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500K+ Users on Unix

I'm looking for approaches for setting up a Unix System (Solaris) for an ISP to support 500K to several million users.  /etc/passwd and NIS+ don't seem designed for this kind of user load.  I'm looking for suggestions on how to
solve this problem or products that already do it.
It is a problem that has obviously been solved be some organizations like Netcom, Earthlink, etc.   Thanks.
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jht
Asked:
jht
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1 Solution
 
n0thingCommented:
NIS+ could handle it, netcom is using NIS+, AOL uses a mainframe.
Just install a NIS+ server for each point of access, divide
it into subdomain if load arises. I won't go into the technical
details of it. But you'll have to carefully plan your network architecture/design. I'm currently running NIS+ for over
600K users with minors problems.

Good luck,
n0thing
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jhtAuthor Commented:
Its not clear to me how to distribute users among NIS+ sub-domains.  If user 'aaa' is traveling, they might to connect to a POP anywhere in the country.  How then to decide which subdomain they are in?  Also users will want a simple email address like:  aaa@netcom.com -- how to does this mesh with putting the users in sub-domains?  How many users can be in a sub-domain? Perhaps I'm mis-understood the sub domain concept...

Was also wondering if users with large NIS+ systems like n0thing or Netcom are using the database system supplied with NIS+ or have replaced it with something else using the methods described in 'man nis_db'?

Thanks.
 
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n0thingCommented:
You could divide users by geographical regions. If you provide
shell access, users must have a physical point of access according to their geographical regions. Just add the user in
their "home" subdomain. Most provider or all of them charge more for "roaming" users. POP access stays the same way, once they access the Net from whereever they call, they could access their POP server, since the POP is on the Net.
For aaa@netcom.com it's no problem a mail gateway could simply route the mail to the local POP server. User from anywhere on the
net could simply access to the local.pop.netcom.com and get their
mails from there.
I use standard NIS database supplied with NIS+, i don't know about Netcom.
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jhtAuthor Commented:
In order for mail to aaa@netcom.com  to be routed to a local POP server, it means that "aaa" is unique across the entire netcom.com system.  i.e. a database of all netcom.com users much exist and when new users signup the database must be checked fo ensure the new user id is unique.  If you've got all the users in one NIS+ domain, this happens automatically.  If you've split them into subdomains, I don't understand how this would work.

None of the national ISPs I've used (netcom, AT&T Worldnet, Compuserve, ...) charge extra for roaming.  You can call into any of their nodes any time without advance notice.  
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n0thingCommented:
The database on the mail gateway is the main database. It contains basicly all the unique user ID. So a basic setup will be
1- Checking on the mail gateway to make sure that user does not
   exist.
2- Add the user on the local subdomain.
3- Add an alias on the mail gateway "netcom.com" to route any mails to "aaa@netcom.com" to "aaa@local.pop.netcom.com".

If they don't charge for roaming, then all their dial-up server
must query a same centralize PPP authentication server. This central server could be duplicated accross sites to handle the load. Centralize PPP authentication doesn't have to be NIS+. It could be of any scheme, flat passwd file, SecureID, it depends
on the hardware you use. So my PPP login passwd is not necessary
the same as my Unix account login password ... NIS+ is used to
handle Unix accounts and so on. PPP login/account could be handled on a different way, depending on the hardware you use.
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