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Accumulo, mail # user - Passing scan authorizations that exceed the Accumulo user's authorizations


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Passing scan authorizations that exceed the Accumulo user's authorizations
John Stoneham 2011-12-15, 18:50
Hi,

I'm wondering about the expected behavior when creating a Scanner with
authorizations that exceed the Accumulo user's authorizations. (For
example, if some authentication mechanism gave a user AUTH1, AUTH2, and
AUTH3, but the particular Accumulo usr in use has had AUTH3 removed from
its authorizations temporarily.) Current behavior on the 1.3 line is to
throw an exception if a scan is attempted with any authorizations which the
Accumulo user does not possess.

The docs are inconsistent. The manual on the 1.4 line reads: When a user
creates a scanner a set of Authorizations is passed. If the authorizations
passed to the scanner are not a subset of the users authorizations, then an
exception will be thrown.

However, the Javadocs on Connector.getBatchScanner read: A set of
authorization labels that will be checked against the column visibility of
each key inorder to filter data. The authorizations passed in for scanning
are intersected with the accumulo users set of authorizations. So if the
accumulo user has authorizations (A1, A2) and authorizations (A2,A3) are
passed, then (A2) will be used for the scan.

As an Accumulo user I'd prefer the behavior documented in getBatchScanner
(that is, intersect on the server side the Accumulo user's authorizations
with the authorizations passed). In that situation, I can safely pass all
the authorizations my end-user might have, including any unexpected new (or
dynamic) ones that weren't known when I started the application. Updating
the Accumulo user's authorizations (addition or removal) would not require
an application restart.

With the current situation, I have the following less happy scenarios to
choose from:
1) retrieve the Accumulo user's authorizations at startup and perform this
intersection logic in application code each time. New authorizations added
to the Accumulo user won't be effective until an application restart.
Authorizations removed from the Accumulo user have the potential to cause
application errors until an application restart.
2) retrieve the Accumulo user's authorizations periodically and do the
same. Same characteristics as #1 except that the time window is reduced.
3) retrieve the Accumulo user's authorizations for each scan, then
intersect myself. Adds an extra round trip to every scan, and there's a
race condition if auths are being modified simultaneously.
4) whitelist authorizations coming from authentication layer to ones I know
are on the Accumulo user, keep the whitelist config in sync with the server
config (or retrieve them at startup) and just take down the application
before any authorization changes.

I thought I'd ask the list for thoughts on this before I file an issue.
Perhaps there are constraints or solutions I haven't thought of.

Thanks,

- John

--
John Stoneham
[EMAIL PROTECTED]