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O Hadoop Users, Where Art Thou?

by Joerg Fritsch  |  March 18, 2014  |  4 Comments

One of my projects this year wants to clarify how companies can secure the Hadoop Ecosystem. The Hadoop ecosystem is huge and has many moving parts that are internally managed by their own zookeeper :D.

The challenge is that firms who are going to use Hadoop have to secure an environment that is distributed by nature. Whilst map reduce and distributed computing have been existing for decades and are not new, the notion to secure distributed computing and High Performance Computing (HPC) environments is rather recent. The job for the security folks is daunting, no single human can understand all the components and interactions to ensure that the data is truly protected.

The Hadoop Security Research Note will answer questions such as:

  • Are the levels of protection offered by Apache Sentry, Accumulo or RHINO enough to protect your data?
  • Is the available authN/Z good enough to be compared with traditional data protection measures?
  • Should you restrict the use of Hadoop components to only HBASE or Hive?
  • What are the best practices to protect data across the board: from ingestion all the way down to the “cell”?
  • Does the result then still do justice to the promise of Big Data?

However, as the blind seer in the movie (O Brother, Where Art Thou) tells us: “the treasure you seek shall not be the treasure you find.”, during my journey I have gained some interesting insights and would like to engage with people who have an opinion about this.

Got a Big Data security story to share? WIN or FAIL? Hit the comments or email me privately (Gartner client NDA will cover it, if you are a client).

Category: big-data  

Tags: data-protection  hadoop  intellectual-property  

Joerg Fritsch
Research Director
1 year at Gartner
15 years IT Industry

Joerg Fritsch is a Research Director in the Gartner for Technical Professionals Security and Risk Management Strategies team. His specialties include information security, data center and cloud security, big data (analytics), cloud computing, PaaS, distributed systems, messaging and event-driven systems, and very fast networks and servers. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on O Hadoop Users, Where Art Thou?


  1. “no single human can understand all the components and interactions to ensure that the data is truly protected”

    you have a couple landmines in that conclusion that i have to set aside for now (does anything ensure? is anything truly protected?) and propose an alternative one:

    we are beginning to understand the value of protecting data among all the components and interactions in big data. the daunting problem ahead is getting disparate pieces playing together nicely when security is added late and finding someone who will take responsibility for it all.

  2. […] This Gartner researcher is looking for insights into the appropriate security measures to take with Hadoop. Read More […]



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