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Internet-Draft                                         Ellen J. Stokes
LDAP Duplication/Replication/Update                     Tivoli Systems
Protocols WG                                          Russel F. Weiser
Intended Category: Informational               Digital Signature Trust
Expires: August 2002                                     Ryan D. Moats
                                                        Lemur Networks
                                                      Richard V. Huber
                                                     AT&T Laboratories
                                                         February 2002

                    LDAPv3 Replication Requirements

Status of This Memo

This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with all
provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task
Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note that other
groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts.

Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference material
or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

The list of Internet-Drafts Shadow Directories can be accessed at

Copyright Notice

Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2000). All Rights Reserved.


This document discusses the fundamental requirements for replication of
data accessible via the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (version
3) [RFC2251].  It is intended to be a gathering place for general
replication requirements needed to provide interoperability between
informational directories.

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The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction.......................................................4
2 Terminology........................................................4
3 The Models.........................................................7
4 Requirements.......................................................8
 4.1  General........................................................8
 4.2  Model..........................................................9
 4.3  Protocol......................................................10
 4.4  Schema........................................................11
 4.5  Single Master.................................................12
 4.6  Multi-Master..................................................12
 4.7  Administration and Management.................................12
 4.8  Security......................................................13
5 Security Considerations...........................................14
6 Acknowledgements..................................................14
7 References........................................................14
A.  APPENDIX A - Usage Scenarios....................................15
 A.1.  Extranet Example.............................................16
 A.2.  Consolidation Example........................................16
 A.3.  Replication Heterogeneous Deployment Example.................16
 A.4.  Shared Name Space Example....................................17
 A.5.  Supplier Initiated Replication...............................17
 A.6.  Consumer Initiated Replication...............................17
 A.7.  Prioritized attribute replication............................17
 A.8.  Bandwidth issues.............................................18
 A.9.  Interoperable Administration and Management..................18
 A.10. Enterprise Directory Replication Mesh........................19
 A.11. Failure of the Master in a Master-Slave Replicated Directory 19
 A.12. Failure of a Directory Holding Critical Service Information..19
B.  APPENDIX B - Rationale..........................................20
 B.1.  Meta-Data Implications.......................................20
 B.2.  Order of Transfer for Replicating Data.......................20
 B.3.  Schema Mismatches and Replication............................21
 B.4.  Detecting and Repairing Inconsistencies Among Replicas.......22
 B.5.  Some Test Cases for Conflict Resolution in Multi-Master
 B.6.  Data Confidentiality and Data Integrity During Replication...26
 B.7.  Failover in Single-Master Systems............................27
 B.8.  Including Operational Attributes in Atomic Operations........28
Authors' Addresses..................................................28
Full Copyright Statement............................................29

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1  Introduction

Distributing directory information throughout the network provides a
two-fold benefit: (1) it increases the reliability of the directory
through fault tolerance, and (2) it brings the directory content closer
to the clients using the data.  LDAP's success as an access protocol
for directory information is driving the need to distribute LDAP
directory content within the enterprise and Internet.  Currently, LDAP
does not define a replication mechanism, and mentions LDAP shadow
servers (see [RFC2251]) in passing. A standard mechanism for directory
replication in a multi-vendor environment is critical to the continued
success of LDAP in the market place.

This document sets out the requirements for replication between
multiple LDAP servers.  While RFC 2251 and RFC 2252 [RFC2252] set forth
the standards for communication between LDAP clients and servers there
are additional requirements for server-to-server communication.  Some
of these are covered here.

This document first introduces the terminology to be used, then
presents the different replication models being considered.
Requirements follow, along with security considerations.  The reasoning
that leads to the requirements is presented in the Appendices.  This
was done to provide a clean separation of the requirements from their

2  Terminology

The following terms are used in this document:

Anonymous Replication - Replication where the endpoints are identified
to each other but not authenticated.  Also known as "unauthenticated

Area of replication - A whole or portion of a Directory Information
Tree (DIT) that makes up a distinct unit of data to be replicated.  An
area of replication is defined by a replication base entry and includes
all or some of the depending entries contained therein on a single
server.  It divides directory data into partitions whose propagation
behavior may be independently configured from other partitions.  Areas
of replication may overlap or be nested.  This is a subset of the
definition of a "replicated area" in X.525 [X.525].

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Atomic operation - A set of changes to directory data which the LDAP
standards guarantee will be treated as a unit; all changes will be made
or all the changes will fail.

Atomicity Information - Information about atomic operations passed as
part of replication.

Conflict - A situation that arises when changes are made to the same
directory data on different directory servers before replication can
synchronize the data on the servers.  When the servers do synchronize,
they have inconsistent data - a conflict.

Conflict resolution - Deterministic procedures used to resolve change
information conflicts that may arise during replication.

Critical OID - Attributes or object classes defined in the replication
agreement as being critical to the operation of the system.  Changes
affecting critical OIDs cause immediate initiation of a replica cycle.
An example of a critical OID might be a password or certificate.

Fractional replication - The capability to filter a subset of
attributes for replication.

Incremental Update - An update that contains only those attributes or
entries that have changed.

Master Replica - A replica that may be directly updated via LDAP
operations.  In a Master-Slave Replication system, the Master Replica
is the only directly updateable replica in the replica-group.

Master-Slave, or Single Master Replication - A replication model that
assumes only one server, the master, allows LDAP write access to the
replicated data.  Note that Master-Slave replication can be considered
a proper subset of multi-master replication.

Meta-Data - Data collected by the replication system that describes the
status/state of replication.

