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Version: 0.13.1

Policies Guide


DataHub provides the ability to declare fine-grained access control Policies via the UI & GraphQL API. Access policies in DataHub define who can do what to which resources. A few policies in plain English include

  • Dataset Owners should be allowed to edit documentation, but not Tags.
  • Jenny, our Data Steward, should be allowed to edit Tags for any Dashboard, but no other metadata.
  • James, a Data Analyst, should be allowed to edit the Links for a specific Data Pipeline he is a downstream consumer of.
  • The Data Platform team should be allowed to manage users & groups, view platform analytics, & manage policies themselves.

In this document, we'll take a deeper look at DataHub Policies & how to use them effectively.

What is a Policy?

There are 2 types of Policy within DataHub:

  1. Platform Policies
  2. Metadata Policies

We'll briefly describe each.

Platform Policies

Platform policies determine who has platform-level privileges on DataHub. These privileges include

  • Managing Users & Groups
  • Viewing the DataHub Analytics Page
  • Managing Policies themselves

Platform policies can be broken down into 2 parts:

  1. Actors: Who the policy applies to (Users or Groups)
  2. Privileges: Which privileges should be assigned to the Actors (e.g. "View Analytics")

Note that platform policies do not include a specific "target resource" against which the Policies apply. Instead, they simply serve to assign specific privileges to DataHub users and groups.

Metadata Policies

Metadata policies determine who can do what to which Metadata Entities. For example,

  • Who can edit Dataset Documentation & Links?
  • Who can add Owners to a Chart?
  • Who can add Tags to a Dashboard?

and so on.

A Metadata Policy can be broken down into 3 parts:

  1. Actors: The 'who'. Specific users, groups that the policy applies to.
  2. Privileges: The 'what'. What actions are being permitted by a policy, e.g. "Add Tags".
  3. Resources: The 'which'. Resources that the policy applies to, e.g. "All Datasets".


We currently support 3 ways to define the set of actors the policy applies to: a) list of users b) list of groups, and c) owners of the entity. You also have the option to apply the policy to all users or groups.


Check out the list of privileges here . Note, the privileges are semantic by nature, and does not tie in 1-to-1 with the aspect model.

All edits on the UI are covered by a privilege, to make sure we have the ability to restrict write access.

We currently support the following:

Platform-level privileges for DataHub operators to access & manage the administrative functionality of the system.

Platform PrivilegesDescription
Manage PoliciesAllow actor to create and remove access control policies. Be careful - Actors with this privilege are effectively super users.
Manage Metadata IngestionAllow actor to create, remove, and update Metadata Ingestion sources.
Manage SecretsAllow actor to create & remove secrets stored inside DataHub.
Manage Users & GroupsAllow actor to create, remove, and update users and groups on DataHub.
Manage All Access TokensAllow actor to create, remove, and list access tokens for all users on DataHub.
Create DomainsAllow the actor to create new Domains
Manage DomainsAllow actor to create and remove any Domains.
View AnalyticsAllow the actor access to the DataHub analytics dashboard.
Generate Personal Access TokensAllow the actor to generate access tokens for personal use with DataHub APIs.
Manage User CredentialsAllow the actor to generate invite links for new native DataHub users, and password reset links for existing native users.
Manage GlossariesAllow the actor to create, edit, move, and delete Glossary Terms and Term Groups
Create TagsAllow the actor to create new Tags
Manage TagsAllow the actor to create and remove any Tags
Manage Public ViewsAllow the actor to create, edit, and remove any public (shared) Views.
Restore Indices API1Allow the actor to restore indices for a set of entities via API
Enable/Disable Writeability API1Allow the actor to enable or disable GMS writeability for use in data migrations
Apply Retention API1Allow the actor to apply aspect retention via API

Common metadata privileges to view & modify any entity within DataHub.

Common PrivilegesDescription
View Entity PageAllow actor to access the entity page for the resource in the UI. If not granted, it will redirect them to an unauthorized page. Additionally if the actor does not have this view privilege, the entity will be removed from search results.
Edit TagsAllow actor to add and remove tags to an asset.
Edit Glossary TermsAllow actor to add and remove glossary terms to an asset.
Edit OwnersAllow actor to add and remove owners of an entity.
Edit DescriptionAllow actor to edit the description (documentation) of an entity.
Edit LinksAllow actor to edit links associated with an entity.
Edit StatusAllow actor to edit the status of an entity (soft deleted or not).
Edit DomainAllow actor to edit the Domain of an entity.
Edit DeprecationAllow actor to edit the Deprecation status of an entity.
Edit AssertionsAllow actor to add and remove assertions from an entity.
Edit IncidentsAllow actor to raise and resolve incidents for an entity.
Edit AllAllow actor to edit any information about an entity. Super user privileges. Controls the ability to ingest using API when REST API Authorization is enabled.
Get Timeline API1Allow actor to get the timeline of an entity via API.
Get Entity API1Allow actor to get an entity via API.
Get Timeseries Aspect API1Allow actor to get a timeseries aspect via API.
Get Aspect/Entity Count APIs1Allow actor to get aspect and entity counts via API.
Search API1Allow actor to search for entities via API.
Produce Platform Event API1Allow actor to ingest a platform event via API.
Explain ElasticSearch Query API1Allow actor to explain an ElasticSearch query.
Create EntityAllow creation of the entity if it doesn't already exist.
Entity ExistsAllow checking the existence of the entity without any additional access to the entity's data.

