This is documentation for MapR Version 5.0. You can also refer to MapR documentation for the latest release.

Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Configuring Kerberos for Authentication Using MapR Tickets

To use Kerberos to generate MapR tickets for users, enable Kerberos on the CLDB by creating a Kerberos identity on the Kerberos server used by the cluster and distributing that identity to the other CLDB nodes in the cluster.


If you are using strong encryption with Kerberos with the Oracle JDK, you will require a new Java Cryptography Extension (JCE) policy file.

MapR clusters do not provide Kerberos infrastructure. This section assumes you have a functioning Kerberos realm and your systems have the Kerberos client installed. The tips in this section assume a Linux-based Kerberos environment, and the specific commands for your environment may vary. Please consult with your Kerberos administrator for assistance.

Creating a Kerberos Identity for the CLDB

The CLDB requires a Kerberos server identity, but no other nodes do. By default, this identity takes the form mapr/<cluster name>. You can use or edit the mapr-clusters.conf file to change this default. Use the following commands in a Linux-based Kerberos environment to set up the identity:

Copy the resulting mapr.keytab file to the same location on every CLDB node. The mapr.keytab file must be owned and readable only by the mapr user. You can specify the location of the mapr.keytab file in the conf/mapr.login.conf file. The default location for mapr.keytab is /opt/mapr/conf.

Updating the keytab File

You can use the kadmin tool to update the server keys that are stored in the keytab file. Because the server tickets used to authenticate to the CLDB use the new keys immediately, you must copy the new keytab file to all the CLDB servers in the cluster immediately after updating the server keys.

To update the keytab file with a new key, run the following command:

The CLDB automatically detects changes to the keytab file on systems that use Java 7 or later. Systems that use Java 6 require a CLDB restart to detect changes to the keytab file.


Starting with the 4.0.1 release of the MapR Distribution for Hadoop, Java 6 is deprecated in favor of Java 7 and Java 8.


After a Kerberos principal is created for the CLDB, that principal is added to the mapr.keytab file, and the mapr.keytab file is copied to all the CLDB servers, Kerberos user authentication is fully enabled for the MapR cluster.

Two parameters are important for Kerberos:

  • -K|-kerberosEnable - lets the rest of the cluster know that Kerberos is enabled, so that clients can auto detect Kerberos tickets and use them to get MapR tickets.

  • -P "<cldbPrincipal>" - specifies the Kerberos instance which is used to form the CLDB Kerberos principal in the form of mapr/<instance-name>@<realm-name>. Enclose this value in quotes (").

Run on each MapR cluster node, and each MapR client node that will communicate with one or more clusters. For more information on, see the topic.

Running on each node enters the Kerberos information into the local clusters.conf file, so that the following command is all that is required for the client to access the cluster:

If you do not run on each node, the following two commands are required from the client:

Kerberos Command Summary

  • kinit: Creates a Kerberos ticket. Prompts the user for userid and password. After validating, Kerberos creates a ticket file in /tmp that is owned by the user. Use the -R option to renew an existing ticket. Kerberos credentials expire in 8-10 hours. Expired credentials must be renewed or replaced. By default, tickets can be renewed for up to 24 hours.
  • klist: Lists the contents of the user's ticket file.
  • kdestroy: Destroys the contents of the user's ticket file. The user is no longer authenticated.
  • kadmin: Used to administer Kerberos. The login for this command is implicitly <userid>/admin, since administrator ids typically end in /admin.
  • ktutil: Kerberos keytab maintenance utility. Used to combine, or alter Kerberos keytabs.

Kerberos Troubleshooting

Java errors from Kerberos problems can be obscure and difficult to interpret. To see the Kerberos error messages, enable Kerberos debugging by adding these settings to your JVM:

You can also enable Kerberos debugging for the MapR-provided maprcli and Hadoop clients by adding the following line to the shell script:

Capture the Kerberos error to research the issue.

The following sections list common Kerberos error conditions:

Incorrect JVM

Nodes often have multiple Java Virtual Machines (JVM) installed. The MapR script automatically configures a JVM to use. To change the automatically configured JVM, set the value of the JAVA_HOME environment variable in the /opt/mapr/conf/ file.

Incorrect Server Name

The following error message is caused by an incorrect CLDB server name in the mapr.login.conf file. The error message mentions passwords, but the error condition is unrelated to password authentication.

Invalid or missing keytab file

The keytab file must be consistent with the key versions of the Kerberos principal. The following example shows an inconsistent keytab file:

Note that the key versions in the Kerberos principal /realm1 are 15, and the versions in the keytab file are 14. This mismatch can result in errors about missing keys or mismatched encryption.


This error state can also be caused by the /opt/mapr/conf/mapr.keytab file not being owned by the user mapr or not being present. The keytab file is owned by root at generation. Be sure to use the chown command to set the mapr user as the owner:

Incompatible encryption on Java runtime

Incompatible cryptography between the KDC and the JDK results in failed handshakes, leading to errors similar to the following:

With debugging active, the following message is displayed:

This debug message indicates that the problem is an unsupported key type.

Incompatible encryption errors can occur due to a keytab file that is not present or contains outdated keys.

Be sure to update the Java jurisdiction policy file. Jurisdiction policy files are available from Oracle.

A persistent encryption incompatibility problem may require you to edit the krb5.conf file to ensure compatible algorithms between Java and Kerberos.

Bugs in Java

The following error occurs in Java version 1.6.0_25. Upgrade to 1.6.0_45 to resolve the error.


Starting with the 4.0.1 release of the MapR Distribution for Hadoop, Java 6 is deprecated in favor of Java 7 and Java 8.

Kerberos and PAM validation

Standard Kerberos implementations are predicated on access to elevated user privileges that are not present on secure MapR clusters. In a MapR cluster, the MCS console and other components call PAM as an ordinary user process. This discrepancy in expected and actual privileges can cause a variety of obscure file permisson errors. Since different Kerberos PAM modules are available, error reports can vary.

To diagnose this issue, attempt starting the MCS as the root user, or clear out the /tmp folder. If there are no problems when starting MCS as root, or if clearing out the /tmp folder enables a single login before errors appear again, the problem may lie in the Kerberos PAM configuration.

To resolve this condition, prevent Kerberos from creating a ticket file. MapR security does not use Kerberos tickets. The Kerberos KDC is used to validate passwords. Typically the configuration file for PAM is in the /etc/pam.d directory. See the documentation for your specific Kerberos PAM module for more information.

Disabling Replay Detection for Kerberos Authentication

You can set an option in mapr-clusters.conf to disable replay detection for Kerberos runtime authentication.

By default, this parameter is set to false, meaning that MapR clients enable Kerberos replay detection. Typically, replay detection is enabled to prevent potential attacks such as the replay of Kerberos packets or multiple login attempts with the same user ID. Set this parameter to true only if you want MapR clients not to enforce this detection.

This parameter applies when users attempt an implicit or explicit maprlogin, such as  by using the maprlogin kerberos command or by submitting jobs and other operations with kerberosEnable=true set in the mapr-clusters.conf file. 

 This parameter is used when applications connect to the cluster using Kerberos; mapr-clusters.conf only needs to be updated when it is used by such applications. If all Kerberos access to the cluster is from clients outside the cluster, only the mapr-clusters.conf file on those client machines has to be updated. If Kerberos is used from applications running on the cluster, mapr-clusters.conf should be updated there as well.

  • No labels