Multi-Master Replication - A replication model where entries can be
written and updated on any of several master replica copies without
requiring communication with other master replicas before the write or
update is performed.

One-way Replication  - The process of synchronization in a single
direction where the authoritative source information is provided to a

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Partial Replication - Partial Replication is Fractional Replication,
Sparse Replication, or both.

Propagation Behavior - The behavior of the synchronization process
between a consumer and a supplier.

Replica - An instance of an area of replication on a server.

Replica-Group - The servers that hold instances of a particular area of
replication.  A server may be part of several replica-groups.

Replica (or Replication) Cycle - The interval during which update
information is exchanged between two or more replicas.  It begins
during an attempt to push data to, or pull data from, another replica
or set of replicas, and ends when the data has successfully been
exchanged or an error is encountered.

Replication - The process of synchronizing data distributed across
directory servers and rectifying update conflicts.

Replication Agreement - A collection of information describing the
parameters of replication between two or more servers in a replica-

Replication Base Entry - The distinguished name of the root vertex of a
replicated area.

Replication Initiation Conflict - A Replication Initiation Conflict is
a situation where two sources want to update the same replica at the
same time.

Replication Session - A session set up between two servers in a
replica-group to pass update information as part of a replica cycle.

Slave (or Read-Only) Replica - A replica that cannot be directly
updated via LDAP requests.  Changes may only be made via replication
from a master replica.  Read-only replicas may occur in both single-
and multi-master systems.

Sparse Replication - The capability to filter some subset of entries
(other than a complete collection) of an area of replication.

Topology - The shape of the directed graph describing the relationships
between replicas.

Two-way Replication  - The process of synchronization where change
information flows bi-directionally between two replicas.

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Unauthenticated Replication - See Anonymous Replication.

Update Propagation - Protocol-based process by which directory replicas
are reconciled.

3  The Models

The objective is to provide an interoperable, LDAP v3 directory
synchronization protocol that is simple, efficient and flexible;
supporting both multi-master and master-slave replication.  The
protocol must meet the needs of both the Internet and enterprise

There are five data consistency models.

Model 1: Transactional Consistency -- Environments that exhibit all
four of the ACID properties (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation,
Durability) [ACID].

Model 2: Eventual (or Transient) Consistency -- Environments where
definite knowledge of the topology is provided through predetermined
replication agreements.  Examples include X.500 Directories (the X.500
model is single-master only) [X.501, X.525], Bayou [XEROX], and NDS
(Novell Directory Services) [NDS].  In this model, every update
propagates to every replica that it can reach via a path of stepwise
eventual connectivity.

Model 3: Limited Effort Eventual (or Probabilistic) Consistency --
Environments that provide a statistical probability of convergence with
knowledge of topology.  An example is the Xerox Clearinghouse [XEROX2].
This model is similar to "Eventual Consistency", except where replicas
may purge updates.  Purging drops propagation changes when some replica
time boundary is exceeded, thus leaving some changes replicated to only
a portion of the topology.  Transactional consistency is not preserved,
though some weaker constraints on consistency are available.

Model 4: Loosest Consistency -- Environments where information is
provided from an opportunistic or simple cache until stale.  Complete
knowledge of topology may not be shared among all replicas.

Model 5: Ad hoc -- A copy of a data store where no follow up checks are
made for the accuracy/freshness of the data.

Consistency models 1, 2 and 3 involve the use of prearranged
replication agreements among servers.  While model 1 may simplify
support for atomicity in multi-master systems, the added complexity of
the distributed 2-phase commit required for Model 1 is significant;
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therefor, model 1 will not be considered at this time.  Models 4 and 5
involve unregistered replicas that "pull" updates from another
directory server without that server's knowledge.  These models violate
a directory's security policies.

Models 2 and 3 illustrate two replication scenarios that must be
handled: policy configuration through security management parameters
(model 2), and hosting relatively static data and address information
as in white-pages applications (model 3).  Therefore, replication
requirements are presented for models 2 and 3.

Interoperability among directories using LDAP replication may be
limited for implementations that add semantics beyond those specified
by the LDAP core documents (RFC 2251-2256, 2829, 2830). In addition,
the "core" specifications include numerous features which are not
mandatory-to-implement (e.g. RECOMMENDED or OPTIONAL).  There are also
numerous elective extensions.  Thus LDAP replication interoperability
between independent implementations of LDAP which support different
options may be limited.  Use of applicability statements to improve
interoperability in particular application spaces is RECOMMENDED.

4  Requirements

4.1 General

G1.  LDAP Replication MUST support models 2 (Eventual Consistency) and
3 (Limited Effort Eventual Consistency) above.

G2.  LDAP Replication SHOULD NOT preclude support for model 1
(Transactional Consistency) in the future.

G3.  LDAP replication SHOULD have minimal impact on system performance.

G4.  The LDAP Replication Standard SHOULD NOT limit the replication
transaction rate.

G5.  The LDAP replication standard SHOULD NOT limit the size of an area
of replication or a replica.

G6.  Meta-data collected by the LDAP replication mechanism MUST NOT
grow without bound.

G7.  All policy and state data pertaining to replication MUST be
accessible via LDAP.

G8.  LDAP replication MUST be capable of replicating the following:
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     -   all userApplication attribute types
     -   all directoryOperation and distributedOperation attribute
         types defined in the LDAP "core" specifications (RFC 2251-
         2256, 2829-2830)
     -   attribute subtypes
     -   attribute description options (e.g. ";binary" and Language

G9.  LDAP replication SHOULD support replication of directoryOperation
and distributedOperation attribute types defined in standards track
LDAP extensions.  Future standards track specifications SHOULD include
a "Replication Considerations" section which indicates how and whether
the new feature operates in a replicated environment.

