This section describes how NFSv4.1 interacts with the secure file permissions that Kerberos enables for the Qumulo Core file system.

For more information, see Qumulo File Permissions Overview on Qumulo Care.

Listing Permissions for Files

All files in the Qumulo file system have the following fields associated with them:

  • Owner
  • Group owner
  • Access control list (ACL)—a list of access control entries (ACEs)

These fields, stored in the metadata for a file or directory, determine the access permissions that a trustee or identity has to files.

For any file operation, the system checks the authenticated user against file permissions to determine whether the operation should be allowed. When you create a new file, the authenticated user becomes the owner of the new file.

In the following example, we create a file in a mount over NFS.

touch /mnt/mount_point/filename

To view the exact permissions metadata for this file, run the qq fs_file_get_attr command. For example:

$ qq fs_file_get_attr --path /filename
  "group_details": {
    "id_type": "NFS_GID",
    "id_value": "1000"
  "owner_details": {
    "id_type": "NFS_UID",
    "id_value": "1000"

To view the permissions configured in an ACL, run the qq fs_get_acl command. For example:

$ qq fs_get_acl --path /filename
Control: Present
Posix Special Permissions: None

Position  Trustee   Type     Flags  Rights
========  ========  =======  =====  ==============================
1         uid:1000  Allowed         Delete child, Read, Write file
2         gid:1000  Allowed         Delete child, Read, Write file
3         Everyone  Allowed         Read

Listing Security Identifiers (SIDs)

The SID is a globally unique identifier for a user or group object in a domain. For more information, see Security identifiers in the Microsoft documentation.

Because Qumulo’s Kerberos implementation requires AD, every user is also an Active Directory user. The domain controller (DC) has an equivalent mapping for AD users and SIDs. Qumulo uses LDAP to determine the AD-user ↔ SID mapping. For this reason, it is important to configure the Base DN for your cluster correctly.

Qumulo’s Kerberos implementation stores SIDs on disk for files that have Kerberos identities in the user, group, or ACL. When a user authenticates by using Kerberos and creates a file, Qumulo Core configures the user, group, and ACL automatically.

To set the identity for an AD user, you can modify the permissions for an existing file by using the chown or nfs4_setfacl command.

In the following example, the Kerberos-authenticated AD domain user AD\myusername creates a file over NFSv4.1 and the system gives an ACL response from the Qumulo Core REST API. The response contains an ACE entry for the owner and group owner of the user AD\myusername, with corresponding SIDs for both.

$ qq fs_get_acl --path /filename --json
  "aces": [{
    "trustee": {
      "name": "AD\\myusername",
      "sid": "S-1-5-21-4202559609-EXAMPLE158-3224923410-13507",
  }, {
    "trustee": {
      "name": "AD\\Domain Users",
      "sid": "S-1-5-21-4202559609-EXAMPLE158-3224923410-513",

Using Kerberos Principals

Although Qumulo stores SIDs on disk, SIDs appear rarely when you use NFSv4.1 on Linux systems. Instead, the system represents Kerberos identities as Kerberos principals. A Kerberos principal, a string in the <user@domain> or <group@domain> format, is easier to read.

Qumulo’s implementation of the SID ↔ Kerberos principal mapping uses the sAMAccountName field, which is always present and unique for all AD users and groups. The system forms the Kerberos principal by concatenating the name and domain in the <sAMAccountName>@<domain> format.

AD has fields with similar content but without the guarantee of uniqueness (such as the name, distinguishedName, CN, and servicePrincipalName). However, AD permits setting these fields to unrelated values. For this reason, it is unlikely but possible that certain environments use special values in these fields. Qumulo’s Kerberos implementation ignores these fields and uses only the value in the sAMAccountName field.

The following example shows how the system represents the SIDs from the previous example as Kerberos principals.

$ nfs4_getfacl filename

Although the system stores raw SIDs on disk, the nfs_getfacl command displays users and groups as Kerberos principals. This format is valid for setting identities on a file by using commands such as nfs4_setfacl, chown, and so on.

Understanding Kerberos Principal Caveats

This section explains some of the caveats of working with Kerberos principals.

Machine Account Object Names

When you work with machine accounts, AD stores the sAMAccountName as the object name and appends $ to it. If a client named myclient is joined to the domain, the name of the machine account object in Active Directory Users or Computers appears as myclient while the Kerberos principal representation over NFS appears as myclient$

This functionality is different from other account types in AD, where the object name usually matches the sAMAccountName exactly.

ID Mapping on Linux systems

Linux systems perform their own ID mapping separately from the Qumulo cluster ID mapping. Linux systems also use sAMAccountName as the AD user primary key when joined to an AD domain. However, Linux systems use CN when looking up groups. Thus, in groups where the sAMAccountName and CN don’t match (possibly due to edits by an administrator), a Linux system and Qumulo Core might understand differently the group that the Kerberos principal refers to.

Ensure the two fields are in sync to prevent the following possible scenarios:

  • An error appears when you configure the group.
  • Group configuration succeeds but the configured group is incorrect.

Unicode Characters in Kerberos Principals

For most standard Linux tools, Qumulo Core supports all arbitrary Unicode characters in Kerberos principals. However, we don’t recommend using the period (.) character in principals, except in the domain name.

Using the chown Tool With Kerberos

chown is a Linux tool that changes the owner or group owner for a file. You can generally use chown with Kerberos principals. On most Linux systems, chown requires the root user (sudo chown).

The AUTH_SYS Root User

AUTH_SYS has the concept of the root user. Using sudo on a Linux NFS client fills in 0 for the UID and GID. As long as the mounted export doesn’t root squash—maps a client’s UID 0 (root) to 65534 (nobody) or to another non-root user—the Linux client receives root permissions on the Qumulo file system, where the client can perform chown operations.

The Kerberos Root User

Kerberos doesn’t have the concept of the root user. However, you can still use it to run chown operations under the following conditions.

  • The ACL for the file must grant the CHANGE_OWNER privilege to an authenticated user.

  • The currently authenticated user must be a member of the destination group (if provided) or a member of the current group (if the group isn’t being modified).

If both conditions are true, a chown operation on files performed as a Kerberos user over NFSv4.1 succeeds. For example:

$ chown user3:group4 filename

Viewing the Owner and Group

The following examples show how to display user and group membership by using the ls -l and stat -c commands.

$ ls -l filename
-rw-r--r--    1 user3    group4         0 Jun  9 23:18 filename
$ stat -c '%U, %G' filename
user3, group4

Using the Linux ACL Editor

The Linux ACL Editor consists of the following tools:

  • nfs4_editfacl
  • nfs4_getfacl
  • nfs4_setfacl

You can use the editor to read and write ACLs on a Qumulo cluster that uses NFSv4.1 with Kerberos. For more information, see Managing File Access Permissions by Using NFSv4.1 Access Control Lists (ACLs).