Network Working Group                                          T. Eklof
Request for Comments: 2969                                    L. Daigle
Category: Informational                                    October 2000

        Wide Area Directory Deployment - Experiences from TISDAG

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2000).  All Rights Reserved.


   The TISDAG (Technical Infrastructure for Swedish Directory Access
   Gateway) project provided valuable insight into the current reality
   of deploying a wide-scale directory service.  This document
   catalogues some of the experiences gained in developing the necessary
   infrastructure for a national (i.e., multi-organizational) directory
   service and pilot deployment of the service in an environment with
   off-the-shelf directory service products.  A perspective on the
   project's relationship to other directory deployment projects is
   provided, along with some proposals for future extensions of the work
   (larger scale deployment, other application areas).

   These are our own observations, based on work done and general
   project discussions.  No doubt, other project participants have their
   own list of project experiences; we don't claim this document is

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Table of Contents

   1.0 Introduction ................................................  2
   1.1 Overview of the TISDAG project ..............................  2
   1.2 Organization of this document ...............................  3
   2.0 The TISDAG project itself ...................................  3
   2.1  TISDAG overview ............................................  3
   2.2 Some successes ..............................................  4
   2.3 Some surprises ..............................................  5
   2.3.1 LDAP objectclasses and the "o" attribute ..................  6
   2.3.1 The Tagged Index Object ...................................  6
   2.3.3  Handling Status Messages .................................  7
   2.3.4  Deployment with Commercial Software ......................  7
   2.4 Some observations ...........................................  7
   2.4.1 Participation of the WDSPs ................................  7
   2.4.2 Index Objects and Referral Index size .....................  8
   2.4.3 Index Object and Query Performance ........................  8
   2.5 Some evolutions .............................................  9
   3.0 Related Projects ............................................ 11
   3.1 The Norwegian Directory of Directories (NDD) ................ 11
   3.2 DESIRE Directory Services ................................... 11
   4.0 Some Directions for TISDAG Next Steps ....................... 12
   4.1 Security support ............................................ 12
   4.2 WDSPs attributes and schemas  ............................... 12
   5.0 Some conclusions ............................................ 13
   6.0 Security Considerations ..................................... 13
   7.0 Acknowledgements ............................................ 13
   8.0 Authors' Addresses .......................................... 13
   9.0 References .................................................. 14
   Appendix -- Specific Software Issues and Deployment Experiences.. 15
   Full Copyright Statement ........................................ 18

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Overview of the TISDAG project

   As described in more detail in [TISDAG], the original intention of
   the TISDAG project was to provide the infrastructure for a national
   whitepages directory service.  To be effective, such an
   infrastructure needed to address the concrete realities of end-users'
   existing client software, as well as the needs of information
   providers ("Whitepages Directory Service Providers" -- WDSPs).  These
   realities include the existence of multiple protocols (so-called
   directory service access protocols, as well as more general Internet
   application protocols such as HTTP and SMTP).  The project was also
   sensitive to the fact that WDSPs have many good reasons for being
   reluctant to relinquish copies of their subscribers' personal data.

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1.2 Organization of this document

   In an effort to communicate the experiences with this project, from
   conception through implementation and pilot deployment, this document
   is divided into 3 major sections.  The first section reviews specific
   lessons learned by the authors through the TISDAG project and
   implementation of one conformant system.  Next, some perspectives are
   offered on the relationship of the TISDAG work to other large-scale
   directory projects that are currently on-going, to give a sense of
   how these efforts might possibly interact.  Finally, some preliminary
   thoughts on applying the DAG system to other applications and
   deployment environments are outlined.  Further suggestions for
   deploying networked DAG servers (meshes) can be found in [DAG-Mesh].
   More discussion of useful development of architectural principles is
   provided in a separate document ([DAG++]).

