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Running OpenLDAP in a self-bootstrapping container
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luzifer-docker / openldap

The image is using alpine linux as its base image. The Dockerfile is based on the work on dinkel/docker-openldap and danielguerra69/docker-openldap

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 luzifer/openldap

To get the full potential this image offers, one should first create a data-only container (see "Data persistence" below), start the OpenLDAP daemon as follows:

docker run -d --name openldap --volumes-from your-data-container luzifer/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.

  • 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_ADMIN_USER - sets the RootDN admin username (defaults to admin)
  • SLAPD_ORGANIZATION (defaults to Example Inc.) - represents the human readable company name (e.g. Example Inc.).
  • 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, cosine, duaconf, dyngroup, inetorgperson, java, misc, nis, 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_CONFIG_PASSWORD - If set the root password for cn=config is set (Connect using username and base-dn cn=config)

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

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

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.

Data persistence

The image exposes two directories (VOLUME ["/etc/openldap/slapd.d", "/var/lib/openldap/openldap-data"]). 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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