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Set Up OS X Lion Server - Open Directory and Network Users

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Using Network Accounts - Bind OS X Clients to Your Lion Server
Using Network Accounts - Bind OS X Clients to Your Lion Server

Click the Join button next to Network Account Server.

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In previous steps, we explained how you can use Open Directory on a home or small business server, and we showed you how to enable the service. Now it's time to bind your client Macs to your Lion Server.

Binding is the process of setting up Macs running the client version of OS X to look to your server for directory services. Once a Mac is bound to the server, you can log in using a network username and password and access all of your home folder data, even if your home folder isn't located on that Mac.

Connecting to a Network Account Server

You can bind various versions of OS X clients to your Lion Server. We're going to use a Lion client in this example, but the method is about the same regardless of the version of OS X you're using. You may find that a few names are slightly different, but the process should be close enough to get it working.

On the client Mac:

  1. Launch System Preferences by clicking its Dock icon, or selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.

  2. In the System section, click the Users & Groups icon (or the Accounts icon in earlier versions of OS X).

  3. Click the lock icon, located in the bottom left corner. When requested, provide an administrator name and password, and then click the Unlock button.

  4. In the left-hand pane of the Users & Groups window, click the Login Options item.
  5. Use the drop-down menu to set Automatic Login to "Off."

  6. Click the Join button next to Network Account Server.

  7. A sheet will drop down, telling you to enter the address of an Open Directory server. You will also see a disclosure triangle to the left of the Address field. Click the disclosure triangle, select the name of your Lion Server from the list, and then click OK.

  8. A sheet will drop down, asking if you wish to trust the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates issued by the selected server. Click the Trust button.

  9. If you have not yet set up your Lion Server to use SSL, you will probably see a warning telling you that the server is not providing a secure connection, and asking if you wish to continue. Don't worry about this warning; you can set up SSL certificates on your server at a later date, if you have a need for them. Click the Continue button.

  10. Your Mac will access the server, gather any necessary data, and then the drop-down sheet will disappear. If all went well, and it should have, then you will see a green dot and the name of your Lion Server listed just after the Network Account Server item.

  11. You can close your Mac's System Preferences.

Repeat the steps in this section for any additional Macs you wish to bind to your Lion Server. Remember, binding a Mac to the server doesn't prevent you from using local accounts on that Mac; it just means you can also log in with network accounts.

That's it for this guide to setting up Open Directory on your Lion Server. But before you can actually use the network accounts, you will need to set up users and groups on your server. We will cover that in the next guide to setting up your Lion Server.

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