Hi List

Current Scenario:
=============

I have a number of stores on really unreliable network connections:
It's quite possible for the links to have been down for 3 - 4 days at
a time.

In a given store is a single Linux "Back Office" server running
Directory 389 which holds credentials for a number of tech support
usernames.
There are also a number of point of sale computers running linux which
authenticate users against the 389 Directory server on the back office
server.
The Directory servers in the shops all synch their copy of the
credential database from a central Directory Server, during normal
operation.

At some point a support engineer goes to the store to do maintenance
on the point-of-sale computers and logs in with his Directory 389
credentials.
Since the credential DB almost never changes (usernames and passwords
stay static), a support technician can generally rely on the
credentials being "as expected" even if the store has been out of
contact with the master copy of 389 directory servers: The technician
can log in to a PoS, do maintenance, even while the network link is in
the process of being restored.

Desired scenario:
=============

I'd like to deploy FreeIPA to these stores, and replace 389 Directory
server based system running on the Linux. The problem is that the
point-of-sale machines will frequently lose contact with the primary
replica, and credentials will timeout. So when the support technician
walks in and the network link happens to have been down for some time,
he'll not be able to log in to the point-of-sale computers.

Note: There is no possibility of installing a freeipa replica on the
Back Office server itself, it's got a whole pile of bespoke Java +
tomcat crud running on it. There is also no possibility of installing
an additional FreeIPA replica server in the store itself - the
economics of the store won't allow it.

Possible solution:
=============

I think enabling offline authentication, with credential expiry
disabled completely may do the trick, with the downside that user
accounts that have been deleted in the 'main' FreeIPA replica may
still linger in the store's copy ...

 
https://access.redhat.com/documentation/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/6/html/Deployment_Guide/sssd-cache-cred.html

"offline_credentials_expiration sets the number of days after a
successful login that a single credentials entry for a user is
preserved in cache. Setting this to zero (0) means that entries are
kept forever."

My expectation is that credentials will be updated while connectivity
is there, but authentication will be possible even in loss of
connectivity for quite some time.

My question is: Is this the best approach to solving the reliable
authentication problem, given that the client's may not be able to
access a FreeIPA replica for long periods of time? Are there any key
issues I'm overlooking in taking this approach, or possibly better
approaches?

Many thanks for any suggestions!
Traiano

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