DAOS uses a flexible security model that separates authentication from authorization. It is designed to have a minimal impact on the I/O path.
DAOS does not provide any transport security for the fabric network used for I/O transfers. When deploying DAOS, the administrator is responsible for secure configuration of their specific fabric network. For RDMA over Ethernet, enabling IPsec is recommended. See the RDMA protocol spec (RFC 5040) for more information.
There are two areas where DAOS implements its own layer of security. At the user level, clients must be able to read and modify only pools and containers to which they have been granted access. At the system and administrative levels, only authorized components must be able to access the DAOS management network.
There are different means of authentication, depending on whether the caller is accessing client resources or the DAOS management network. Component certificates play a pivotal role in both methods. For this reason, certificates should never be disabled in production systems.
The client library
libdaos is an untrusted component. The
command that uses the client library is also an untrusted component.
A trusted process, the DAOS agent (
runs on each client node and authenticates the user processes.
daos_agent detects the user associated with the process and uses the
component certificate to sign the user credentials.
The agent returns the signed credential package to the client, to be included in
RPCs to the DAOS system.
After receiving a client RPC, the server verifies the signature before proceeding
with the requested operation.
The cryptographic signature of the trusted
daos_agent is essential for the server
process to have any confidence in the user's identity.
The DAOS security model is designed to support different authentication methods for client processes. Currently, we support only the AUTH_SYS authentication flavor, as defined for NFS in RFC 2623.
DAOS Management Network¶
The DAOS management components communicate over the network using the gRPC protocol.
Each trusted DAOS component (
daos_agent, and the
administrative tool) is authenticated by means of a certificate generated for
that component by the system administrator. All of the component certificates
must be generated with the same root certificate and distributed to the
appropriate DAOS nodes, as described in the
DAOS Administration Guide.
DAOS components identify one another over the DAOS management network via gRPC over mutually-authenticated TLS using their respective component certificates. DAOS verifies the certificate chain, as well as the Common Name (CN) in the certificate, to authenticate the component's identity.
admin component certificate serves as the only authentication and authorization
mechanism for the
dmg administrative tool.
admin certificate's private key and the
dmg executable, a user has
full administrative access to the DAOS system.
Client authorization for resources is controlled by the Access Control List (ACL) on the resource. Authorization on the management network is achieved by settings on the certificates that are generated while setting up the DAOS system.
Access to DAOS management RPCs is controlled via the CommonName (CN) set in each management component certificate. A given management RPC may only be invoked by a component which connects with the correct certificate.
Access Control Lists¶
Client access to resources like pools and containers is controlled by DAOS Access Control Lists (ACLs). These ACLs are derived in part from NFSv4 ACLs, and adapted for the unique needs of a distributed system.
The client may request read-only or read-write access to the resource. If the resource ACL doesn't grant them the requested access level, they won't be able to connect. While connected, their handle to that resource grants permissions for specific actions.
The permissions of a handle last for the duration of its existence, similar to an open file descriptor in a POSIX system. A handle cannot currently be revoked.
A DAOS ACL is composed of zero or more Access Control Entries (ACEs). The ACEs are the rules used to grant or deny privileges to a user who requests access to a resource.
Access Control Entries¶
In the input and output of DAOS tools, an Access Control Entry (ACE) is defined
using a colon-separated string with the following format:
The contents of all the fields are case-sensitive.
The type of ACE entry (mandatory). Only one type of ACE is supported at this time.
- A (Allow): Allow access to the specified principal for the given permissions.
The (optional) flags provide additional information about how the ACE should be interpreted.
- G (Group): The principal should be interpreted as a group.
The principal (also called the identity) is specified in the
The domain should be left off if the name is a UNIX user/group on the local
domain. Currently, this is the only case supported by DAOS.
There are three special principals,
which align with User, Group, and Other from traditional POSIX permission bits.
When providing them in the ACE string format, they must be spelled exactly as
written here, in uppercase with no domain appended. The
GROUP@ entry must
also have the
G (group) flag.
The permissions in a resource's ACE permit a certain type of user access to
the resource. The order of the permission "bits" (characters) within the
PERMISSIONS field of the ACE is not significant.
|Alias for 't'
|Read container data and attributes
|Alias for 'c' + 'd'
|Write container data and attributes
|Delete any container
|Delete this container
|Get container properties
|Set/Change container properties
|Get container ACL
|Set/Change container ACL
|Set/Change container's owner user and group
ACEs containing permissions not applicable to the given resource are considered invalid.
To allow a user/group to connect to a resource, that principal's permissions
must include at least some form of read access (for example,
A user with
write-only permissions will be rejected when requesting RW access to
Currently, only "Allow" Access Control Entries are supported.
However, it is possible to deny access to a specific user by creating an Allow entry for them with no permissions. This is fundamentally different from removing a user's ACE, which allows other ACEs in the ACL to determine their access.
It is not possible to deny access to a specific group in this way, due to the way group permissions are enforced.
- Allow the UNIX user named
daos_userto have read-write access.
- Allow the UNIX user named
- Allow anyone in the UNIX group
project_usersto access a pool's contents and create containers.
- Allow anyone in the UNIX group
- Allow the UNIX user who owns the container to have full control.
- Allow the UNIX group that owns the container to read and write data, delete the container, and manipulate container properties.
- Allow any user not covered by other rules to have read-only access.
- Deny the UNIX user named
daos_userany access to the resource.
- Deny the UNIX user named
Access Control Entries (ACEs) will be enforced in the following order:
- Named users
- Owner-Group and named groups
In general, enforcement will be based on the first match, ignoring lower-priority entries.
If the user is the owner of the resource and there is an
OWNER@ entry, they
will receive the owner permissions only. They will not receive any of the
permissions in the named user/group entries, even if they would match those
If the user isn't the owner, or there is no
OWNER@ entry, but there is an ACE
for their user identity, they will receive the permissions for their user
identity only. They will not receive the permissions for any of their
groups, even if those group entries have broader permissions than the user entry
does. The user is expected to match at most one user entry.
If no matching user entry is found, but entries match one or more of the user's
groups, enforcement will be based on the union of the permissions of all
matching groups, including the owner-group
If no matching groups are found, the
EVERYONE@ entry's permissions will be
used, if it exists.
By default, if a user matches no ACEs in the ACL list, access will be denied.
Tools that accept an ACL file expect it to be a simple text file with one ACE
on each line. A line may be marked as a comment by using a
# as the first
non-whitespace character on the line.
# ACL for my container
# Owner can't touch data - just do admin-type things
# My project's users can generate and access data
# Bob can use the data to generate a report
The permission bits and the ACEs themselves don't need to be in any specific order. However the order may be different when the resulting ACL is parsed and displayed by DAOS.
The maximum size of the ACE list in a DAOS ACL internal data structure is 64KiB.
To calculate the internal data size of an ACL, use the following formula for each ACE:
- The base size of an ACE is 256 Bytes.
- If the ACE principal is not one of the special principals:
- Add the length of the principal string + 1.
- If that value is not 64-Byte aligned, round up to the nearest 64-Byte boundary.