G10. LDAP replication MUST NOT support replication of dsaOperation
attribute types as such attributes are DSA-specific.

G11. The LDAP replication system should limit impact on the network by
minimizing the number of messages and the amount of traffic sent.

4.2 Model

M1.  The model MUST support the following triggers for initiation of a
replica cycle:

  a) A configurable set of scheduled times
  b) Periodically, with a configurable period between replica cycles
  c) A configurable maximum amount of time between replica cycles
  d) A configurable number of accumulated changes
  e) Change in the value of a critical OID
  f) As the result of an automatic rescheduling after a replication
    initiation conflict
  g) A manual request for immediate replication

With the exception of manual request, the specific trigger(s) and
related parameters for a given server MUST be identified in a well-
known place defined by the standard, e.g. the Replication Agreement(s).

M2.  The replication model MUST support both master-slave and multi-
master relationships.

M3.  An attribute in an entry must eventually converge to the same set
of values in every replica holding that entry.

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M4.  LDAP replication MUST encompass schema definitions, attribute
names and values, access control information, knowledge information,
and name space information.

M5.  LDAP replication MUST NOT require that all copies of the
replicated information be complete, but MAY require that at least one
copy be complete.  The model MUST support Partial Replicas.

M6.  The determination of which OIDs are critical MUST be configurable
in the replication agreement.

M7.  The parameters of the replication process among the members of the
replica-group, including access parameters, necessary authentication
credentials, assurances of confidentiality (encryption), and area(s) of
replication MUST be defined in a standard location (e.g. the
replication agreements).

M8.  The replication agreements SHOULD accommodate multiple servers
receiving the same area of replication under a single predefined

M9.  LDAP replication MUST provide scalability to both enterprise and
Internet environments, e.g. an LDAP server must be able to provide
replication services to replicas within an enterprise as well as across
the Internet.

M10. While different directory implementations can support
different/extended schema, schema mismatches between two replicating
servers MUST be handled.  One way of handling such mismatches might be
to raise an error condition.

M11. There MUST be a facility that can update, or totally refresh, a
replica-group from a standard data format, such as LDIF format

M12.  An update received by a consumer more than once MUST NOT produce
a different outcome than if the update were received only once.

4.3 Protocol

P1.  The replication protocol MUST provide for recovery and
rescheduling of a replication session due to replication initiation
conflicts (e.g. consumer busy replicating with other servers) and or
loss of connection (e.g. supplier cannot reach a replica).

P2.  LDUP replication SHOULD NOT send an update to a consumer if the
consumer has previously acknowledged that update.

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P3.  The LDAP replication protocol MUST allow for full update to
facilitate replica initialization and reset loading utilizing a
standardized format such as LDIF [RFC2849] format.

P4.  Incremental replication MUST be allowed.

P5.  The replication protocol MUST allow either a master or slave
replica to initiate the replication process.

P6.  The protocol MUST preserve atomicity of LDAP operations as defined
in RFC2251 [RFC2251].  In a multi-master environment this may lead to
an unresolvable conflict.  MM5 and MM6 discuss how to handle this

P7.  The protocol MUST support a mechanism to report schema mismatches
between replicas discovered during a replication session.

4.4 Schema

SC1.  A standard way to determine what replicas are held on a server
MUST be defined.

SC2.  A standard schema for representing replication agreements MUST be

SC3.  The semantics associated with modifying the attributes of
replication agreements MUST be defined.

SC4.  A standard method for determining the location of replication
agreements MUST be defined.

SC5.  A standard schema for publishing state information about a given
replica MUST be defined.

SC6.  A standard method for determining the location of replica state
information MUST be defined.

SC7.  It MUST be possible for appropriately authorized administrators,
regardless of their network location, to access replication agreements
in the DIT.

SC8.  Replication agreements of all servers containing replicated
information MUST be accessible via LDAP.

SC9.  An entry MUST be uniquely identifiable throughout its lifetime.

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4.5 Single Master

SM1.  A Single Master system SHOULD provide a fast method of promoting
a slave replica to become the master replica.

SM2.  The master replica in a Single Master system SHOULD send all
changes to read-only replicas in the order in which the master applied

4.6 Multi-Master

MM1.  The replication protocol SHOULD NOT saturate the network with
redundant or unnecessary entry replication.

MM2.  The initiator MUST be allowed to determine whether it will become
a consumer or supplier during the synchronization startup process.

MM3.  During a replica cycle, it MUST be possible for the two servers
to switch between the consumer and supplier roles.

MM4.  When multiple master replicas want to start a replica cycle with
the same replica at the same time, the model MUST have an automatic and
deterministic mechanism for resolving or avoiding replication
initiation conflict.

MM5.  Multi-master replication MUST NOT lose information during
replication.  If conflict resolution would result in the loss of
directory information, the replication process MUST store that
information, notify the administrator of the nature of the conflict and
the information that was lost, and provide a mechanism for possible
override by the administrator.

MM6.  Multi-master replication MUST support convergence of the values
of attributes and entries.  Convergence may result in an event as
described in MM5.

MM7.  Multi-master conflict resolution MUST NOT depend on the in-order
arrival of changes at a replica to assure eventual convergence.

MM8.  Multi-master replication MUST support read-only replicas as well
as read-write replicas.

4.7 Administration and Management

AM1.  Replication agreements MUST allow the initiation of a replica
cycle to be administratively postponed to a more convenient period.

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AM2.  Each copy of a replica MUST maintain audit history information of
which servers it has replicated with and which servers have replicated
with it.