2.0 The TISDAG project itself

2.1  TISDAG overview

   Briefly, the technical infrastructure proposed for the TISDAG project
   (see [TISDAG] for the complete overview and technical specification)
   provides end-user client software with connection points to perform
   basic whitepages queries.  Different connection points are provided
   for the various protocols end-users are likely to wish to use to
   access the information -- WWW (http), e-mail (SMTP), Whois++, LDAPv2
   and LDAPv3.  For each client, a transaction will be carried out
   within the bounds of the protocol's syntax and semantics.  However,
   since the TISDAG system does not maintain a replicated copy of all
   whitepages information, but rather an index over the data that allows
   redirection (referrals) to services that are likely to contain
   responses that match the client's query, a fair bit of background
   work must be done by the DAG system in order to fulfill the client's

   The first, and most important step, is for the system to make a query
   against the DAG Referral Index -- a server containing index
   information (obtained by the Common Indexing Protocol (see [CIP1,
   CIP2, CIP3]) in the Tagged Index Object format (see [TIO]).  This
   index contains sufficient information to indicate which of the many
   participating WDSPs should be contacted to complete the query.
   Wherever possible, these referrals are passed back to the querying
   client so that it can contact relevant WDSPs directly.  This
   minimizes the amount of work done by the DAG system itself, and
   allows WDSPs greater visibility (which is an incentive for
   participating in the system).  Protocols which support referrals
   natively include Whois++ and LDAPv3 -- although these may only be
   referred to servers of the same protocol.

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   Since many protocols do not support referrals (e.g., LDAPv2), and in
   order to address referrals to servers using a protocol other than the
   calling client's own, a secondary step of "query chaining" is
   provided to pursue these extra referrals within the DAG system
   itself.  For example, if an LDAPv2 client connects to the system, a
   query is made against the Referral Index to determine which WDSPs may
   have answers for the query, and then resources within the DAG system
   are used to pursue the query at the designated WDSPs' servers.  The
   results from these different services are packaged into a single
   response set for the client that made the query.

   The architecture that was developed in order to support the required
   functionality separated the system into distinct components to handle
   incoming queries from client software ("Client Access Points", or
   CAPs), a referral index (RI) to maintain an index over the collected
   whitepages information and provide referrals, based on actual data
   queries, to WDSPs that might have relevant information, and finally
   components that mediate access to WDSP whitepages servers to perform
   queries and retrieve results for the client's query ("Service Access
   Points", or SAPs).  Several CAPs and SAPs exist within the system --
   at least one for every protocol supported for incoming queries and
   WDSP servers, respectively.

   Designed to be implementable as separate programs, these components
   interact with each other through the use of an internal protocol --
   the DAG/IP.  Pragmatically, the use of the protocol means that
   different components can reside on different machines, for reasons of
   load-balancing and performance enhancement.  It also acts as a
   "common language" for the CAPs, SAPs and RI to express queries and
   receive results.

   This outlines the planned or ideal behaviour of the system; once
   designed, a pilot phase was started for the project to compare
   reality against expectations.  Two independent implementations of the
   software were created, and a test deployment was set up within the
   Swedish University Network (SUNET).  More detail on the project and
   its current status can be found at

   The rest of this section outlines some conclusions drawn from making
   a reality of the proposed architecture -- both successes and

2.2 Some successes

   Implementation and pilot deployment of software meeting the TISDAG
   technical specification did demonstrate some important successes of
   the approach.

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   Most notably, the system works pretty much as expected (see
   exceptions below) to provide transparent middleware for whitepages
   directory services.  That is, client software and WDSP servers were
   minimally affected -- from the point of view of behaviour and
   configuration, the DAG system looked like a server to clients, and a
   client to servers.

   The goal of the TISDAG project, operationally, was to be able to
   provide responses to end-user queries in reasonable response times
   (although not "an addressbook replacement").  The prototype systems
   demonstrated some success in achieving responses within 10 seconds,
   at least with the limited testbed of a configuration with 10 WDSP's
   providing directory service information.  More observations on system
   performance are provided below.

   The DAG system does demonstrate that it is possible to build
   referral-level services at a national level (although the deployment
   has yet to prove conclusively that it can, in its current
   formulation, operate as a transparent query-fulfillment proxy

   The success of the implementation demonstrated that it is possible,
   in some sense, to do (semantic) protocol mapping with N+M complexity
   instead of NxM mappings.  That is, protocol translations had to be
   defined for "N" allowable end-user query access protocols to/from the
   DAG/IP, and "M" supported WDSP server protocols, instead of requiring
   each of the N input components to individually map to the M output

   As a correlated issue, the prototype system demonstrated some
   successes with mapping between schema representations in the
   different protocol paradigms -- in a large part because system's
   schemas were kept simple and focused on the minimal needs to support
   the base service requirements.

