• Background

    This how-to describes the necessary steps to use Kerberos based single sign-on (SSO) in Exasol.


    The configuration of EXAoperation is explained in the Operational Manual:


    Database and used drivers / EXAplus have version 6.0.8 or newer.

    How to install SSO with Kerberos?


    Step 1: Create Exasol user with Kerberos authentication

    Create user

    CREATE USER <identifier> IDENTIFIED BY KERBEROS PRINCIPAL <string-literal>

    The Kerberos principal is usually formed like this: <user>@<realm>

    Alter User

    ALTER USER <identifier> IDENTIFIED BY KERBEROS PRINCIPAL <string-literal>

    Rename User

    Renaming a user with Kerberos authentication will not affect the Kerberos principal specified by CREATE USER or ALTER USER.

    More details on the creation of users can be found in the user manual.

    Step 2: Client configuration

    After these steps, the database is ready to accept users that authenticate via Kerberos.

    For the client side, different options to use this authentication method exist:


    New connection string parameters

    KERBEROSSERVICENAME Service name part of the Kerberos principal.
    Default: exasol
    KERBEROSHOSTNAME Hostname of the Kerberos principal.
    Default: use hostname from the connection string

    Kerberos based single sign-on will be used if user and password are not specified and the SQL_DRIVER_PROMPT flag is not set during SQLDriverConnect().

    ODBC Single-Sign-On on Linux

    You can either use your existing ticket for your user or use a keytab file.

    • Use existing ticket:
      We assume that you already have a ticket for your user from the KDC. If not, obtain a ticket using kinit:
    kinit user@YOUR.REALM
    • Use keytab file:
       To use a keytab file, you have to make sure there are no tickets in the cache using kdestroy. Then you have to tell Kerberos where your keytab file is located:
    export KRB5_CLIENT_KTNAME=/home/<your_user>/<your_keytab_file_name>

             Alternative: add the location of the keytab file to the krb5.conf:

     default_client_keytab_name = /home/<your_user>/<your_keytab_file_name>
    • We assume you have a valid krb5.conf
    • Create an odbc.ini configured for Kerberos. Here is an example:
    Driver = /home/<your_user>/KerberosTest/EXASolution_ODBC-6.0.8/lib/linux/x86_64/libexaodbc-uo2214lv2.so
    EXAHOST = exasol-host:8563
    EXALOGFILE = odbc.log
    LOGMODE = Debug Comm
    KerberosServiceName = exasol
    KerberosHostName = kerberos.hostname.for.exasol
    • Make sure your environment variables are correctly set (this might vary depending on the environment)
    export KRB5CCNAME=DIR:/path/to/your/cache/
    export KRB5_CONFIG=/path/to/your/krb5.conf
    export ODBCINI=/path/to/your/odbc.ini
    • You should now be able to use the exa_linux DSN
    isql exa_linux -v

    ODBC Single-Sign-On on Windows

    On Windows just install the Exasol ODBC driver. Then in the ODBC Configuration tool from Windows add a new DSN for the Exasol ODBC driver.

    Now you can setup the connection:

    • Specify any DSN name
    • Specify connection string (host: port)
    • Specify "Additional parameter" in the second tab (Advanced) of the configuration tool to "kerberosServiceName=<yourServiceName>.
    • You may require kerberosHostName too, depending on your Active Directory configuration. For this you have to extend the additional parameters as follows: "kerberosServiceName=<yourServiceName>;kerberosHostName=<yourKrbHostName>".

    Compatibility Mode

    If it is not possible to specify the additional parameters, the "compatibility mode" using username and password can be used. For this, you can specify the Kerberos service name in the "User name" field as:


    If the kerberosHostName has to be specified, the "User Name" field has the following format:






    New connection string parameters

    If one of the following connection string parameters is set, Kerberos single-sign-on will be used for JDBC.

    kerberosservicename Service name part of the Kerberos principal.
    Default: exasol
    kerberoshostname Hostname of the Kerberos principal.
    Default: use hostname from the connection string

    JDBC Single-Sign-On On Linux

    Using ticket cache

    We assume that you already have a ticket for your user from the KDC. If not, obtain a ticket using kinit:

    kinit user@YOUR.REALM

    If you now use JDBC with the connection string parameters specified above, authentication should work without asking for a username or password.