AM3.  Access to replication agreements, topologies, and policy
attributes MUST be provided through LDAP.

AM4.  The capability to check the differences between two replicas for
the same information SHOULD be provided.

AM5. A mechanism to fix differences between replicas without triggering
new replica cycles SHOULD be provided.

AM6.  The sequence of updates to access control information (ACI) and
the data controlled by that ACI MUST be maintained by replication.

AM7. It MUST be possible to add a 'blank' replica to a replica-group,
and force a full update from (one of) the Master(s), for the purpose of
adding a new directory server to the system.

AM8. Vendors SHOULD provide tools to audit schema compatibility within
a potential replica-group.

4.8 Security

The terms "data confidentiality" and "data integrity" are defined in
the Internet Security Glossary [RFC2828].

S1.  The protocol MUST support mutual authentication of the source and
the replica directories during initialization of a replication session.

S2.  The protocol MUST support mutual verification of authorization of
the source to send and the replica to receive replicated data during
initialization of a replication session.

S3.  The protocol MUST also support the initialization of anonymous
replication sessions.

S4.  The replication protocol MUST support transfer of data with data
integrity and data confidentiality.

S5.  The replication protocol MUST support the ability during
initialization of a replication session for an authenticated source and
replica to mutually decide to disable data integrity and data
confidentiality within the context of and for the duration of that
particular replication session.

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S6.  To promote interoperability, there MUST be a mandatory-to-
implement data confidentiality mechanism.

S7.  The transport for administrative access MUST permit assurance of
the integrity and confidentiality of all data transferred.

S8.  To support data integrity, there must be a mandatory-to-implement
data integrity mechanism.

5  Security Considerations

This document includes security requirements (listed in section 4.8
above) for the replication model and protocol.  As noted in Section 3,
interoperability may be impacted when replicating among servers that
implement non-standard extensions to basic LDAP semantics.  Security-
related and general LDAP interoperability will be significantly
impacted by the degree of consistency with which LDAP implementations
support the access control requirements [RFC2820].

6  Acknowledgements

This document is based on input from IETF members interested in LDUP

7  References

[ACID] T. Haerder, A. Reuter, "Principles of Transaction-Oriented
Database Recovery", Computing Surveys, Vol. 15, No. 4 (December 1983),
pp. 287-317.

 [NDS] Novell, "NDS Technical Overview", 104-000223-001,
September, 2000.

[RFC2119]  S. Bradner, "Key Words for Use in RFCs to Indicate
Requirement Levels", RFC 2119, March 1997.

[RFC2251]  M. Wahl, T. Howes, S. Kille, "Lightweight Directory Access
Protocol", RFC 2251, December 1997.

[RFC2252]  M. Wahl, A. Coulbeck, T. Howes, S. Kille, "Lightweight
Directory Access Protocol (v3): Attribute Syntax Definitions", RFC
2252, December 1997.

[RFC2253]  S. Kille, M. Wahl, and T. Howes, "Lightweight Directory
Access Protocol (v3): UTF-8 String Representation of Distinguished
Names", RFC 2253, December 1997.
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[RFC2254]  T. Howes, "The String Representation of LDAP Search
Filters", RFC 2254, December 1997.

[RFC2255]  T. Howes, M. Smith, "The LDAP URL Format", RFC 2255,
December 1997.

[RFC2256]  M. Wahl, "A Summary of the X.500(96) User Schema for use
with LDAPv3", RFC 2256, December 1997.

[RFC2820]  E. Stokes, D. Byrne, R. Blakley, P. Behera, "Access Control
Requirements for LDAP", RFC 2820, May 2000.

[RFC2828]  R. Shirey, "Internet Security Glossary", RFC2828, May 2000.

[RFC2829]  M. Wahl, H. Alvestrand, J. Hodges, R. Morgan.
"Authentication Methods for LDAP", RFC 2829, May 2000.

[RFC2830]  J. Hodges, R. Morgan, M. Wahl, "Lightweight Directory Access
Protocol (v3): Extension for Transport Layer Security", RFC 2830, May

[RFC2849]  Gordon Good, "The LDAP Data Interchange Format (LDIF)", RFC
2849, June 2000.

[X.501] ITU-T Recommendation X.501 (1993), | ISO/IEC 9594-2: 1993,
Information Technology - Open Systems Interconnection - The Directory:

[X.525] ITU-T Recommendation X.525 (1997), | ISO/IEC 9594-9: 1997,
Information Technology - Open Systems Interconnection - The Directory:

[XEROX] C. Hauser, "Managing update conflicts in Bayou, a weakly
connected replicated storage system". Palo Alto, CA: Xerox PARC,
Computer Science Laboratory; 1995 August; CSL-95-4. [CSL-95-04]

[XEROX2] Alan D. Demers, Mark Gealy, Daniel Greene, Carl Hauser, Wesley
Irish, John Larson, Sue Manning, Scott Shenker, Howard Sturgis, Daniel
Swinehart, Douglas Terry, Don Woods, "Epidemic Algorithms for
Replicated Database Maintenance". Palo Alto, CA, Xerox PARC, January

A. APPENDIX A - Usage Scenarios

The following directory deployment examples are intended to validate
our replication requirements.  A heterogeneous set of directory
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implementations is assumed for all the cases below.  This material is
intended as background; no requirements are presented in this Appendix.

A.1. Extranet Example

A company has a trading partner with whom it wishes to share directory
information.  This information may be as simple as a corporate
telephone directory, or as complex as an extranet workflow application.
For performance reasons, the company wishes to place a replica of its
directory within the Partner Company, rather than exposing its
directory beyond its firewall.

