Managing the Sentry Service


  • An object is an entity protected by Sentry's authorization rules. The objects supported in the current release are server, database, table, URI, collection, and config.
  • A role is a collection of rules for accessing a given object.
  • A privilege is granted to a role to govern access to an object. Sentry allows you to assign the SELECT privilege to columns (only for Hive and Impala). Supported privileges are:
    Valid privilege types and the objects they apply to
    Privilege Object
  • A user is an entity that is permitted by the authentication subsystem to access the service. This entity can be a Kerberos principal, an LDAP userid, or an artifact of some other supported pluggable authentication system.
  • A group connects the authentication system with the authorization system. It is a collection of one or more users who have been granted one or more authorization roles. Sentry allows a set of roles to be configured for a group.
  • A configured group provider determines a user’s affiliation with a group. The current release supports HDFS-backed groups and locally configured groups.

Privilege Model

Sentry uses a role-based privilege model with the following characteristics.
  • Allows any user to execute show function, desc function, and show locks.
  • Allows the user to see only those tables, databases, collections, and configurations for which the user has privileges.
  • Requires a user to have the necessary privileges on the URI to execute HiveQL operations that specify a location. Examples of such operations include LOAD, IMPORT, and EXPORT.
  • Sentry provides column-level access control for tables in Hive and Impala. You can assign the SELECT privilege on a subset of columns in a table.
  • In Beeline, you can grant privileges on an object that doesn't exist. For example, you can grant role1 on table1 and then create table1.

For more information, see Authorization Privilege Model for Hive and Impala, Authorization Privilege Model for Cloudera Search, and Configuring Kafka to Use Sentry Authorization.

User to Group Mapping

Minimum Required Role: Configurator (also provided by Cluster Administrator, Full Administrator)

You can configure Sentry to use Hadoop groups. By default, Sentry looks up groups locally, but it can be configured to look up Hadoop groups using LDAP (for Active Directory). User/group information for Sentry, Hive and Impala must be made available for lookup on the following hosts:
  • Sentry - Groups are looked up on the host the Sentry Server runs on.
  • Hive - Groups are looked up on the hosts running HiveServer2 and the Hive Metastore.
  • Impala - Groups are looked up on the Catalog Server and on all of the Impala daemon hosts.

Group mappings in Sentry can be summarized as in the figure below.

The Sentry service only uses HadoopUserGroup mappings. See Configuring LDAP Group Mappings for details on configuring LDAP group mappings in Hadoop.

Accessing Sentry-Secured Data Outside Hive/Impala

When Sentry is enabled, the hive user owns all data within the Hive warehouse. However, unlike traditional database systems the enterprise data hub allows for multiple engines to execute over the same dataset.

However, there are scenarios where fully vetted and reviewed jobs will also need to access the data stored in the Hive warehouse. A typical scenario would be a secured MapReduce transformation job that is executed automatically as an application user. In such cases it's important to know that the user executing this job will also have full access to the data in the Hive warehouse.

Scenario One: Authorizing Jobs


A reviewed, vetted, and automated job requires access to the Hive warehouse and cannot use Hive/Impala to access the data.


Create a group which contains hive, impala, and the user executing the automated job. For example, if the etl user is executing the automated job, you can create a group called hive-users which contains the hive, impala, and etl users.

The example usermod and groupadd commands below are only applicable to locally defined groups on the NameNode, JobTracker, and ResourceManager. If you use another system for group management, equivalent changes should be made in your group management system.
$ groupadd hive-users
$ usermod -G hive,impala,hive-users hive
$ usermod -G hive,impala,hive-users impala
$ usermod -G etl,hive-users etl
Once you have added users to the hive-users group, change directory permissions in the HDFS:
$ hadoop fs -chgrp -R hive:hive-users /user/hive/warehouse
$ hadoop fs -chmod -R 770 /user/hive/warehouse

Scenario Two: Authorizing Group Access to Databases


One group of users, grp1 should have full access to the database, db1, outside of Sentry. The database, db1 should not be accessible to any other groups, outside of Sentry. Sentry should be used for all other authorization needs.


Place the hive and impala users in grp1.
$ usermod -G hive,impala,grp1 hive
$ usermod -G hive,impala,grp1 impala
Then change group ownerships of all directories and files in db1 to grp1, and modify directory permissions in the HDFS. This example is only applicable to local groups on a single host.
$ hadoop fs -chgrp -R hive:grp1 /user/hive/warehouse/db1.db
$ hadoop fs -chmod -R 770 /user/hive/warehouse/db1.db

Configuring Sentry to Enable BDR Replication

Cloudera recommends the following steps when configuring Sentry and data replication is enabled.

  • Group membership should be managed outside of Sentry (as OS and LDAP groups are typically managed) and replication for them also should be handled outside of Cloudera Manager.
  • In Cloudera Manager, set up HDFS replication for the Sentry files of the databases that are being replicated (separately using Hive/Impala replication).
  • On the source cluster, to avoid manual fix up of URI privileges, ensure that the URIs for the data are the same on both the source and target cluster
  • On the target cluster, for the databases being replicated, avoid adding more privileges (adding tables specific to target cluster may sometimes require adding extra privileges to allow access to those tables).