New Security Features - OrientDB


The new security features in OrientDB (introduced in release 2.2) provide an extensible framework for adding external authenticators, password validation, LDAP import of database roles and users, advanced auditing capabilities, and syslog support.

The new security system uses a JSON configuration file, located in the config directory. The default name of the file is security.json, but it can be overridden by setting the "" property in orientdb-server-config.xml or by setting the global server property, "".

To see the complete configuration options, click here: Security Configuration.


In addition to the built-in authentication of users that happens inside the database engine, the new OrientDB security system supports multiple types of external authenticators. Each authenticator implements various methods to support authentication and authorization, among other things.

All authenticators can be configured in the "authentication" section of the security configuration.

Current Implementations

Currently, OrientDB provides a Kerberos authenticator, a password authenticator for authenticating users in the security.json file, a server config authenticator for authenticating users in the orientdb-server-config.xml file, and a symmetric key authenticator (Enterprise-only). Additional authenticators may be provided in the future, and it's very easy to build new ones.


This authenticator provides support for Kerberos authentication and full browser SPNEGO support. See the security configuration page for full details on configuring this authenticator for Kerberos.

Also, see Kerberos client examples to see how to use the OrientDB clients with Kerberos.


The ODefaultPasswordAuthenticator supports adding server users with passwords and resources to the security.json configuration file. The main purpose of this is to allow having server users in a single file (along with all the other security settings) without having to maintain them in the separate orientdb-server-config.xml file. See the example in the security configuration page.


The OServerConfigAuthenticator is similar to ODefaultPasswordAuthenticator in that it supports server users with passwords and resources, but it's designed to be used with the users in the orientdb-server-config.xml configuration file instead.


The OSystemUserAuthenticator supports the new system user type that's stored in the system database.

Symmetric Key Authenticator

The Symmetric Key Authenticator provides support for authenticating users via a shared symmetric key.

There are two versions of the Symmetric Key Authenticator, one that enables authenticating server users and one that enables authenticating system users.

Chaining Authenticators

What's important to note is that the authenticators can be thought of as being chained together so that if the first authenticator in the list fails to authenticate a user, then the next authenticator in the chain is tried. This continues until either a user is successfully authenticated or all authenticators are tried. This "chaining of authenticators" is used for authentication, authorization, retrieving HTTP authentication headers, and several other security features.

Default Authentication

As mentioned previously, OrientDB has a built-in authentication system for each database, and it is enabled by default. To disable it, set the "allowDefault" property in the "authentication" section of the security.json configuration to false. When enabled, the built-in authentication acts as a "fallback" if the external authenticators cannot authenticate or authorize a user.

Password Validator

Another new feature of the security system is a customizable password validator. The provided validator is called ODefaultPasswordValidator that, when enabled, validates user-chosen passwords based on minimum length and regular expressions. Which numbers, uppercase letters, and special characters are permitted along with their required count is specified by a regular expression for each. Like all the security components, the password validator can be extended or completely replaced with a custom password validator component.

See the security configuration page for details on how to configure the password validator.

LDAP Import

Another often-requested feature, importing of LDAP users, is now available as part of OrientDB. Each database can be configured to import from multiple LDAP domains, each domain may specify multiple LDAP servers, and the users and their corresponding roles can be specified per-domain using a standard LDAP filter.

The security configuration page explains in great details all the options for the default LDAP importer.


Enhancements to the auditing component have also been made. The audit log now supports monitoring of a class being created and dropped as well as when distributed nodes join and leave the cluster. Additionally, for operating systems that support syslog, a new syslog plug-in has been added for recording auditing events.

See the security configuration page for details on auditing properties.


The new security system supports dynamic reloading by an HTTP POST request. The path to the configuration file to use is provided as JSON content. The provided credentials must have sufficient privileges to reload the security module.

Here's an example using curl with basic authentication:

curl -u root:password -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X POST -d '{ "configFile" : "${ORIENTDB_HOME}/config/security.json" }'  servername:2480/security/reload

Here's another example using curl using Kerberos/SPNEGO authentication:

curl --negotiate -u : -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X POST -d '{ "configFile" : "${ORIENTDB_HOME}/config/security.json" }'  servername:2480/security/reload

Notice the passed-in JSON "configFile" property. Any valid security configuration file may be specified here, making testing multiple configurations possible.

Reloading Individual Components

Instead of reloading the entire security system, it's also possible to reload individual security components.

Here's an example using curl with basic authentication:

curl -u root:password -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X POST -d '{ "module" : "auditing", "config" : "{ACTUAL JSON CONTENT}" }'  servername:2480/security/reload

Notice, instead of specifying "configFile" you use "config" and the "module" property.

Currently, you can reload the following security components:

  • server
  • authentication
  • passwordValidator
  • ldapImporter
  • auditing

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