Specific entity-level privileges that are not generalizable.

DatasetEdit Dataset Column TagsAllow actor to edit the column (field) tags associated with a dataset schema.
DatasetEdit Dataset Column Glossary TermsAllow actor to edit the column (field) glossary terms associated with a dataset schema.
DatasetEdit Dataset Column DescriptionsAllow actor to edit the column (field) descriptions associated with a dataset schema.
DatasetView Dataset UsageAllow actor to access usage metadata about a dataset both in the UI and in the GraphQL API. This includes example queries, number of queries, etc. Also applies to REST APIs when REST API Authorization is enabled.
DatasetView Dataset ProfileAllow actor to access a dataset's profile both in the UI and in the GraphQL API. This includes snapshot statistics like #rows, #columns, null percentage per field, etc.
TagEdit Tag ColorAllow actor to change the color of a Tag.
GroupEdit Group MembersAllow actor to add and remove members to a group.
UserEdit User ProfileAllow actor to change the user's profile including display name, bio, title, profile image, etc.
User + GroupEdit Contact InformationAllow actor to change the contact information such as email & chat handles.
GlossaryNodeManage Direct Glossary ChildrenAllow the actor to create, edit, and delete the direct children of the selected entities.
GlossaryNodeManage All Glossary ChildrenAllow the actor to create, edit, and delete everything underneath the selected entities.


Resource filter defines the set of resources that the policy applies to is defined using a list of criteria. Each criterion defines a field type (like type, urn, domain), a list of field values to compare, and a condition (like EQUALS). It essentially checks whether the field of a certain resource matches any of the input values. Note, that if there are no criteria or resource is not set, policy is applied to ALL resources.

For example, the following resource filter will apply the policy to datasets, charts, and dashboards under domain 1.

"resources": {
"filter": {
"criteria": [
"field": "TYPE",
"condition": "EQUALS",
"values": [
"field": "DOMAIN",
"values": [
"condition": "EQUALS"

Where resources is inside the info aspect of a Policy.

Supported fields are as follows

Field TypeDescriptionExample
typeType of the resourcedataset, chart, dataJob
urnUrn of the resourceurn:li:dataset:...
domainDomain of the resourceurn:li:domain:domainX

Managing Policies

Policies can be managed on the page Settings > Permissions > Policies page. The Policies tab will only be visible to those users having the Manage Policies privilege.

Out of the box, DataHub is deployed with a set of pre-baked Policies. The set of default policies are created at deploy time and can be found inside the policies.json file within metadata-service/war/src/main/resources/boot. This set of policies serves the following purposes:

  1. Assigns immutable super-user privileges for the root datahub user account (Immutable)
  2. Assigns all Platform privileges for all Users by default (Editable)

The reason for #1 is to prevent people from accidentally deleting all policies and getting locked out (datahub super user account can be a backup) The reason for #2 is to permit administrators to log in via OIDC or another means outside of the datahub root account when they are bootstrapping with DataHub. This way, those setting up DataHub can start managing policies without friction. Note that these privilege can and likely should be altered inside the Policies page of the UI.

Pro-Tip: To login using the datahub account, simply navigate to <your-datahub-domain>/login and enter datahub, datahub. Note that the password can be customized for your deployment by changing the user.props file within the datahub-frontend module. Notice that JaaS authentication must be enabled.


By default, the Policies feature is enabled. This means that the deployment will support creating, editing, removing, and most importantly enforcing fine-grained access policies.

In some cases, these capabilities are not desirable. For example, if your company's users are already used to having free reign, you may want to keep it that way. Or perhaps it is only your Data Platform team who actively uses DataHub, in which case Policies may be overkill.

For these scenarios, we've provided a back door to disable Policies in your deployment of DataHub. This will completely hide the policies management UI and by default will allow all actions on the platform. It will be as though each user has all privileges, both of the Platform & Metadata flavor.

To disable Policies, you can simply set the AUTH_POLICIES_ENABLED environment variable for the datahub-gms service container to false. For example in your docker/datahub-gms/docker.env, you'd place


REST API Authorization

Policies only affect REST APIs when the environment variable REST_API_AUTHORIZATION is set to true for GMS. Some policies only apply when this setting is enabled, marked above, and other Metadata and Platform policies apply to the APIs where relevant, also specified in the table above.

Coming Soon

The DataHub team is hard at work trying to improve the Policies feature. We are planning on building out the following:

  • Hide edit action buttons on Entity pages to reflect user privileges

Under consideration

  • Ability to define Metadata Policies against multiple reosurces scoped to particular "Containers" (e.g. A "schema", "database", or "collection")

Feedback / Questions / Concerns

We want to hear from you! For any inquiries, including Feedback, Questions, or Concerns, reach out on Slack!

  1. Only active if REST_API_AUTHORIZATION_ENABLED is true