The requirements that follow from this scenario are:
-  One-way replication, single mastered.
-  Authentication of clients.
-  Common access control and access control identification.
-  Secure transmission of updates.
-  Selective attribute replication (Fractional Replication), so that
   only partial entries can be replicated.

A.2. Consolidation Example

Company A acquires company B.  Each company has an existing directory.

During the transition period, as the organizations are merged, both
directory services must coexist.  Company A may wish to attach company
B's directory to its own.

The requirements that follow from this scenario are:
-  Multi-Master replication.
-  Common access control model. Access control model identification.
-  Secure transmission of updates.
-  Replication between DITs with potentially differing schema.

A.3. Replication Heterogeneous Deployment Example

An organization may choose to deploy directory implementations from
multiple vendors, to enjoy the distinguishing benefits of each.

In this case, multi-master replication is required to ensure that the
multiple replicas of the DIT are synchronized. Some vendors may provide
directory clients, which are tied to their own directory service.

The requirements that follow from this scenario are:
-  Multi-Master replication
-  Common access control model and Access control model identification.
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-  Secure transmission of updates.
-  Replication among DITs with potentially differing schemas.

A.4. Shared Name Space Example

Two organizations may choose to cooperate on some venture and need a
shared name space to manage their operation.  Both organizations will
require administrative rights over the shared name space.

The requirements that follow from this scenario are:
-  Multi-Master replication.
-  Common access control model and Access control model identification.
-  Secure transmission of updates.

A.5. Supplier Initiated Replication

This is a single master environment that maintains a number of replicas
of the DIT by pushing changes based on a defined schedule.

The requirements that follow from this scenario are:
-  Single-master environment.
-  Supplier-initiated replication.
-  Secure transmission of updates.

A.6. Consumer Initiated Replication

Again a single mastered replication topology, but the slave replica
initiates the replication exchange rather than the master.  An example
of this is a replica that resides on a laptop computer that may run
disconnected for a period of time.

The requirements that follow from this scenario are:
-  Single-master environment.
-  Consumer initiated replication.
-  Open scheduling (anytime).

A.7. Prioritized attribute replication

The password attribute can provide an example of the requirement for
prioritized attribute replication.  A user is working in Utah and the
administrator resides in California.  The user has forgotten his
password.  So the user calls or emails the administrator to request a
new password.  The administrator provides the updated password (a
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Under normal conditions, the directory replicates to a number of
different locations overnight.  But corporate security policy states
that passwords are critical and the new value must be available
immediately (e.g. shortly) after any change.  Replication needs to
occur immediately for critical attributes/entries.

The requirements that follow from this scenario are:
-  Incremental replication of changes.
-  Immediate replication on change of certain attributes.
-  Replicate based on time/attribute semantics.

A.8. Bandwidth issues

The replication of Server (A) R/W replica (a) in Kathmandu is handled
via a dial up phone link to Paris where server (B) R/W replica of (a)
resides. Server (C) R/W replica of (a) is connected by a T1 connection
to server (B). Each connection has a different performance

The requirements that follow from this scenario are:
-  Minimize repetitive updates when replicating from multiple
   replication paths.
-  Incremental replication of changes.
-  Provide replication cycles to delay and/or retry when connections
   cannot be reached.
-  Allowances for consumer initiated or supplier initiated replication.

A.9. Interoperable Administration and Management

The administrator with administrative authority of the corporate
directory which is replicated by numerous geographically dispersed LDAP
servers from different vendors notices that the replication process is
not completing correctly as the change log is continuing to grow and/or
error message informs him.  The administrator uses his $19.95 RepCo
LDAP directory replication diagnostics tools to look at Root DSE
replica knowledge on server 17 and determines that server 42 made by
LDAP'RUS Inc. is not replicating properly due to an Object conflict.
Using his Repco Remote repair tools he connects to server 42 and
resolves the conflict on the remote server.

The requirements that follow from this scenario are:
-  Provides replication audit history.
-  Provisions for managing conflict resolution.
-  Provide LDAP access to predetermined agreements, topology and policy
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-  Provide operations for comparing replica's content for validity.
-  Provide LDAP access to status and audit information.

A.10.      Enterprise Directory Replication Mesh

A Corporation builds a mesh of directory servers within the enterprise
utilizing LDAP servers from various vendors. Five servers are holding
the same area of replication. The predetermined replication
agreement(s) for the enterprise mesh are under a single management, and
the security domain allows a single predetermined replication agreement
to manage the 5 servers' replication.

The requirements that follow from this scenario are:
-  One predefined replication agreement that manages a single area of
   replication that is held on numerous servers.
-  Common support of replication management knowledge across vendor
-  Rescheduling and continuation of a replication cycle when one server
   in a replica-group is busy and/or unavailable.

A.11.     Failure of the Master in a Master-Slave Replicated Directory

A company has a corporate directory that is used by the corporate email
system.  The directory is held on a mesh of servers from several
vendors.  A corporate relocation results in the closing of the location
where the master copy of the directory is located.  Employee
information (such as mailbox locations and employee certificate
information) must be kept up to date or mail cannot be delivered.

The requirements that follow from this scenario are:
-  An existing slave replica must be "promote-able" to become the new
-  The "promotion" must be done without significant downtime, since
   updates to the directory will continue.

A.12.     Failure of a Directory Holding Critical Service Information

An ISP uses a policy management system that uses a directory as the
policy data repository.  The directory is replicated in several
different sites on different vendors' products to avoid single points
of failure.  It is imperative that the directory be available and be
updateable even if one site is disconnected from the network.  Changes
to the data must be traceable, and it must be possible to determine how
changes made from different sites interacted.

