Authorization Provider for Impala

Using the BDR service available in CDH you can migrate the permissions in CDP because Ranger is the authorization provider instead of Sentry. You must be aware how Ranger enforces a policy in CDP which may be different from using Sentry.

New behavior:

  • The CREATE ROLE, GRANT ROLE, SHOW ROLE statements are not supported as Ranger currently does not support roles.
  • When a particular resource is renamed, currently, the policy is not automatically transferred to the newly renamed resource.
  • SHOW GRANT with an invalid user/group does not return an error.

The following table lists the different access type requirements to run SQL statements in Impala.

SQL Statement Impala Access Requirement
DESCRIBE view VIEW_METADATA on the underlying tables


ALL on the target table / view

ALTER on the source table / view





  • VIEW_METADATA privilege denotes the SELECT, INSERT, or REFRESH privileges.
  • ALL privilege denotes the SELECT, INSERT, CREATE, ALTER, DROP, and REFRESH privileges.

For more information on the minimum level of privileges and the scope required to execute SQL statements in Impala, see Impala Authorization.

Migrating Sentry Policies

As CDP leverages Ranger as its authorization service, you must migrate permissions from Sentry to Ranger. You can use the BDR service available in CDH to migrate the permissions. This service migrates Sentry authorization policies into Ranger as a part of the replication policy job. When you create the replication policy, choose the resources that you want to migrate and the Sentry policies are migrated for those resources. You can migrate all permissions or permissions on a set of objects to Ranger.

The Sentry Permissions section of the Create Replication Policy wizard contains the following options:

  • Include Sentry Permissions with Metadata - Select this to migrate Sentry permissions during the replication job.
  • Exclude Sentry Permissions from Metadata - Select this if you do not want to migrate Sentry permissions during the replication job.

The Replication Option section of the Create Replication Policy wizard contains the following options:

  • Include Metadata and Data
  • Include Metadata Only

Stages of Migration

Sentry and Ranger have different permission models. Sentry permissions are granted to roles and users. These are translated to permissions for groups and users since Ranger currently does not support roles. This is followed by grouping by resource because Ranger policies are grouped by resource. All the permissions that are granted to a resource are considered a single Ranger policy.

The migration of Sentry policies into Ranger is performed in the following operations:

  • Export - The export operation runs in the source cluster. During this operation, the Sentry permissions are fetched and exported to a JSON file. This file might be in a local file system or HDFS or S3, based on the configuration that you provided.
  • Translate and Ingest - These operations take place on the target cluster. In the translate operation, Sentry permissions are translated into a format that can be read by Ranger. The permissions are then imported into Ranger. When the permissions are imported, they are tagged with the source cluster name and the time that the ingest took place. After the import, the file containing the permissions is deleted.

Because there is no one-to-one mapping between Sentry privileges and Ranger service policies, the Sentry privileges are translated into their equivalents within Ranger service policies. For more information on how Sentry actions is applied to the corresponding action in Ranger, see Sentry to Ranger Permissions.