It seems to me we would like to use the same GroupMappingService interface that HDFS uses, so that by default the groups match up between the systems.
That's definitely the plan for
HBASE-3025, where a user's groups (as resolved by GroupMappingService) can also be used for permission assignments.
This issue proposes adding an additional layer of HBase persisted and manipulated roles, where a role can contain members who are:
This is more akin to PostgreSQL role management. You could then set say a "webapp" role that has certain access rights to a set of tables and add users or groups as needed. You can model the same thing with external groups and memberships, but recursive roles give a bit more flexibility to the policy definitions.