a space" would be encoded like this:

        cn:: IGJlZ2lucyB3aXRoIGEgc3BhY2U=

You can also specify a URL containing the attribute value. For example, the following specifies the jpegPhoto value should be obtained from the file /path/to/file.jpeg.

        cn:< file:///path/to/file.jpeg

Multiple entries within the same LDIF file are separated by blank lines. Here's an example of an LDIF file containing three entries.

        # Barbara's Entry
        dn: cn=Barbara J Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
        cn: Barbara J Jensen
        cn: Babs Jensen
        objectClass: person
        sn: Jensen

        # Bjorn's Entry
        dn: cn=Bjorn J Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
        cn: Bjorn J Jensen
        cn: Bjorn Jensen
        objectClass: person
        sn: Jensen
        # Base64 encoded JPEG photo
        jpegPhoto:: /9j/4AAQSkZJRgABAAAAAQABAAD/2wBDABALD
         A4MChAODQ4SERATGCgaGBYWGDEjJR0oOjM9PDkzODdASFxOQ
         ERXRTc4UG1RV19iZ2hnPk1xeXBkeFxlZ2P/2wBDARESEhgVG

        # Jennifer's Entry
        dn: cn=Jennifer J Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
        cn: Jennifer J Jensen
        cn: Jennifer Jensen
        objectClass: person
        sn: Jensen
        # JPEG photo from file
        jpegPhoto:< file:///path/to/file.jpeg

Notice that the jpegPhoto in Bjorn's entry is base 64 encoded and the jpegPhoto in Jennifer's entry is obtained from the location indicated by the URL.


Note: Trailing spaces are not trimmed from values in an LDIF file. Nor are multiple internal spaces compressed. If you don't want them in your data, don't put them there.