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Last pushed: 9 months ago
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openldap on debian
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The image is based on Debian stable ("jessie" at the moment). The Dockerfile is
inspired by cnry/openldap,
but as said before, running a stable Debian and be a little less verbose, but
more complete in the configuration.

NOTE: On purpose, there is no secured channel (TLS/SSL), because I believe that
this service should never be exposed to the internet, but only be used directly
by other Docker containers using the --link option.


The most simple form would be to start the application like so (however this is
not the recommended way - see below):

docker run -d -p 389:389 -e SLAPD_PASSWORD=mysecretpassword -e babim/openldap

To get the full potential this image offers, one should first create a data-only
container or (named) volumes (see "Data persistence" below) and start the
OpenLDAP daemon in one of these ways:

docker run -d --volumes-from your-data-container [CONFIG] babim/openldap
docker run -d --volume your-config-volume:/etc/ldap --volume your-data-volume:/var/lib/ldap [CONFIG] babim/openldap

An application talking to OpenLDAP should then --link the container:

docker run -d --link openldap:openldap image-using-openldap

The name after the colon in the --link section is the hostname where the
OpenLDAP daemon is listening to (the port is the default port 389).

Configuration (environment variables)

For the first run, one has to set at least the first two environment variables.
After the first start of the image (and the initial configuration), these
envirnonment variables are not evaluated again (see the

  • SLAPD_PASSWORD (required) - sets the password for the admin user.
  • SLAPD_DOMAIN (required) - sets the DC (Domain component) parts. E.g. if one sets
    it to, the generated base DC parts would be ...,dc=ldap,dc=example,dc=org.
  • SLAPD_ORGANIZATION (defaults to $SLAPD_DOMAIN) - represents the human readable
    company name (e.g. Example Inc.).
  • SLAPD_CONFIG_PASSWORD - allows password protected access to the dn=config
    branch. This helps to reconfigure the server without interruption (read the
    official documentation).
  • SLAPD_ADDITIONAL_SCHEMAS - loads additional schemas provided in the slapd
    package that are not installed using the environment variable with comma-separated
    enties. As of writing these instructions, there are the following additional schemas
    available: collective, corba, duaconf, dyngroup, java, misc, openldap,
    pmi and ppolicy.
  • SLAPD_ADDITIONAL_MODULES - comma-separated list of modules to load. It will try
    to run .ldif files with a corresponsing name from the module directory.
    Currently only memberof and ppolicy are avaliable.

  • SLAPD_FORCE_RECONFIGURE - (defaults to false) Used if one needs to reconfigure
    the slapd service after the image has been initialized. Set this value to true
    to reconfigure the image.

Setting up ppolicy

The ppolicy module provides enhanced password management capabilities that are
applied to non-rootdn bind attempts in OpenLDAP. In order to it, one has to load
both the schema ppolicy and the module ppolicy:


There is one additional environment variable available:

  • SLAPD_PPOLICY_DN_PREFIX - (defaults to cn=default,ou=policies) sets the dn
    prefix used in modules/ppolicy.ldif for the olcPPolicyDefault attribute. The
    value used for olcPPolicyDefault is derived from $SLAPD_PPOLICY_DN_PREFIX,(dc component parts from $SLAPD_DOMAIN).

After loading the module, you have to load a default password policy. The
contents of default-policy.ldif should look something like this:

# Define password policy
dn: ou=policies,dc=ldap,dc=example,dc=org
objectClass: organizationalUnit
ou: policies

dn: cn=default,ou=policies,dc=ldap,dc=example,dc=org
objectClass: applicationProcess
objectClass: pwdPolicy
cn: default
pwdAllowUserChange: TRUE
pwdAttribute: userPassword
pwdCheckQuality: 1
# 7 days
pwdExpireWarning: 604800
pwdFailureCountInterval: 0
pwdGraceAuthNLimit: 0
pwdInHistory: 5
pwdLockout: TRUE
# 30 minutes
pwdLockoutDuration: 1800
# 180 days
pwdMaxAge: 15552000
pwdMaxFailure: 5
pwdMinAge: 0
pwdMinLength: 6
pwdMustChange: TRUE
pwdSafeModify: FALSE

See the docs for descriptions
on the available attributes and what they mean.

Assuming you are on a host that has the client side tools installed (maybe you
have to change the hostname as well), run:

ldapadd -h localhost -x -c -D 'cn=admin,dc=ldap,dc=example,dc=org' -w [$SLAPD_PASSWORD] -f default-policy.ldif

or use the prepopulation capability described below.

Prepopulate with data

There are some use cases where it is desired to prepopulate the database with
some data before launching the container. In order to do that, one can mount a
host directory as a data volume in /etc/ldap.dist/prepopulate. Each LDIF file
is run through slapadd in alphabetical order. E.g.

docker run -d --volume /path/to/dir/with/ldif-files:/etc/ldap.dist/prepopulate [CONFIG] babim/openldap

Please note that the prepopulation files are only processed on the containers
first run (a.k.a. as long as there is no data in the database).

Data persistence

The image exposes two directories (VOLUME ["/etc/ldap", "/var/lib/ldap"]).
The first holds the "static" configuration while the second holds the actual
database. Please make sure that these two directories are saved (in a data-only
container or alike) in order to make sure that everything is restored after a
restart of the container.

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