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The requirements that follow from this scenario are:
-  Multi-master replication
-  Ability to reschedule replication sessions
-  Support for manual review and override of replication conflict

B. APPENDIX B - Rationale

This Appendix gives some of the background behind the requirements.  It
is included to help the protocol designers understand the thinking
behind some of the requirements and to present some of the issues that
should be considered during design.  With the exception of section B.8,
which contains a suggested requirement for the update to RFC 2251, this
Appendix does not state any formal requirements.

B.1. Meta-Data Implications

Requirement G4 states that meta-data must not grow without bound.  This
implies that meta-data must, at some point, be purged from the system.
This, in turn, raises concerns about stability.  Purging meta-data
before all replicas have been updated may lead to incomplete
replication of change information and inconsistencies among replicas.
Therefore, care must be taken setting up the rules for purging meta-
data from the system while still ensuring that meta-data will not grow

B.2. Order of Transfer for Replicating Data

Situations may arise where it would be beneficial to replicate data
out-of-order (e.g. send data to consumer replicas in a different order
than it was processed at the supplier replica).  One such case might
occur if a large bulk load was done on the master server in a single-
master environment and then a single change to a critical OID (a
password change, for example) was then made.  Rather than wait for all
the bulk data to be sent to the replicas, the password change might be
moved to the head of the queue and be sent before all the bulk data was
transferred.  Other cases where this might be considered are schema
changes or changes to critical policy data stored in the directory.

While there are practical benefits to allowing out-of-order transfer,
there are some negative consequences as well.  Once out-of-order
transfers are permitted, all receiving replicas must be prepared to
deal with data and schema conflicts that might arise.

As an example, assume that schema changes are critical and must be
moved to the front of the replication queue.  Now assume that a schema
change deletes an attribute for some object class.  It is possible that
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some of the operations ahead of the schema change in the queue are
operations to delete values of the soon-to-be-deleted attribute so that
the schema change can be done with no problems.  If the schema change
moves to the head of the queue, the consumer servers might have to
delete an attribute that still has values, and then receive requests to
delete the values of an attribute that is no longer defined.

In the multi-master case, similar situations can arise when
simultaneous changes are made to different replicas.  Thus, multi-
master systems must have conflict resolution algorithms in place to
handle such situations.  But in the single-master case conflict
resolution is not needed unless the master is allowed to send data out-
of-order.  This is the reasoning behind requirement SM2, which
recommends that data always be sent in order in single-master

Note that even with this restriction, the concept of a critical OID is
still useful in single-master replication.  An example of its utility
can be found in section A.7.

B.3. Schema Mismatches and Replication

Multi-vendor environments are the primary area of interest for LDAP
replication standards.  Some attention must thus be paid to the issue
of schema mismatches, since they can easily arise when vendors deliver
slightly different base schema with their directory products.  Even
when both products meet the requirements of the standards [RFC2252],
the vendors may have included additional attributes or object classes
with their products.  When two different vendors' products attempt to
replicate, these additions can cause schema mismatches.  Another
potential cause of schema mismatches is discussed in section A.3.

There are only a few possible responses when a mismatch is discovered.

-  Raise an error condition and ignore the data.  This should always be
   allowed and is the basis for requirement P8 and the comment on M10.
-  Map/convert the data to the form required by the consuming replica.
   A system may choose this course; requirement M10 is intended to
   allow this option.  The extent of the conversion is up to the
   implementation; in the extreme it could support use of the
   replication protocol in meta-directories.
-  Quietly ignore (do not store on the consumer replica and do not
   raise an error condition) any data that does not conform to the
   schema at the consumer.

Requirement M10 is intended to exclude the last option.

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Requirement AM8 suggests that vendors should provide tools to help
discover schema mismatches when replication is being set up.  But
schema will change after the initial setup, so the replication system
must be prepared to handle unexpected mismatches.

Normal IETF practice in protocol implementation suggests that one be
strict in what one sends and be flexible in what one receives.  The
parallel in this case is that a supplier should be prepared to receive
an error notification for any schema mismatch, but a consumer may
choose to do a conversion instead.

The other option that can be considered in this situation is the use of
fractional replication.  If replication is set up so only the common
attributes are replicated, mismatches can be avoided.

One additional consideration here is replication of the schema itself.
M4 requires that it be possible to replicate schema.  If a consumer
replica is doing conversion, extreme care should be taken if schema
elements are replicated since some attributes are intended to have
different definitions on different replicas.

For fractional replication, the protocol designers and implementors
should give careful consideration to the way they handle schema
replication.  Some options for schema replication include:
-  All schema elements are replicated.
-  Schema elements are replicated only if they are used by attributes
   that are being replicated.
-  Schema are manually configured on the servers involved in fractional
   replication; schema elements are not replicated via the protocol.

B.4. Detecting and Repairing Inconsistencies Among Replicas

Despite the best efforts of designers, implementors, and operators,
inconsistencies will occasionally crop up among replicas in production
directories.  Tools will be needed to detect and to correct these

A special client may accomplish detection through periodic comparisons
of replicas.  This client would typically read two replicas of the same
replication base entry and compare the answers, possibly by BINDing to
each of the two replicas to be compared and reading them both.  In
cases where the directory automatically reroutes some requests (e.g.
chaining), mechanisms to force access to a particular replica should be

Alternatively, the server could support a special request to handle
this situation.  A client would invoke an operation at some server.  It
would cause that server to extract the contents from some other server
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it has a replication agreement with and report the differences back to
the client as the result

If an inconsistency is found, it needs to be repaired.  To determine
the appropriate repair, the administrator will need access to the
replication history to figure out how the inconsistency occurred and
what the correct repair should be.

