Security Management

Cloudera Manager consolidates security configurations and management for all components in your clusters.


Authentication is a process that requires users and services to prove their identity when trying to access a system resource. Organizations typically manage user identity and authentication through various time-tested technologies, including Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) for identity, directory, and other services, such as group management, and Kerberos for authentication.

Cloudera clusters support integration with both of these technologies. For example, organizations with existing LDAP directory services such as Active Directory (included in Microsoft Windows Server as part of its suite of Active Directory Services) can leverage the organization's existing user accounts and group listings instead of creating new accounts throughout the cluster. Using an external system such as Active Directory or OpenLDAP is required to support the user role authorization mechanism implemented in Cloudera Navigator.

For authentication, Cloudera supports integration with MIT Kerberos and with Active Directory. Microsoft Active Directory supports Kerberos for authentication in addition to its identity management and directory functionality, that is, LDAP.

These systems are not mutually exclusive. For example, Microsoft Active Directory is an LDAP directory service that also provides Kerberos authentication services, and Kerberos credentials can be stored and managed in an LDAP directory service. Cloudera Manager Server, cluster nodes, and components, such as Apache Hive, Hue, and Impala, can all make use of Kerberos authentication.


Authorization is concerned with who or what has access or control over a given resource or service. Since Hadoop merges together the capabilities of multiple varied, and previously separate IT systems as an enterprise data hub that stores and works on all data within an organization, it requires multiple authorization controls with varying granularities. In such cases, Hadoop management tools simplify setup and maintenance by:
  • Tying all users to groups, which can be specified in existing LDAP or AD directories.
  • Providing role-based access control for similar interaction methods, like batch and interactive SQL queries.
Cloudera Runtime currently provides the following forms of access control:
  • Traditional POSIX-style permissions for directories and files, where each directory and file is assigned a single owner and group. Each assignment has a basic set of permissions available; file permissions are simply read, write, and execute, and directories have an additional permission to determine access to child directories.
  • HDFS ACLs that provide fine-grained control of permissions for HDFS files by allowing you to set different permissions for specific named users or named groups.
  • Apache HBase uses ACLs to authorize various operations (READ, WRITE, CREATE, ADMIN) by column, column family, and column family qualifier. HBase ACLs are granted and revoked to both users and groups.
  • Role-based access control with Apache Ranger.


Data at rest and data in transit encryption function at different technology layers of the cluster:

Layer Description
Application Applied by the HDFS client software, HDFS Transparent Encryption lets you encrypt specific folders contained in HDFS. To securely store the required encryption keys, Cloudera recommends using the Key Trustee Server in conjunction with HDFS encryption. Data stored temporarily on the local filesystem outside HDFS by CDP components (including Impala, MapReduce, YARN, or HBase) can also be encrypted.
Operating System At the Linux OS file system layer, encryption can be applied to an entire volume.
Network Network communications between client processes and server processes (HTTP, RPC, or TCP/IP services) can be encrypted using industry-standard TLS/SSL.