Hadoop's support for Kerberos

Hadoop can use Kerberos to authenticate users, and processes running within a Hadoop cluster acting on behalf of the user. It is also used to authenticate services running within the Hadoop cluster itself -so that only authenticated HDFS Datanodes can join the HDFS filesystem, that only trusted Node Managers can heartbeat to the YARN Resource Manager and receive work.

  • The exact means by which all this is done is one of the most complicated pieces of code to span the entire Hadoop codebase.*

Users of Hadoop do not need to worry about the implementation details, and, ideally, nor should the operations team.

Developers of core Hadoop code, anyone writing a YARN application, and anyone writing code to interact with a Hadoop cluster and applications running in it do need to know those details.

This is what this book attempts to cover.

Why do they inflict so much pain on us?

Before going in there, here's a recurring question: why? Why Kerberos and not, say some SSL-certificate like system? Or OAuth?

Kerberos was written to support centrally managed accounts in a local area network, one in which adminstrators manage individual accounts. This is actually much simpler to manage than PKI-certificate based systems: look at the effort it takes to revoke a certificate in a browser.

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