When a repair is made, it should be restricted to the replica that
needs to be fixed; the repair should not cause new replication events
to be started.  This may require special tools to change the local data
store without triggering replication.

Requirements AM2, AM4, and AM5 address these needs.

B.5. Some Test Cases for Conflict Resolution in Multi-Master

Use of multi-master replication inevitably leads to the possibility
that incompatible changes will be made simultaneously on different
servers.  In such cases, conflict resolution algorithms must be

As a guiding principle, conflict resolution should avoid surprising the
user.  One way to do this is to adopt the principle that, to the extent
possible, conflict resolution should mimic the situation that would
happen if there were a single server where all the requests were

While this is a useful guideline, there are some situations where it is
impossible to implement.  Some of these cases are examined in this
section.  In particular, there are some cases where data will be "lost"
in multi-master replication that would not be lost in a single-server

In the examples below, assume that there are three replicas, A, B, and
C.  All three replicas are updateable.  Changes are made to replicas A
and B before replication allows either replica to see the change made
on the other.  In discussion of the multi-master cases, we assume that
the change to A takes precedence using whatever rules are in force for
conflict resolution.

B.5.1. Create-Create

A user creates a new entry with distinguished name DN on A.  At the
same time, a different user adds an entry with the same distinguished
name on B.

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In the single-server case, one of the create operations would have
occurred before the other, and the second request would have failed.

In the multi-master case, each create was successful on its originating
server.  The problem is not detected until replication takes place.
When a replication request to create a DN that already exists arrives
at one of the servers, conflict resolution is invoked.  (Note that the
two requests can be distinguished even though they have the same DN
because every entry has some sort of unique identifier per requirement

As noted above, in these discussions we assume that the change from
replica A has priority based on the conflict resolution algorithm.
Whichever change arrives first, requirement MM6 says that the values
from replica A must be those in place on all replicas at the end of the
replication cycle.  Requirement MM5 states that the system cannot
quietly ignore the values from replica B.

The values from replica B might be logged with some notice to the
administrators, or they might be added to the DIT with a machine
generated DN (again with notice to the administrators).  If they are
stored with a machine generated DN, the same DN must be used on all
servers in the replica-group (otherwise requirement M3 would be
violated).  Note that in the case where the entry in question is a
container, storage with a machine generated DN provides a place where
descendent entries may be stored if any descendents were generated
before the replication cycle was completed.

In any case, some mechanism must be provided to allow the administrator
to reverse the conflict resolution algorithm and force the values
originally created on B into place on all replicas if desired.

B.5.2. Rename-Rename

On replica A, an entry with distinguished name DN1 is renamed to DN.
At the same time on replica B, an entry with distinguished name DN2 is
renamed to DN.

In the single-server case, one rename operation would occur before the
other and the second would fail since the target name already exists.

In the multi-master case, each rename was successful on its originating
server.  Assuming that the change on A has priority in the conflict
resolution sense, DN will be left with the values from DN1 in all
replicas and DN1 will no longer exist in any replica.  The question is
what happens to DN2 and its original values.

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Requirement MM5 states that these values must be stored somewhere.
They might be logged, they might be left in the DIT as the values of
DN2, or they might be left in the DIT as the values of some machine
generated DN.  Leaving them as the values of DN2 is attractive since it
is the same as the single-server case, but if a new DN2 has already
been created before the replica cycle finishes, there are some very
complex cases to resolve.  Any of the solutions described in this
paragraph would be consistent with requirement MM5.

B.5.3. Locking Based on Atomicity of ModifyRequest

There is an entry with distinguished name DN that contains attributes
X, Y, and Z.  The value of X is 1.  On replica A, a ModifyRequest is
processed which includes modifications to change that value of X from 1
to 0 and to set the value of Y to "USER1".  At the same time, replica B
processes a ModifyRequest which includes modifications to change the
value of X from 1 to 0 and to set the value of Y to "USER2" and the
value of Z to 42.  The application in this case is using X as a lock
and is depending on the atomic nature of ModifyRequests to provide
mutual exclusion for lock access.

In the single-server case, the two operations would have occurred
sequentially.  Since a ModifyRequest is atomic, the entire first
operation would succeed.  The second ModifyRequest would fail, since
the value of X would be 0 when it was attempted, and the modification
changing X from 1 to 0 would thus fail.  The atomicity rule would cause
all other modifications in the ModifyRequest to fail as well.

In the multi-master case, it is inevitable that at least some of the
changes will be reversed despite the use of the lock.  Assuming the
changes from A have priority per the conflict resolution algorithm, the
value of X should be 0 and the value of Y should be "USER1" The
interesting question is the value of Z at the end of the replication
cycle.  If it is 42, the atomicity constraint on the change from B has
been violated.  But for it to revert to its previous value, grouping
information must be retained and it is not clear when that information
can be safely discarded.  Thus, requirement G6 may be violated.

B.5.4. General Principles

With multi-master replication there are a number of cases where a user
or application will complete a sequence of operations with a server but
those actions are later "undone" because someone else completed a
conflicting set of operations at another server.

To some extent, this can happen in any multi-user system.  If a user
changes the value of an attribute and later reads it back, intervening
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operations by another user may have changed the value.  In the multi-
master case, the problem is worsened, since techniques used to resolve
the problem in the single-server case won't work as shown in the
examples above.

