Spark & Livy together in hell (kerberos)

Notes on getting Livy configured with Kerberos in CDH. Oh yeah and use it in Python via Sparkmagic.

Install Livy

Create a Livy user to run the livy server

sudo useradd -m -p $(echo livy | openssl passwd -1 -stdin) livy

Download Livy (0.5-incubating) at the time of writing this and unzip/untar it in the Livy user home dir.

HDFS for Livy

Create HDFS directory for Livy

kinit hdfs # password: hdfs in this doc

hdfs dfs -mkdir -p /user/livy
hdfs dfs -chown -R livy:livy /user/livy

Kerberos principals and keytabs

We need to generate one kerberos principals for Livy and two keytabs for Livy and the webserver.

This has to be done in the KDC server.

You have to change the hostname to the node that is running.

In my tests I used password livy for both principals.

$ sudo kadmin.local

kadmin.local:  addprinc -randkey livy/$HOSTNAME
WARNING: no policy specified for livy/[email protected]; defaulting to no policy
Enter password for principal "livy/[email protected]":
Re-enter password for principal "livy/[email protected]":
kadmin.local:  xst -norandkey -k livy.keytab livy/[email protected]

kadmin.local:  xst -norandkey -k httplivy.keytab livy/[email protected] HTTP/[email protected]

Important notes:

  • The HTTP principal must be in the format HTTP/[email protected]. The first component of the principal must be the literal string HTTP. This format is standard for HTTP principals in SPNEGO and is hard-coded in Hadoop. It cannot be deviated from.
  • Make sure that those two keytabs are readable by the user executing the livy-server
sudo chown livy:livy -.keytab
sudo chmod 644 -.keytab
sudo mv -.keytab /etc/security

Configure Livy

  • Populate the conf/livy.conf (note the hostnames will be different):
livy.server.port = 8998

# Auth
livy.server.auth.type = kerberos
livy.impersonation.enabled = false  # see notes below

# Principals and keytabs to exactly match those generated before
livy.server.launch.kerberos.principal = livy/[email protected]
livy.server.launch.kerberos.keytab = /etc/security/livy.keytab
livy.server.auth.kerberos.principal = HTTP/[email protected]
livy.server.auth.kerberos.keytab = /etc/security/httplivy.keytab

# This may not be required when delegating auth to kerberos
livy.server.access_control.enabled = true
livy.server.access_control.users = livy,hdfs,zeppelin
livy.superusers = livy,hdfs,zeppelin

# What spark master Livy sessions should use: yarn or yarn-cluster
livy.spark.master = yarn

# What spark deploy mode Livy sessions should use: client or cluster
livy.spark.deployMode = cluster
  • Set this variables in /conf/

export JAVA_HOME=/usr/java/jdk1.8.0_121-cloudera/jre/
export SPARK_HOME=/opt/cloudera/parcels/CDH/lib/spark/
export HADOOP_HOME=/etc/hadoop/
  • Set log4j.rootCategory=DEBUG, console in /conf/

  • Start livy-server, you should see something like:

$ ./bin/livy-server
KerberosAuthenticationHandler: Login using keytab ./http-livy-ip-172-31-0-40.ec2.internal.keytab, for principal http-livy/[email protected]
Debug is  true storeKey true useTicketCache true useKeyTab true doNotPrompt true ticketCache is null isInitiator false KeyTab is ./http-livy-ip-172-31-0-40.ec2.internal.keytab refreshKrb5Config is true principal is http-livy/[email protected] tryFirstPass is false useFirstPass is false storePass is false clearPass is false
Refreshing Kerberos configuration
Acquire TGT from Cache
Principal is http-livy/[email protected]
null credentials from Ticket Cache
principal is http-livy/[email protected]
Will use keytab
Commit Succeeded


If impersonation is not enabled, the user executing the livy-server (usually livy) must exist on every machine. So you have do do (in all the nodes):

sudo useradd -m livy

If impersonation is enabled, any user executing a spark session must be able to exists in on every machine. This is usually handled by AD (?)

You also need to enable some settings in the core-site.xml:

  • In Cloudera Manager go to the HDFS configuration, search for Cluster-wide Advanced Configuration Snippet for core-site.xml and add two new options for:

In this case livy is the user that is allowed to impersonate users, so in this case I need to run livy the livy-server.

HDFS for users

You might need to create an HDFS home directory for the users that are going to be impersonated. To do that kinit as [email protected]:

$ kinit [email protected]  # password `hdfs` in this document

$ hdfs dfs -mkdir /user/centos
$ hdfs dfs -chown centos:centos /user/centos

Connecting to Livy

Now you can kinit and connect to Livy for example using sparkmagic with a ~/.sparkmagic/config.json like:

"kernel_python_credentials" : {
	"username": "",
	"password": "",
	"url": "http://{{ livy_server }}:8998",
	"auth": "Kerberos"

If you don’t kinit sparkmagic will show an error like: Authentication required

Livy + REST example

This is a nice way to test faster than starting jupyter notebook

import requests

import kerberos
import requests_kerberos
import json, pprint, textwrap

host = 'http://ip-172-31-60-124.ec2.internal:8998'
auth = requests_kerberos.HTTPKerberosAuth(mutual_authentication=requests_kerberos.REQUIRED, force_preemptive=True)

data = {'kind': 'pyspark'}
headers = {'Content-Type': 'application/json'}

r = + '/sessions', data=json.dumps(data), headers=headers, auth=auth)
session_url = host + r.headers['location']

data = {'code': '1 + 1'}

data = {
  'code': textwrap.dedent("""
	import random
	NUM_SAMPLES = 100000
	def sample(p):
	  x, y = random.random(), random.random()
	  return 1 if x-x + y-y < 1 else 0

	count = sc.parallelize(xrange(0, NUM_SAMPLES)).map(sample).reduce(lambda a, b: a + b)
	print "Pi is roughly %f" % (4.0 - count / NUM_SAMPLES)

data = {
  'code': textwrap.dedent("""
	import sys
	rdd = sc.parallelize(range(100), 10)
statements_url = session_url + '/statements'

r =, data=json.dumps(data), headers=headers, auth=auth)

r = requests.get(statements_url, headers=headers, auth=auth)

r = requests.delete(session_url, headers=headers, auth=auth)

More stuff

Livy, Spark and Hive: When Spark only shows the default table when querying a Hive table, remember to place the hive-site.xml in the livy conf directory.

Based on