2.3 Some surprises

   Over the span of a dozen months from the first "final" document of
   the specification through the implementation and first deployment of
   the software system, a few surprises did surface.  These fell into
   two categories:  those that surfaced when the theoretical
   specification was put into practice, and others that became apparent
   when the resulting system was put into operation with commercial
   software clients and servers.

   More detail is provided in the Appendix concerning specific software
   issues encountered, but some of the larger issues that surfaced
   during the implementation phase are describe below.

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2.3.1 LDAP objectclasses and the "o" attribute

   It came as a considerable surprise, some months into the project,
   that none of the "standard" LDAP person objectclasses   included
   organization ("o") as an attribute. The basic assumption seems to be
   that "o" will be part of the distinguished name for an entry, and
   therefore there is little (if any) cause to list it out separately.
   This does make it trickier to store information for people across
   multiple organizations (e.g., at an ISP's directory server) and use
   the organization name in query refinement. (Roland Hedberg caught
   this issue, and has flagged it to the authors of the "inetorgperson"
   objectclass document).

2.3.1 The Tagged Index Object

   The Tagged Index Object ("TIO"), used to carry indexes of WDSP
   information to the RI, is designed to have record (entry) tags to
   reduce the number of false positive referrals generated when doing a
   search in the RI.  One of the features of the first index object
   type, Whois++'s centroid (see [centroid]) was the fact that the index
   object size did not grow linearly with the size of data indexed --
   i.e., at some point the growth of the index object slowed as compared
   to that of the underlying data set.  At first glance, this also seems
   to be the case for the TIO.  However, as the index grows in size the
   compression factor of the TIO may not achieve the same efficiency as
   the centroids.  One reason for this is that the tagged lists can get
   quite long, depending on the ordering of the assignment of tags to
   the underlying data.  That is, the tagging as defined allows for a
   compressed expression of tag "ranges" -- e.g., "1-500" instead of
   "1,2,3,[...]500".  Thus, it might be interesting to explore an
   optimal "sorting" of underlying data, before applying tags, in order
   to arrange the most common tokens have consecutive tags (maximal
   compression of the tag lists).  It's not clear if this can be done
   efficiently over the entire set of records, attributes, and tokens,
   but it would bear some investigation, to produce the most compressed
   TIO for transmission.

   Additionally, in order to make (time) efficient use of the tags in
   the RI in practice, it is almost necessary to "reinflate" the index
   object to be able to do joins on tag lists associated with tokens
   that match.  Alternatively, the compressed tag list can be stored,
   and there is an additional cost associated with comparing the tag
   lists for matching tokens -- i.e., list comparison operations done
   outside the scope of a base database management system.  There was an
   unexpected tradeoff to be made.

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2.3.3  Handling Status Messages

   Mapping of status messages from multiple sub-transactions into a
   single status communication for the end-user client software became
   something of a challenge.  When chaining a query to multiple WDSPs
   (though the SAPs), it is not uncommon for at least one of the WDSP
   servers to return an error code or be unavailable.  If one WDSP
   cannot be reached, out of several referrals, should the client
   software be given the impression that the query was completed
   successfully, or not?  Most client protocol error handling models are
   not sophisticated enough to make this level of distinction clear.

2.3.4  Deployment with Commercial Software

   When it then was time to test the resulting software with standard
   commercial client and server software, a few more surprises came to
   light (primarily in terms of these softwares' expected worldview and
   occasional implementation shortcuts).  Again, more detail is provided
   in the Appendix, but highlights included client software that could
   only handle a very small subset of a protocol's defined status
   message lexicon (e.g., 2 system messages supported), and client
   software that automatically appended additional terms to a query
   specified by the user (e.g., adding "or email=<what the user typed in
   to the query>").

