Integrating MIT Kerberos and Active Directory

How to integrate MIT Kerberos and Active Directory in a Cloudera Manager cluster.

Several different subsystems are involved in servicing authentication requests, including the Key Distribution Center (KDC), Authentication Service (AS), and Ticket Granting Service (TGS). The more nodes in the cluster and the more services provided, the heavier the traffic between these services and the services running on the cluster.

As a general guideline, Cloudera recommends using a dedicated Active Directory instance (Microsoft Server Domain Services) for every 100-200 nodes in the cluster. However, this is just a loose guideline. Monitor utilization and deploy additional instances as needed to meet the demand.

By default, Kerberos uses UDP for client/server communication which is typically faster at delivering packets than TCP, but does not guarantee delivery. Additionally, using UDP packets that get too large are frequently dropped, as is the case when a user is a member of a large number of groups. To avoid this problem, force Kerberos to use TCP by modifying the Kerberos configuration file (krb5.conf) as follows:
udp_preference_limit = 1

This is especially useful if the domain controllers are not on the same subnet as the cluster or are separated by firewalls.

In general, Cloudera recommends setting up the Active Directory domain controller (Microsoft Server Domain Services) on the same subnet as the cluster and never over a WAN connection which results in considerable latency and affects cluster performance.

Troubleshooting cluster operations when Active Directory is being used for Kerberos authentication requires administrative access to the Microsoft Server Domain Services instance. Administrators may need to enable Kerberos event logging on the Microsoft Server KDC to resolve issues.

Deleting Cloudera Manager roles or nodes requires manually deleting the associate Active Directory accounts. Cloudera Manager cannot delete entries from Active Directory.

Integrating MIT Kerberos and Active Directory

Prior to release 5.1, clusters managed by Cloudera Manager could not integrate directly with a Microsoft Active Directory KDC. Rather, integrating the Cloudera Manager cluster with an Active Directory KDC required the additional setup of a local MIT KDC (local, meaning in the same subnet as the cluster).

The steps below can be used for Cloudera Manager clusters prior to release 5.1, or if the Active Directory KDC cannot be accessed directly for whatever reason. The setup process assumes that:
  • An MIT Kerberos KDC is running in the same subnet as the cluster and that a Kerberos REALM is local to the cluster
  • A Microsoft Server Active Directory instance (Microsoft Server Domain Services) is running elsewhere on the network, in its own Kerberos realm.
Given these two systems, you can then:
  1. Create principals for all services running on the cluster in the MIT Kerberos realm local to the cluster.
  2. Set up one-way cross-realm trust from the MIT Kerberos realm to the Active Directory realm, as detailed in Configuring a Local MIT Kerberos Realm to Trust Active Directory below.

The result of this setup is that Active Directory principals (users) can authenticate to the cluster without needing service principals.

Configuring a Local MIT Kerberos Realm to Trust Active Directory

On the Active Directory Server

  1. Add the local realm trust to Active Directory with this command:
    netdom trust YOUR-LOCAL-REALM.COMPANY.COM /Domain:AD-REALM.COMPANY.COM /add /realm /passwordt:<TrustPassword>
  2. Set the proper encryption type with this command:

    On Microsoft Windows 2008, 2012, or 2016:

    ksetup /SetEncTypeAttr YOUR-LOCAL-REALM.COMPANY.COM <enc_type>

    The <enc_type> parameter specifies AES, DES, or RC4 encryption. Refer to the documentation for your version of Windows Active Directory to find the <enc_type> parameter string to use.

  3. Get and verify the list of encryption types set with this command:

    On Microsoft Windows 2008, 2012, or 2016:


On the MIT KDC Server

Type the following command in the kadmin.local or kadmin shell to add the cross-realm krbtgt principal. Use the same password you used in the netdom command on the Active Directory Server.
kadmin:  addprinc -e "enc_type_list" krbtgt/YOUR-LOCAL-REALM.COMPANY.COM@AD-REALM.COMPANY.COM

where the enc_type_list parameter specifies the types of encryption this cross-realm krbtgt principal can support—AES, DES, or RC4. You can specify multiple encryption types using the parameter in the command above, what's important is that at least one of the encryption types corresponds to the encryption type found in the tickets granted by the KDC in the remote realm. For example:

kadmin:  addprinc -e "rc4-hmac:normal des3-hmac-sha1:normal" krbtgt/YOUR-LOCAL-REALM.COMPANY.COM@AD-REALM.COMPANY.COM

On All of the Cluster Hosts

  1. Verify that both Kerberos realms are configured on all of the cluster hosts. Note that the default realm and the domain realm should remain set as the MIT Kerberos realm which is local to the cluster.
        kdc =
        admin_server =
        default_domain =
        kdc =
        admin_server =
        default_domain =
  2. To properly translate principal names from the Active Directory realm into local names within Hadoop, you must configure the setting in the core-site.xml file on all of the cluster machines. The following example translates all principal names with the realm AD-REALM.CORP.FOO.COM into the first component of the principal name only. It also preserves the standard translation for the default realm (the cluster realm).
    1. <property>

    For more information about name mapping rules, see Mapping Kerberos Principals to Short Names.