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Kerberizing NiFi's ZooKeeper Client

Note: The NiFi nodes running the embedded zookeeper server will also need to follow the below procedure since they will also be acting as a client at the same time.

The preferred mechanism for authenticating users with ZooKeeper is to use Kerberos. In order to use Kerberos to authenticate, we must configure a few system properties, so that the ZooKeeper client knows who the user is and where the KeyTab file is. All nodes configured to store cluster-wide state using ZooKeeperStateProvider and using Kerberos should follow these steps.

First, we must create the Principal that we will use when communicating with ZooKeeper. This is generally done via the kadmin tool:

kadmin: addprinc "nifi@EXAMPLE.COM"

A Kerberos Principal is made up of three parts: the primary, the instance, and the realm. Here, we are creating a Principal with the primary nifi, no instance, and the realm EXAMPLE.COM. The primary (nifi, in this case) is the identifier that will be used to identify the user when authenticating via Kerberos.

After we have created our Principal, we will need to create a KeyTab for the Principal:

kadmin: xst -k nifi.keytab nifi@EXAMPLE.COM

This keytab file can be copied to the other NiFi nodes with embedded zookeeper servers.

This will create a file in the current directory named nifi.keytab. We can now copy that file into the $NIFI_HOME/conf/ directory. We should ensure that only the user that will be running NiFi is allowed to read this file.

Next, we need to configure NiFi to use this KeyTab for authentication. Since ZooKeeper uses the Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS), we need to create a JAAS-compatible file. In the $NIFI_HOME/conf/ directory, create a file named zookeeper-jaas.conf and add to it the following snippet:

Client { required

Finally, we need to tell NiFi to use this as our JAAS configuration. This is done by setting a JVM System Property, so we will edit the conf/bootstrap.conf file. We add the following line anywhere in this file in order to tell the NiFi JVM to use this configuration:

We can initialize our Kerberos ticket by running the following command:

kinit -kt nifi.keytab nifi@EXAMPLE.COM

Now, when we start NiFi, it will use Kerberos to authentication as the nifi user when communicating with ZooKeeper.