2.4 Some observations

2.4.1 Participation of the WDSPs

   One of the things that came to light was that the nature of the index
   object generated by the WDSPs has an important impact on performance
   -- both in terms of integrating the index object into the Referral
   Index, and in terms of efficiency of handling queries.  A proposal
   might be either to define more clearly how the WDSPs should generate
   the CIP index object (currently left to their discretion), or to
   alert individual WDSPs when their index objects are considered

   On another front, when chaining referrals to WDSP servers, some
   servers perform more efficiently than others, affecting the overall
   response time of the DAG system.  From a service point of view, it
   should also be possible to suggest to WDSP's that are consistently
   slow (longer than some selected response time) that they are

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2.4.2 Index Objects and Referral Index size

   As described in more detail [complex], there are many factors that
   can influence the growth factor of index objects (as more data is
   indexed).  That work dealt specifically with tokenized data for
   Whois++ centroids, and is not immediately generalizable to all forms
   of the Tagged Index Object.  However, the particular structure of the
   TIO used for the TISDAG project is similar enough in structure to a
   centroid that the same "order of magnitude" and growth
   characteristics are applicable.

   Factors that affects the size of the data ("number of entries"):

       .  Number of generated tokens
          The number of tokens generated from the directory data depends
          on what is tokenized. If data is tokenized on names and
          addresses (i.e. not unique data like phone numbers) a rough
          estimation is that the number_of_tokens = 0.2 *
          number_of_data_records. The growth is linear in the span from
          a few thousand to at least 1.2 million records. The growth
          should then level off since the sets of names and addresses
          are finite, but the current tests have not shown a break

          If data is tokenized on something that is unique, e.g. phone
          numbers, then a rough estimation is that the number_of_tokens
          = number_of_data_records. Note that it is possible to tokenize
          in different ways, for example divide the phone numbers in
          parts. This would result in fewer tokens.

       .  Number of directories
          Since the tokens are generated individually for each
          directory, the data size depends on the number of directories.
          10 directories with 100.000 records will generate the same
          amount of tokens as one directory with 1.000.000 records.

2.4.3 Index Object and Query Performance

   Factors that affects the performance ("queries/second"):

       .  Type of query (exact, substring, etc.)
          A 'substring' query is slower than an 'exact' query due to:
          1) somewhat slower look-up in the internal DAG database than
             an exact query.
          2) Mostly, a larger amount of data is fetched from the
             internal DAG database due to more hits, which generates
             more index processing.

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          3) Substring queries are sent to the directory servers which
             also results in more hits and more data fetched. The
             directory servers may also be more or less effective in
             handling substring queries.

       .  Number of search attributes
          A query with one or few attributes will most of the time
          result in many hits, which results in a lot of data, both
          internally in DAG and from the directory servers. On the other
          hand, a query with many attributes will result in a somewhat
          slower look-up in the internal DAG database.

       .  Number of directories
          A larger number of directories may result in many referrals,
          but it depends on the query. A simple query will generate a
          lot of referrals, which means a lot of data from the
          directories has to be fetched. It will also result in a
          somewhat slower look-up in the internal DAG database.

       .  Number of chained referrals
          Queries that are not chained are faster, since the result data
          does not have to be sent through the DAG system. Chained
          queries to several directories can be processed in parallel in
          the SAPs, but all data has to be processed in the CAP before
          sent to the client.

       .  Response time in the directory servers
          The response time from the directory servers are of course
          critical. The total response time for DAG is never faster than
          the slowest involved directory server.

       .  Number of tokens (size of Tagged Index Objects)
          The number of tokens has little impact on the look-up time in
          the internal DAG database.

2.5 Some evolutions

   To date, the TISDAG project has been "alive" for just over two years.
   During that time, there have been a number of evolutions -- in terms
   of technologies and ideas outside the project (e.g., user and service
   provider expectations, deployment of related software, etc) as well
   as goals and understanding within the scope of the project.

   Chief among these last is the fact that the project set out to
   primarily fulfill the role of a national referral service, and
   gradually evolved towards becoming more of a transparent protocol
   proxy service, fulfilling client queries as completely as possible,
   within the client protocol's semantics.  This evolution was probably

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   provoked by a number of reasons -- existing client & server software
   has a narrower range of accepted (expected) behaviour than their
   protocol specs may describe, once the technology was there for some
   proxying, going all the way seemed to be within reach, etc.

