Creating superuser accounts

Roles created with the superuser option have full access to the database; users with the role can run any CQL commands on all database resources.

DataStax recommends giving superuser status only to a limited number of users and managing superuser authentication with the internal scheme. When using LDAP group management (role_management_options.mode: ldap), to prevent unintentional role assignment, set authentication_options.scheme_permissions:true and bind the superuser role to the internal scheme (see Binding a role to an authentication scheme).

DSE includes the default role cassandra with password cassandra. The cassandra role is a superuser login account that has full access to the database. Requests from the cassandra account, including login, use a consistency level of QUORUM. QUORUM may cause significant performance degradation in multi-datacenter environments. For security and performance, DataStax recommends only using the cassandra role once during initial RBAC set up to establish your own root account and then disabling or dropping the cassandra role.

Requests from all other authenticated accounts have a consistency level of LOCAL_ONE. See How is the consistency level configured? for more details.


Isolate the DSE cluster and enable RBAC, see Managing roles.


  1. Log in to CQL shell (cqlsh) with the Cassandra user:

    cqlsh -u cassandra -p cassandra
  2. Create a new superuser account with password stored in the CQL database:

    CREATE ROLE <root_user_name> with SUPERUSER = true AND LOGIN = true and PASSWORD = '<password>';
  3. Exit cqlsh:

  4. In order to disable or drop the cassandra role, log in with the new role created in the previous step:

    cqlsh -u <root_user>

    Enter the password at the prompt.

  5. Verify that the role was created as a superuser using LIST:

     role                | super | login | options
               root_user |  True |  True |        {}
               cassandra |  True |  True |        {}
    (2 rows)
  6. Drop or update the cassandra account:

    • Drop the cassandra account:

      DROP ROLE cassandra;
    • Update the cassandra role by disabling superuser and changing the password:

      ALTER ROLE cassandra WITH SUPERUSER = false AND LOGIN = false AND password='new_secret_pw';

    DataStax recommends dropping the account to secure the database in production environments. When using an external authentication method, such as LDAP, this prevents accidentally assignment with elevated privileges.

  7. Verify that the cassandra role was deleted:


    Only the roles created in these steps display:

     role                | super | login | options
               root_user |  True |  True |        {}
    (1 rows)
  8. Reopen the firewall to support production CQL traffic.

What’s next

Set up roles that map to the user or group names for the configured authentication schemes:

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