Apache Sentry

What is Apache Sentry?

Apache Sentry is a powerful security solution developed by the Apache Software Foundation for Hadoop clusters. It enables role-based authorization for both data and metadata residing in a Hadoop environment. Serving as a centralized policy engine, it alleviates security concerns in big data infrastructures, enforcing fine-grained control and facilitating secure data processing and analytics.


Apache Sentry started as a project within Cloudera before joining the Apache Software Foundation in 2013. Since then it has continued to evolve, with the community currently supporting the second version of its major release.

Functionality and Features

Apache Sentry provides an array of functionalities designed to bolster security in Hadoop environments. Some of its key features include:


Apache Sentry operates in a three-tier architecture that includes clients, service layers, and the backend database. It provides a unified interface between the client and database layers, enforcing access policies and making security checks.

Benefits and Use Cases

Apache Sentry's fine-grained access control and comprehensive policy management allow it to cater to a diversity of use cases including data security, privacy compliance, and multi-tenant data storage. It is especially beneficial for organizations dealing with sensitive data, ensuring only authorized personnel have access.

Challenges and Limitations

While Apache Sentry offers robust security, it has limitations. It only supports Hadoop environments and requires complex configuration. Additionally, it might not be suitable for small-scale applications due to its elaborate design.

Integration with Data Lakehouse

In a Data Lakehouse environment, Apache Sentry plays an evident role in adding security layers, which is critical to maintaining data privacy and complying with regulatory standards. However, it should be noted that transitioning from Apache Sentry to a Data Lakehouse setup might require additional steps or tools considering the disparities in architecture and data formats.

Security Aspects

Apache Sentry's primary focus is on security. It prevents unauthorized data access with its role-based access control and provides audit trails for all data interactions. It also integrates with Kerberos, the widely used authentication standard in Hadoop environments.

Comparison with Dremio's Technology

While Apache Sentry is a powerful security solution for Hadoop, Dremio offers a more flexible and expansive data platform. Dremio supports a broader range of data sources beyond Hadoop, delivering higher performance via its unique data reflections and accelerating analytics with its Apache Arrow-based query engine. In terms of security, Dremio also provides robust protections, including access controls and data masking.


What is Apache Sentry? Apache Sentry is a security solution for Hadoop clusters that enables fine-grained, role-based authorization to data and metadata.

Does Apache Sentry support non-Hadoop environments? No, Apache Sentry primarily targets Hadoop-based environments.

What are the main advantages of Apache Sentry? Apache Sentry offers features like role-based access control, multi-tenancy support, and centralized policy administration for enhanced data security in Hadoop environments.

How does Apache Sentry integrate with a Data Lakehouse? Apache Sentry can add security layers in a Data Lakehouse environment, enforcing data privacy and regulatory compliance measures.

How does Apache Sentry compare with Dremio's offerings? Dremio offers a more flexible and performant platform supporting a broader range of data sources. While it also provides robust security protections, its wider functionality makes it a more comprehensive solution.


Hadoop: An open-source software framework for storing data and running applications on clusters of commodity hardware.

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): A method of regulating access to computer or network resources based on the roles of individual users within an enterprise.

Data Lakehouse: A new, open data management architecture that combines the best elements of data warehouses and data lakes.

Kerberos: A computer network authentication protocol which works on the basis of tickets to allow nodes communicating over a non-secure network to prove their identity to one another in a secure manner.

Apache Arrow: An open-source column-oriented data analytics acceleration library.

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