    For illustration we provide an example Java application:

    package com.exasol;
    import java.sql.Connection;
    import java.sql.DriverManager;
    import java.sql.SQLException;
    import java.util.Properties;
    public class KerberosTest {
        static Properties props = System.getProperties();
        private void testKerberosConnection(String h, String p)
            String connectionString="jdbc:exa:" + h + ":" + p + ";kerberosservicename=exasol;kerberoshostname=kerberos.hostname.for.exasol";
            //Optional connection string parameters: ";debug=1;logdir=/home/<your_user>"
            try {
            } catch (ClassNotFoundException e) {
            Connection driverConn=null;
            try {
                 //Connectiong to the EXASOL Server as the current OS user
                 driverConn = DriverManager.getConnection(connectionString);
            } catch (SQLException e) {
            try {
                if (driverConn!=null && !driverConn.isClosed())
                    System.out.println("Kerberos connection test success!");
                    System.out.println("Kerberos connect failed!");
            } catch (SQLException e) {
        public static void main(String[] args) {
            (new KerberosTest()).testKerberosConnection(args[0], args[1]);

    How to run the test application:

    java -Djavax.security.auth.useSubjectCredsOnly=false -Djava.security.krb5.conf=/path/to/your/krb5.conf -cp exajdbc.jar:/path/to/example com/exasol/KerberosTest <your_exasol_host_name> <your_exasol_port_nr>

    In case of problems with Kerberos not working as expected, you can enable command line Kerberos debugging by setting the following parameter value to true:


    These logs displayed will help you understand the issues related to kerberos not working. 

    Using keytab file

    To configure the Exasol GSSAPI connection and to specify the keytab file you can use a gss.config file:

    com.sun.security.jgss.initiate {
    com.sun.security.auth.module.Krb5LoginModule required

    How to run the test application:

    java -Djava.security.auth.login.config=/home/<your_user>/gss.config -Djavax.security.auth.useSubjectCredsOnly=false -Djava.security.krb5.conf=/path/to/your/krb5.conf -cp exajdbc.jar:/path/to/example com/exasol/KerberosTest <your_exasol_host_name> <your_exasol_port_nr>

    JDBC Single-Sign-On On Windows

    First, install the Exasol JDBC driver. In the Java sample provided above, you can modify the connection string as follows:

    String connectionString="jdbc:exa:" + h + ":" + p + ";kerberosservicename=<your_kerberos_service_name>;kerberoshostname=<your_kerberos_hostname>;debug=1;logdir=c:\\Users\\<your_user>";

    Compile the sample and run it

    java -cp "c:\Program Files (x86)\EXASOL\EXASolution-6.0\JDBC\exajdbc.jar";c:\path\to\example;C:\Users\<your_user>\Waffle\Bin\jna-4.0.0.jar;c:\Users\<your_user>\Waffle\Bin\jna-platform-4.0.0.jar;c:\Users\<your_user>\Waffle\Bin\waffle-jna.jar kerberosTest <your_exasol_server_host> <your_exasol_port>

    Compatibility Mode

    Similar to ODBC, the "compatibility mode" is supported. If you use a username in the following format, the password will be ignored and it behaves as if the respective Kerberos connection string parameters were set (see table above). Note that only the service name is mandatory.







    In the login dialog in EXAplus, the user can choose Username or Kerberos in the dropdown list. If Kerberos is chosen, the GUI will change, so that the user could input service name, host and connection string.



    For Login with Kerberos, EXAplus should be started with parameter -k. Then the user can input service name, host and connection string.

    $ /usr/opt/EXASuite-6/EXASolution-6.0.8/bin/Console/exaplus -k
    EXAplus 6.0.8 (c) EXASOL AG
    Service name: exasol
    Host: vcluster.exasol.com
    Connection String (localhost:8563): mynode:8563
    Thursday, March 8, 2018 12:57:48 PM CET
    Connected to database exa.mynode.8563 as user null.
    EXASolution 6.0.8 (c) EXASOL AG

    Manipulation of JVM Properties

    In the Preferences > Other menu, the user can define JVM Properties, which will be used when Java is called for starting EXAplus. The default value of JVM Properties is -Xmx512m. This feature is only implemented in EXAplus GUI for Linux and Windows. For MacOS, SSO with Kerberos is not available, hence the JVM option is not applicable on MacOS.

    Windows, Linux 


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Last update:
‎24-08-2020 08:00 AM
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