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HDFS "Data at Rest" Encryption

Encryption is a form of data security that is required in industries such as healthcare and the payment card industry. Hadoop provides several ways to encrypt stored data.

  • The lowest level of encryption is volume encryption, which protects data after physical theft or accidental loss of a disk volume. The entire volume is encrypted; this approach does not support finer-grained encryption of specific files or directories. In addition, volume encryption does not protect against viruses or other attacks that occur while a system is running.

  • Application level encryption (encryption within an application running on top of Hadoop) supports a higher level of granularity and prevents "rogue admin" access, but adds a layer of complexity to the application architecture.

  • A third approach, HDFS data at rest encryption, encrypts selected files and directories stored ("at rest") in HDFS. This approach uses specially designated HDFS directories known as "encryption zones."

This chapter focuses on the third approach, HDFS data at rest encryption. The chapter is intended as an introductory quick start to HDFS data at rest encryption. Content will be updated regularly.