Myth or Reality? The Truth Behind the Evolution of Apache Ranger


In this particular visitor function, Balaji Ganesan, CEO and co-founder of each Privacera, the cloud information governance and safety chief, and XA Secure, acquired by Hortonworks, discusses the reality behind the evolution of Apache Ranger. Balaji is an Apache Ranger™ committer and member of its venture administration committee (PMC).

As corporations of all sizes migrate their information and analytical workloads to take benefit of clouds’ decrease capital value and environment friendly useful resource utilization, they face information safety and entry management challenges much like after they began constructing on-premises Hadoop information lakes in the mid-2000s. In order to satisfy this want, Apache Ranger emerged as a number one centralized platform to manage entry management insurance policies throughout a quantity of open supply functions together with Apache Hive, Apache Spark, and Apache Kafka to call just some.

Considered a extremely profitable open-source venture that’s in use at tons of of enterprises round the world, Apache Ranger began off as a business software program venture. My accomplice Don Bosco Durai, Selvamohan Neethiraj, and I based XA Secure in 2013 with the objective to develop an enterprise-ready, centralized platform constructed from the floor as much as outline and administer information entry controls for on-premises Hadoop information lakes. Within the 12 months, XA Secure was acquired by Hortonworks who rapidly donated XA Secure’s complete code base, comprising roughly 440,000 strains to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).

In releasing the code, Hortonworks laid the basis of Apache Ranger as an Incubator venture with the first model being launched in November 2014. Fast-forward to 2017, Ranger was acknowledged as a top-level venture (TLP) – a testomony to the venture’s rising group and adoption. In truth, as of this writing,  Apache Ranger has had greater than 15 main and minor releases. 

Ranger is a centralized framework to outline, administer and handle entry management insurance policies. Thanks to the Ranger group, the platform offers the most complete safety protection throughout Hadoop and different Big Data elements all from a single interface, together with: 

  • Lightweight plugin-based structure which authorizes entry to information in the context of the sources being licensed. These plug-ins are light-weight, distributed brokers that act as the gatekeepers to entry numerous big data tasks  corresponding to Apache Spark or Apache Kafka. When a person executes a SQL question or reads a file, Ranger plugin performs a fast authorization examine in opposition to the sources that the person is requesting to entry. If the person has the required permissions, the plugin then primarily lets the Hadoop cluster take over the processing of the question. Plugin structure additionally offers the capacity to increase its authorization mannequin to programs that aren’t half of the Hadoop ecosystem.
  • Central audit location which authorizes requests throughout all the elements. The complete audits framework offers wealthy reporting together with contextual metadata corresponding to useful resource classification, IP, locale, the particular coverage, and its model for every entry request.
  • Advanced security measures embody dynamic column masking and row filtering. Dynamic information masking functionality permits solely licensed customers to see the information they’re permitted to see, whereas for different customers the similar information is masked or anonymized. Ranger’s row-level safety is a default filter situation that empowers directors to render a restricted quantity of filtered rows from a Hive desk with out the have to manually add these as predicates or create a number of views.
  • Key Management Service (KMS) shops and manages encryption keys for HDFS Transparent Data Encryption. Ranger KMS is suitable with Hadoop’s native KMS API. 

Despite being a mainstay of the open-source group for a lot of, there are a selection of misconceptions related to Apache Ranger: 

  • Myth #1: Apache Ranger is solely an RBAC answer for heterogeneous information providers – It is a typical false impression that Ranger is solely based mostly on the role-based entry management (RBAC) method to implementing entry management insurance policies. The actuality is Ranger began its journey as an open-source venture based mostly on attribute-based entry management (ABAC) method. In addition to empowering information directors to outline entry insurance policies based mostly on roles and customers, Ranger additionally presents the flexibility to authorize insurance policies based mostly on a mixture of the topic, motion, useful resource, and surroundings. Using descriptive attributes corresponding to energetic listing (AD) group, Apache Atlas-based tags or classifications, geo-location, and so on., Ranger offers a holistic method to information governance that encompasses each ABAC and RBAC approaches.
  • Myth #2: Apache Ranger follows a rejection-based method to entry management – The second false impression is that Ranger follows a rejection-based method to entry management. In truth it’s fairly the opposite, as Apache Ranger follows the business finest observe for writing entry insurance policies with the least privilege. Under this method, customers are explicitly denied until there’s a coverage in place that particularly grants them entry to requested information. For instance, a person could solely have Select however not Update privileges. 
  • Myth #3: Apache Ranger produces a big quantity of entry insurance policies which might be tough to keep up  – Apache Ranger leverages the finest practices of Access and Deny circumstances to ship a exact degree of entry management to enterprises. The capacity to help circumstances for deny/enable together with particular exclude/embody circumstances allows safety and compliance directors to realize entry management at a fine-grain degree by writing a small set of simply comprehensible insurance policies. In some circumstances, what would have required a dozen roles and permissions to specify a coverage, can now be performed with a single easy coverage in Apache Ranger’s complete coverage framework.

Fast ahead 4 years after Apache Ranger grew to become a TLP and  it’s now a generally utilized information governance framework for on-prem information lakes. Deployed throughout hundreds of corporations round the world and managing petabytes of information it has been confirmed to be the scalable, versatile information governance framework wanted to unravel the drawback of managing information saved disparate and heterogeneous Big Data environments. 

Looking to the future,  distributed cloud platforms utilized by enterprises at this time have resulted in an identical drawback as the Big Data environments of the previous. It is tough to safe information distributed throughout completely different cloud environments as a consequence of the disparate entry management mechanisms provided by cloud service suppliers. For enterprises migrating to the cloud, there are historic classes to be realized from 7 years of group improvement and help from Apache Ranger which may now be utilized to the cloud. 

A corollary to the myths outlined above could be thought-about finest practices for responsibly managing information in the cloud. Specifically, when deciding on an information governance answer for the cloud, enterprises ought to think about an entry management methodology which may: a.) present a centralized platform to outline and handle entry management insurance policies throughout on-premises and cloud environments and cloud-native providers;  b.) leverage each attribute-based and role-based entry management;  c.) create entry insurance policies based mostly on least privilege; and d.) maximizes fine-grained safety with out the headache of managing an exponential quantity of insurance policies. By making use of the finest practices cultivated from my expertise growing Apache Ranger and by making use of the above steps, you can be effectively in your method to optimizing your cloud information privateness and governance infrastructure. 

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