I have a homelab there is growing larger and larger and I am learning more and more every day. I was wondering if it is possible to manage all of my users from one server? So i don't have to create a new root and normal user with sudo access each time i spin up another Vm? and easily create a new user, reset password and ect.

closed as off-topic by Ward, mdpc, MadHatter, womble Nov 7 '15 at 0:14

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You can manage your users using a ldap server, look at freeipa: https://www.freeipa.org/page/Main_Page


There are a variety of central user management techniques available in Linux: , , and are the oldest and probably the best documented and debugged. All of those are going to require a master-slave setup to maintain semi-reliably and replication can be arduous to configure.

Rather than pull your hair out that much when trying to simplify your life I'd suggest using . You can get started without creating any infrastructure other than ssh keys. Ansible has a user module for managing users, but it also allows you to configure everything else. Maybe you want to have all of your servers using the same name servers: add a little more ansible. Maybe you want all of your servers to display a helpful /etc/motd then ansible can help again. The opportunities for saving yourself repeated work go on and on and go much further than keeping your users in sync.

  • Ansible is similair to puppet right? I all ready have a puppet serv. Running but i thougt it would be a great exercise to srtup somethibg like ldap – Daniel Guldberg Aaes Nov 4 '15 at 21:42
  • 1
    Yes, ansible is like puppet, but it doesn't require the central server. If you're looking for something fun to setup, go for Kerberos. – chicks Nov 4 '15 at 21:47
  • puppet neither requires a central server, you can use it if you wish but it's just an option. But i think we're getting OT here. – Fredi Nov 5 '15 at 0:05
  • Fredi: you are correct, but that wasn't always so and most places I've been still use it as client-server. Ansible is still easier to get going standalone. Plus the whole question is OT since homelabs are probably not a professional context. :) – chicks Nov 5 '15 at 0:40
  • it is defently not a professional but it is fun to see how close i can get to a professional enviroment – Daniel Guldberg Aaes Nov 6 '15 at 10:42

using OpenLdap is a good idea... It's almost used everywhere and + you can even use ldap to:


cheers, Julian


If your network is reasonably protected, using NIS is very simple to manage. NIS itself isn't very secure, but the setup is not at all complicated. I would also suggest exporting the home directories to all the other machines via nfs from the same server.

I've had several labs at work with the NIS/nfs setup and I can add, replace or upgrade machines and the users just log on like nothing ever changed - all their configs and files just show up no matter what machine they use.

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