ONTAP 9.14

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How ONTAP name service switch configuration works

ONTAP stores name service configuration information in a table that is the equivalent of the /etc/nsswitch.conf file on UNIX systems. You must understand the function of the table and how ONTAP uses it so that you can configure it appropriately for your environment.

The ONTAP name service switch table determines which name service sources ONTAP consults in which order to retrieve information for a certain type of name service information. ONTAP maintains a separate name service switch table for each SVM.

Database types

The table stores a separate name service list for each of the following database types:

Database type Defines name service sources for…​ Valid sources are…​


Converting host names to IP addresses

files, dns


Looking up user group information

files, nis, ldap


Looking up user information

files, nis, ldap


Looking up netgroup information

files, nis, ldap


Mapping user names

files, ldap

Source types

The sources specify which name service source to use for retrieving the appropriate information.

Specify source type…​ To look up information in…​ Managed by the command families…​


Local source files

vserver services name-service unix-user vserver services name-service unix-group

vserver services name-service netgroup

vserver services name-service dns hosts


External NIS servers as specified in the NIS domain configuration of the SVM

vserver services name-service nis-domain


External LDAP servers as specified in the LDAP client configuration of the SVM

vserver services name-service ldap


External DNS servers as specified in the DNS configuration of the SVM

vserver services name-service dns

Even if you plan to use NIS or LDAP for both data access and SVM administration authentication, you should still include files and configure local users as a fallback in case NIS or LDAP authentication fails.

Protocols used to access external sources

To access the servers for external sources, ONTAP uses the following protocols:

External name service source Protocol used for access








The following example displays the name service switch configuration for the SVM svm_1:

cluster1::*> vserver services name-service ns-switch show -vserver svm_1
Vserver         Database       Order
--------------- ------------   ---------
svm_1           hosts          files,
svm_1           group          files
svm_1           passwd         files
svm_1           netgroup       nis,

To look up user or group information, ONTAP consults only local sources files. If the query does not return any results, the lookup fails.

To look up netgroup information, ONTAP first consults external NIS servers. If the query does not return any results, the local netgroup file is checked next.

There are no name service entries for name mapping in the table for the SVM svm_1. Therefore, ONTAP consults only local source files by default.

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