   >From the point of view of providing a national whitepages service,
   this is a very positive evolution.  However, it did place some
   strains on the original system architecture, for which some
   adjustments have been proposed (more detail below).  What is less
   clear is the impact this evolution will have on the flexibility of
   the system architecture -- in terms of addressing other applications,
   different protocols (and protocol paradigms), etc.  That is, the
   original intention of the system was to very simply fulfill an
   unsophisticated role -- "find things that sort of match the input
   query and let the client itself determine if the match is close
   enough".  As the requirements become more sophisticated, the
   simplicity of the system is impacted, and perhaps more brittle.
   (Some proposals for avoiding this are outlined in [DAG++], which
   attempts to return to the underlying principles and propose steps
   forward at that level).

   In terms of impact within the TISDAG project, this evolution lead to
   the following technical adjustments:

       .  The latest version of the technical specification makes a
          distinction (in the internal protocol grammar) between queries
          directed at the Referral Index, and those passed to SAPs to
          fulfill a query.  This distinction keeps the query-routing
          queries simple, but allows more sophistication in expressing a
          query designed to fulfill the client's original semantic

       .  The additional constraints in the SAP query language is still
          not enough to allow the internal protocol to express very
          sophisticated queries.  Originally intended only for query-
          routing queries, the DAG/IP expects all queries to be token-
          based (whereas LDAP queries are phrase-oriented).  This means
          that SAPs have to do a good deal of "post-pruning" of WDSP
          result sets to match the DAG/IP query sent by a CAP for query
          fulfillment.  And, CAPs must in turn do more post-pruning to
          match the DAG/IP results (from the SAPs) to the original query

   The real strength of the TISDAG project was that it separated the
   technical framework needed to support the service from the
   configuration required in order to support a particular application
   or service -- query & schema mapping, configuration for protocols,

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   etc.  Future improvements should focus on evolving that framework,
   maintaining the separation from the specific applications, services,
   and protocols that may use it.

3.0 Related Projects

   The TISDAG project is not alone in attempting to solve the problems
   of providing coordinated access to resources managed by multiple,
   disparate services.

3.1 The Norwegian Directory of Directories (NDD)

   Described in [NDD], the Norwegian Directory of Directories project
   also aims to provide necessary infrastructure for a national
   directory service.  It assumes LDAP (v2 or v3) accessibility of WDSP
   information (provided by the WDSP itself, or through other
   arrangements), and aims to resolve some of the trickier issues
   associated with hooking together already-operational LDAP servers
   into a coherent network:  uniform distinguished naming scheme, and
   content-based referrals.  It also addresses some of the pragmatic
   realities of being compatible with different versions of LDAP clients
   -- e.g., v2, which does not support referrals, and v3, which does.

   At the heart of the system is the "Referral Index and Organizational
   information" (RIO) server, which provides a searchable catalogue over
   Norwegian organization. This facilitates the location of whitepages
   servers for individual organizations (assuming the query includes
   information about which organization(s) is(are) interesting).

   This work can be seen as being complementary to the TISDAG work, in
   that it provides a more focused service for integrating LDAP
   directory servers.  However, there is still some requirement that one
   knows the organization to which a person belongs before doing a
   search for their e-mail address. This may be reasonable for seeking
   mail addresses associated with a person's work organization, but is
   less often successful when it comes to finding a personal e-mail
   address -- in an age where ISPs abound, a priori knowledge of a
   user's ISP identification is unlikely.

3.2 DESIRE Directory Services

   The EC funded project DESIRE II ( is developing
   a distributed European indexing system for information on Research
   and Education. The Directory Services work undertaken by DANTE and
   SURFnet proposes an architecture applied to a server mesh structure
   to create a wide-area directory service infrastructure.

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   This service is intended to support both whitepages information with
   LDAP servers at WDSPs, as well as a Web-search meshes at various
   places using Whois++ for information about resources and routing of
   queries to other index-based services.

   Like the TISDAG project, the DESIRE directory services project aims
   to act as a focal point for queries, allowing client software to
   access appropriate resources from a wide range of disparate services.

   There are architectural differences between the approach used in the
   TISDAG project and the DESIRE directory service project, but many of
   the driving needs are the same, and the approach of using content-
   based indexing and referrals was also selected.

