I'm looking into software which provides a user with a single identity across multiple computers. That is, a user should have the same permissions on each computer, and the user should have access to all of his or her files (roaming home directory) on each computer. There seem to be many solutions for this general idea, but I'm trying to determine the best one for me. Here are some details along with requirements:
- The network of machines are Amazon EC2 instances running Ubuntu.
- We access the machines with SSH.
- Some machines on this LAN may have different uses, but I am only discussing machines for a certain use (running a multi-tenancy platform).
- The system will not necessarily have a constant amount of machines.
- We may have to permanently or temporarily alter the amount of machines running. This is the the reason why I'm looking into centralized authentication/storage.
- The implementation of this effect should be a secure one.
- We're unsure if users will have direct shell access, but their software will potentially be running (under restricted Linux user names, of course) on our systems, which is as good as direct shell access.
- Let's assume that their software could potentially be malicious for the sake of security.
I have heard of several technologies/combinations to achieve my goal, but I'm unsure of the ramifications of each.
- An older ServerFault post recommended NFS & NIS, though the combination has security problems according to this old article by Symantec. The article suggests moving to NIS+, but, as it is old, this Wikipedia article has cited statements suggesting a trending away from NIS+ by Sun. The recommended replacement is another thing I have heard of...
- LDAP. It looks like LDAP can be used to save user information in a centralized location on a network. NFS would still need to be used to cover the 'roaming home folder' requirement, but I see references of them being used together. Since the Symantec article pointed out security problems in both NIS and NFS, is there software to replace NFS, or should I heed that article's suggestions for locking it down? I'm tending toward LDAP because another fundamental piece of our architecture, RabbitMQ, has a authentication/authorization plugin for LDAP. RabbitMQ will be accessible in a restricted manner to users on the system, so I would like to tie the security systems together if possible.
- Kerberos is another secure authentication protocol that I have heard of. I learned a bit about it some years ago in a cryptography class but don't remember much about it. I have seen suggestions online that it can be combined with LDAP in several ways. Is this necessary? What are the security risks of LDAP without Kerberos? I also remember Kerberos being used in another piece of software developed by Carnegie Mellon University...
- Andrew File System, or AFS. OpenAFS is available for use, though its setup seems a bit complicated. At my university, AFS provides both requirements... I can log in to any machine, and my "AFS folder" is always available (at least when I acquire an AFS token).
Along with suggestions for which path I should look into, does anybody have any guides which were particularly helpful? As the bold text pointed out, LDAP looks to be the best choice, but I'm particularly interested in the implementation details (Keberos? NFS?) with respect to security.