The NetApp ONTAP operating system provides the ability to unify clients under a single namespace by way of storage virtual machines (SVMs). These SVMs can live on clusters that are up to 24 nodes in size. Each SVM provides the ability to offer individualized LDAP, NIS, DNS, and local file configurations for authentication purposes. These features are also known as “name services.”
External servers can provide replicated copies of databases containing user information, such as UID, GID, group membership, home directory, and other information, as well as netgroup and name resolution capabilities. These external servers make it possible to manage large environments that span global locations without extra administrative overhead and with the ability to reduce WAN latency by providing localized copies of databases to clients and servers.