4.0 Some Directions for TISDAG Next Steps

   The fun thing with technology is that there are always more tweaks
   and changes that can be made.  However, a service should evolve in
   response to specific customer needs, and there are several ways in
   which the TISDAG service itself could advance. Some of them are
   outlined below, in terms of possibilities perceived at this time,
   rather than specific recommendations for underlying technology
   changes that would be necessary to fulfill them.  A related topic,
   networking DAG servers (meshes), is discussed in [DAG-Mesh].

4.1 Security support

   There is a need for security considerations when making use of a
   wide-scaled directory system in other application areas than the
   public white-pages application of the TISDAG project.  There are
   issues whether the directory service is distributed across the
   Internet, or even if it functions completely within an internal,
   closed network.

4.2 WDSPs attributes and schemas

   Today the DAG system makes use of 2 information schemas -- the
   DAGPERSON schema for information about specific people, and the
   DAGORGROLE schema for organizational roles. The technical
   specification includes a definition of the schema, as well as an
   understood mapping to (and from) some standard schemas used in the
   supported protocols.  Nevertheless, to include new WDSPs which may
   not have all attributes in schemas, may use different schemas as well
   as query attributes, it should be possible to provide creation and
   use of new customized/standardized schemas and perform schema mapping
   if it's necessary. It might also be possible to constrain queries to
   desired query attributes, templates, or object classes.

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   In practice, this means that different WDSP's may choose to use
   different subparts of one defined schema, or even implement local

5.0 Some conclusions

   Although fewer people now hold out the hope of a unified global
   directory service, based on standardize protocols,  it is interesting
   to see more projects providing infrastructure that permits unified
   access to what is otherwise an unforgivingly diverse and dislocated
   set of information servers.  What cannot be dictated (in standardized
   protocols and schemas) may yet be accommodated through service
   infrastructure.  The right approach seems to be to build better and
   better frameworks for supporting such diversified services, without
   making the framework architecture dependent on specific technologies.

6.0 Security Considerations

   To date, the TISDAG project has focused on serving only publicly-
   sharable information.  As noted in Section 4.1, any future work will
   have to provide additional facilities for providing authentication,
   authorization, encryption, and otherwise handling sensitive data in
   an open environment.

7.0 Acknowledgements

   This document outlines the perspectives and opinions of the authors,
   based on experience as well as many fruitful and enlightening
   discussions with others:  Roland Hedberg, Torbjorn Granat, Patrik
   Granholm, Rikard Wessblad and Sandro Mazzucato.

   The work described in this document was carried out as part of an
   on-going project of Ericsson.  For further information regarding that
   project, contact:

      Bjorn Larsson

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8.0 Authors' Addresses

   Thommy Eklof
   Hotsip AB


   Leslie L. Daigle
   Thinking Cat Enterprises


9.0 References

   Request For Comments (RFC) and Internet Draft documents are available
   from numerous mirror sites.

   [CIP1]     Allen, J. and M. Mealling, "The Architecture of the Common
              Indexing Protocol (CIP)", RFC 2651, August 1999.

   [CIP2]     Allen, J. and M. Mealling, "MIME Object Definitions for
              the Common Indexing Protocol (CIP)", RFC 2652, August

   [CIP3]     Allen, J., Leach, P. and R. Hedberg, "CIP Transport
              Protocols", RFC 2653, August 1999.

   [DAG++]    Daigle, L. and T. Eklof, "An Architecture for Integrated
              Directory Services", RFC 2970, October 2000.

   [DAG-Mesh] Daigle, L. and T. Eklof, "Networking Multiple DAG servers:
              Meshes", RFC 2968, October 2000.

   [TISDAG]   Daigle, L. and R. Hedberg "Technical Infrastructure for
              Swedish Directory Access Gateways (TISDAG)," RFC 2967,
              October 2000.

   [centroid] Deutsch, P., Schoultz, R., Faltstrom, P. and C. Weider,
              "Architecture of the WHOIS++ service", RFC 1835, August

   [NDD]      Hedberg, R. and H. Alvestrand, "Technical Specification,
              The Norwegian Directory of Directories (NDD)", Work in

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RFC 2969             Wide Area Directory Deployment         October 2000

   [TIO]      Hedberg, R., Greenblatt, B., Moats, R. and M. Wahl, "A
              Tagged Index Object for use in the Common Indexing
              Protocol", RFC 2654, August 1999.

