Steps for production environments

Steps for enabling DSE Unified Authentication without downtime when implementing in a production or otherwise existing DataStax Enterprise environment.

To enable access control without downtime, use transitional modes to temporarily support applications and users that do not have accounts without interrupting services.


  1. Update all applications to provide credentials and ensure that they use the latest DSE driver, see DataStax drivers. When using authentication.transitional_mode, you can provide a blank username and password to log in with the anonymous role.
    When authentication and authorization are disabled, the credentials portion of the connection request is ignored. After authentication is enabled all connections must provide credentials.
  2. Change the replication factor for the security keyspaces, see Configuring the security keyspaces replication factors.
  3. Run a full repair of the system_auth and dse_auth keyspace.
  4. On each node, enable authentication and authorization in transitional mode:
    • Set to permissive.
    • Set to normal.

    See Enabling DSE Unified Authentication.

  5. Turn on logging to allow verification that applications can authenticate. See Setting up database auditing.
  6. Enable JMX authentication, see Controlling access to JMX MBeans.
  7. Perform a rolling restart.
    CAUTION: The transactional nodes are vulnerable to malicious activity following the restart. Anybody can access the system using the default cassandra account with password cassandra. DataStax recommends isolating the cluster until after disabling the cassandra account.
  8. After the restarts are complete, use cqlsh to replace the cassandra default account, see Adding a superuser login.
    Note: Using the default cassandra account may impact performance, all requests including login execute with consistency level QUORUM. DataStax recommends only using this account to create your root account.
  9. Switch to the new root account and configure roles and assign permissions, see Setting up logins and users.
  10. Use the audit logs, or the KDC logs when using Kerberos, to verify that all applications can access the transactional nodes and have the permissions required to execute requests, see Log formats.
  11. In the dse.yaml, set authentication_options and authorization_options transitional_mode to disabled.
  12. Perform a rolling restart.