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Once you have finished the base configuration, you could start the directory server, but it still would not do anything useful for you. You have to load the data first. Before loading the data, you need to think about schema checking. Remember that every time an entry is added, the directory server checks to see whether the entry is compliant with the schema. This costs additional time. Whether or not you need schema checking when importing data depends on the quality of the data source. For automatically generated data or data exported from a directory server, the data should be consistent, and therefore you could switch schema checking off during the import and switch it on again after the data has been imported into the directory.
There are several ways of loading the data:
Offline: Most directory-server implementations allow you to load the data offline. The directory server must not be running for this operation to work; it must be offline. See the directory-server documentation for more information. The previously mentioned OpenLDAP server, for example, offers a tool called "slapadd."
Using command-line tools: Since most implementations of directory servers ship with command-line tools, you can use them to put the data into the directory. Unless you will be inputting only a few entries, you will use the command-line tools together with an LDIF (LDAP data interchange format) file. The LDIF format has the enormous advantage that it can be generated automatically. You can generate this file using your preferred language, converting it from a different data source (Oracle database, flat file, or similar sources). You could also use an LDIF file to migrate data from a different directory server.
Using import tools from the administration server: Commercial directory servers frequently offer a graphical user interface (GUI), mostly based on a Web browser. These GUIs offer import-export tools. It depends on the server implementation whether the directory has to be offline or online for this operation.
Using custom tools: In many cases, the directory server is part of a larger project. This means that you installed the directory server for a particular application. In this case, the application may have a custom tool to import the data into the directory.
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