UNIX systems store basic information about host computers on the network in the hosts file. This file consists of a series of lines, one for each computer. Each line can contain the following information about a computer:
A UNIX computer consults this list to determine the IP address of another computer when that computer is referred to by name or alias, rather than by address.
Instead of storing this information in a file, Server for NIS maintains information about network computers in Active Directory entries for each computer. This allows you to manage the Windows and UNIX (NIS) information together by using the computer properties dialog box in Active Directory Users and Computers. When adding a computer to the Windows and Network Information Service (NIS) domains, for example, you must enter the computer name, which is shared by Windows and NIS, only once. In the case of UNIX-specific information (IP address and aliases), you can enter this information using the UNIX Attributes tab of the same dialog box.
Note that you have to enter the IP address only if it is statically assigned. If the address is assigned by a DHCP server, the hosts map will be automatically updated whenever the computer's IP address changes.
For more information on how to manage UNIX computer name and address information using Active Directory Users and Computers, see Manage NIS Computers.