The major question here is one of intended use.  In LDAP standards
work, it has long been said that replication provides "loose
consistency" among replicas.  At several IETF meetings and on the
mailing list, usage examples from finance where locking is required
have been declared poor uses for LDAP.  Requirement G1 is consistent
with this history.  But if loose consistency is the goal, the locking
example above is an inappropriate use of LDAP, at least in a replicated

B.5.5. Avoiding the Problem

The examples above discuss some of the most difficult problems that can
arise in multi-master replication.  While they can be dealt with,
dealing with them is difficult and can lead to situations that are
quite confusing to the application and to users.

The common characteristics of the examples are:

-  Several directory users/applications are changing the same data.
-  They are changing the data before previous changes have replicated.
-  They are using different directory servers to make these changes.
-  They are changing data that are parts of a distinguished name or
   they are using ModifyRequest to both read and write a given
   attribute value in a single atomic request.

If any one of these conditions is reversed, the types of problems
described above will not occur.  There are many useful applications of
multi-master directories where at least one of the above conditions
does not occur.  For cases where all four do occur, application
designers should be aware of the possible consequences.

B.6. Data Confidentiality and Data Integrity During Replication

Directories will frequently hold proprietary information.  Policy
information, name and address information, and customer lists can be
quite proprietary and are likely to be stored in directories.  Such
data must be protected against intercept or modification during

In some cases, the network environment (e.g. a private network) may
provide sufficient data confidentiality and integrity for the
application.  In other cases, the data in the directory may be public
and not require protection.  For these reasons data confidentiality and
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integrity were not made requirements for all replication sessions.  But
there are a substantial number of applications that will need data
confidentiality and integrity for replication, so there is a
requirement (S4) that the protocol allow for data confidentiality and
integrity  in those cases where they are needed.  Typically, the policy
on the use of confidentiality and integrity measures would be held in
the replication agreement per requirement M7.

This leaves the question of what mechanism(s) to use.  While this is
ultimately a design/implementation decision, replication across
different vendors' directory products is an important goal of the LDAP
replication work at the IETF.  If different vendors choose to support
different data confidentiality and integrity mechanisms, the advantages
of a standard replication protocol would be lost.  Thus there is a
requirement (S6) for mandatory-to-implement data confidentiality and
integrity mechanisms.

Anonymous replication (requirement S3) is supported since it may be
useful in the same sorts of situations where data integrity and data
confidentiality protection are not needed.

B.7. Failover in Single-Master Systems

In a single-master system, all modifications must originate at the
master.  The master is therefore a single point of failure for
modifications.  This can cause concern when high availability is a
requirement for the directory system.

One way to reduce the problem is to provide a failover process that
converts a slave replica to master when the original master fails.  The
time required to execute the failover process then becomes a major
factor in availability of the system as a whole.

Factors that designers and implementors should consider when working on
failover include:

-  If the master replica contains control information or meta-data that
   is not part of the slave replica(s), this information will have to
   be inserted into the slave that is being "promoted" to master as
   part of the failover process.  Since the old master is presumably
   unavailable at this point, it may be difficult to obtain this data.
   For example, if the master holds the status information of all
   replicas, but each slave replica only holds its own status
   information, failover would require that the new master get the
   status of all existing replicas, presumably from those replicas.
   Similar issues could arise for replication agreements if the master
   is the only system that holds a complete set.

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-  If data privacy mechanisms (e.g. encryption) are in use during
   replication, the new master would need to have the necessary key
   information to talk to all of the slave replicas.

-  It is not only the new master that needs to be reconfigured.  The
   slaves also need to have their configurations updated so they know
   where updates should come from and where they should refer

-  The failover mechanism should be able to handle a situation where
   the old master is "broken" but not "dead".  The slave replicas
   should ignore updates from the old master after failover is

-  The old master will eventually be repaired and returned to the
   replica-group.  It might join the group as a slave and pick up the
   changes it has "missed" from the new master, or there might be some
   mechanism to bring it into sync with the new master and then let it
   take over as master.  Some resynchronization mechanism will be

-  Availability would be maximized if the whole failover process could
   be automated (e.g. failover is initiated by an external system when
   it determines that the original master is not functioning properly).

B.8. Including Operational Attributes in Atomic Operations

LDAPv3 [RFC2251] declares that some operations are atomic (e.g. all of
the modifications in a single ModifyRequest).  It also defines several
operational attributes that store information about when changes are
made to the directory (createTimestamp, etc.) and which ID was
responsible for a given change (modifiersName, etc.).  Currently, there
is no statement in RFC2251 requiring that changes to these operational
attributes be atomic with the changes to the data.

It is RECOMMENDED that this requirement be added during the revision of
RFC2251.  In the interim, replication SHOULD treat these operations as
though such a requirement were in place.

Authors' Addresses

Russel F. Weiser
Digital Signature Trust Co.
1095 East 2100 South
Suite #201
Salt Lake City, Utah 84106
E-mail: rweiser@trustdst.com
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Telephone: +1 801 326 5421
Fax:  +1 801 326 5421

Ellen J. Stokes
Tivoli Systems
9442 Capital of Texas Hwy N
Austin, TX  78759
E-mail: estokes@tivoli.com
Telephone: +1 512 436 9098
Fax: +1 512 436 1190

Ryan D. Moats
Lemur Networks
15621 Drexel Circle
Omaha, NE  68135
E-Mail: rmoats@lemurnetworks.net
Telephone: +1 402 894 9456

Richard V. Huber
Room C3-3B30
AT&T Laboratories
200 Laurel Avenue South
Middletown, NJ  07748
E-Mail: rvh@att.com
Telephone: +1 732 420 2632
Fax: +1 732 368 1690

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