   [complex]  P.  Panotzki, "Complexity of the Common Indexing Protocol:
              Predicting Search Times in Index Server Meshes",  Master's
              Thesis, KTH, September 1996.

   [WAP]      The Wireless Application Protocol,

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RFC 2969             Wide Area Directory Deployment         October 2000

Appendix -- Specific Software Issues and Deployment Experiences

   The following paragraphs outline practical deployment experiences in
   an anecdotal fashion.  This is not meant to be construed as an
   exhaustive, authoritative evaluation of existing client software, but
   rather an indication of the types of challenges the average
   implementation team may expect to encounter in a development and
   deployment effort.

   Character encoding
   One client's addressbook sends iso-8859 encoding (depending on the
   font configuration in the browser) when querying a directory server
   but the directory server responds with Unicode (UTF-8) encoding.
   This means that the LDAP CAP would have to handle different character
   set encodings for request and response.

   Today there appears to be only one commercial addressbook supporting
   LDAPv3.  All the others support only LDAPv2.  However, this LDAPv3
   client software does not handle referrals correctly -- the client
   couldn't handle server the result contains "response code 10"
   (designated for referrals).  From what was observed, there was now
   way for the client or the end-user to decide if, or which, referrals
   to follow-up.   It is therefore not clear how the LDAP clients handle
   a combination of both referrals and results  -- but the supposition
   is that it doesn't work.

   Objectclasses in LDAP
   No objectclass is defined in the query to the DAG-system from the
   LDAP-clients. This means that the DAG-system doesn't see any
   differences between "inetOrgPerson" and "organisationalRole" when
   attribute "cn" is representing both "name" and "role".  This is not
   so much a problem as that it has interesting side effects.  Namely,
   although most directory user interfaces (found in browsers, mail
   programs) claim only to support person-related queries, in practise a
   user of the client could use the interface to send a query with role
   in the name entry.

   Query with attribute Organisation
   It is possible to send a query with attribute "organisation" but it
   would result in no hits because of that the organisation attribute is
   not included in the objectclass "inetOrgPerson".  Roland Hedberg has
   proposed a change for the latest release of the objectclass
   definition document.

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   To provide the desired ability to narrow search focus to some range
   of organization names (attribute values), there are three possible
   approaches with differing merits/detractions:

      Recommend the use of the "locality" attribute -- although a more
      standard definition would be required (locality is currently used
      for everything from organization to county to map coordinates).

      Recommend or require that the attribute organisation should be
      inherited in objectclass "inetOrgPerson".

      Build the LDAP DAG-SAP to submit 2 query to the WDSP. The second
      is the same as the first, with only cn filters if the entire query
      including "o" results in no hits (i.e., back off from the
      organization filtering if it doesn't seem to be supported).

   It is not possible to see what character set a LDAP clients want to
   use.  The recommendation so far in he project has been to define a
   unique port for each character set.  This requires extra end-user
   configuration of client software, and proper advertising of the port
   number-charset mapping provided in the service.

   When the user wants to look-up more information about a person found
   in a preliminary search, the  LDAP client uses the entry's DN
   together with host and port to the DAG system.  Not only does that
   mean that the client submits a non-compliant query to the DAG system,
   as DNs are not part of any of the defined queries for the service, it
   simply does not provide the desired effect of getting to the user's

   Response Codes
   The LDAPv3 client that was used does not support more than 2 response
   codes -- "success" and "size limit exceeded".  All the other response
   codes are translated to "size limit exceeded", although no results
   are returned.   That is, if the error was in fact that the size limit
   was exceeded, the results up to the size limit are presented.  If it
   was another response code mapped to that one, no results are

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RFC 2969             Wide Area Directory Deployment         October 2000

   Sending and loading CIP Index Objects
   At least one server is quoting the CIP-object incorrectly for the
   Swedish characters A-Ring, A-Umlaut and O-Umlaut.  Sending quoted
   printable CIP-objects with PINE mail software works.

   Source - Labeled URI
   The original plan for the use of the labeled-URI attribute was to use
   it to return a pointer to the WDSP that provided the user
   information.  However, the standard use of the labeled-URI attribute,
   which may in fact be populated in the data returned by a WDSP, is to
   contain the URI for more private related homepages.

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RFC 2969             Wide Area Directory Deployment         October 2000

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