Install Alation Connector Manager

Customer Managed Applies to customer-managed instances of Alation

Applies from release 2020.3

General Information

On customer-managed installations (on-prem Alation instances), Alation Connector Manager and Open Connector Framework (OCF) connectors should be installed on the same host with the Alation application.

The Connector Manager and connectors are installed outside of the Alation chroot.


Installation of the OCF components on a remote host is not supported.

Alation Connector Manager installer is included into the Alation application package. However, the connectors are not. They will be provided for downloading by Alation upon request. Create a ticket with Alation Support to receive a download link for an out-of-the-box OCF connector.

The first step in deploying OCF on your Alation instance is installing Docker. After that, you can install Alation Connector Manager.

Software Dependency

The core software dependency for OCF is Docker. Steps to install Docker depend on your Alation version.

Use the Alation Container Service to install Docker.

The Alation Container Service gives admin users the ability to quickly install or update Docker on their Alation servers. The Alation Container Service is available for both Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Debian Linux-based systems.

Alation Connector Manager Packages

Alation Connector Manager installer is pre-packaged with the Alation application at /opt/alation/alation/opt/addons/hydra/. From outside of the Alation chroot, the following files can be found, depending on your Alation version:

  • /opt/alation/alation/opt/addons/hydra/hydra.deb or /opt/alation/alation/opt/addons/hydra/hydra-<version>.deb - a Debian package, x84-64, for installing on Debian distributions

  • /opt/alation/alation/opt/addons/hydra/hydra.rpm or /opt/alation/alation/opt/addons/hydra/hydra-<version>.rpm- a YUM package, x84-64, for installing on RHEL-based systems

  • /opt/alation/alation/opt/addons/hydra/hydra_docs.tar.gz or /opt/alation/alation/opt/addons/hydra/hydra_docs-<version>.tar.gz- An archived copy of documentation in the HTML format describing how to configure the Alation Connector Manager agent

  • /opt/alation/alation/opt/alation/bin/kratos - An executable binary used as a CLI to address the Alation Connector Manager agent

Use the installer package that is compatible with the OS of the host that you are installing on.

The RPM or DEB package will install Alation Connector Manager to /etc/hydra on the host, with the default configuration in /etc/hydra/hydra.toml.

After installation, the Alation Connector Manager Docker containers will include:

  • A Go program (agent) which manages the lifecycle of the installed OCF connectors;

  • An internal-only instance of NGINX. This instance is used as:

    • The TLS termination proxy;

    • The reverse proxy to the agent;

    • The gRPC reverse proxy to the OCF connectors.

The configuration and execution of NGINX is managed by the agent as an internal detail only and is not exposed to operators. Core parameters, such as ports and mTLS settings, are exposed via the configuration file of the agent only.

OS Requirements

ACM and OCF are supported on the operating systems supported by the Alation application.

Rootless Docker for ACM is supported on the following operating systems:

  • Debian 10

  • Fedora 35

  • Oracle Linux 7

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 8, 8.5, and 9

  • Ubuntu 20 and 22

Disk Space Considerations

Alation Connector Manager supports the notion of connectors with persistent state. As such, each connector that is instantiated on an Alation Connector Manager node is given its own storage on the file system. After installation, the container directory is located on the host operating system. Individual connectors have their personalized storage directory within their containers mounted to /storage.

Some connectors may demand more disk space than others. As a result, it is recommended that this directory be of a suitable size. It may be a good idea to make this directory backed by storage that is easily resizable.

The storage directory can be configured during Alation Connector Manager configuration stage in the Connector Manager configuration file using the parameter storage_directory.

Storage Requirements for OCF Connectors

Refer to the table below for examples of disk space recommendations for OCF connectors.


The Zip file with the connector can be deleted from the host after installation in order to free some disk space.


Package size (Zip)

After unpacking and installation

Power BI

139 MB

500 MB


127 MB

500 MB


122 MB

500 MB

Alation Connector Manager Installation


For the Alation host, make sure that the OS and disk space requirements for OCF are met.

STEP 1: Install Docker

To check if the host already has Docker installed:

docker -v

Use instructions appropriate to your version of Alation.

Use Alation Container Service to install Docker: Install Docker Using Alation Container Service

STEP 2: Install Alation Connector Manager

  1. Install Alation Connector Manager using the installation command appropriate for the operating system of the host. Run the installation command on the Alation host outside of the Alation chroot. The version is present in the file name starting with version 2022.2.

    • RHEL systems

      sudo yum -y install /opt/alation/alation/opt/addons/hydra/hydra-<version>.rpm
    • Debian systems

      sudo apt install /opt/alation/alation/opt/addons/hydra/hydra-<version>.deb
  2. (Optional) After installing Docker and ACM, you can convert your Docker installation to rootless mode on the following operating systems:

    • Debian 10

    • Fedora 35

    • Oracle Linux 7

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 8, 8.5, and 9

    • Ubuntu 20 and 22

    Alation provides a script for this purpose. The script will:

    • Create an installation of rootless Docker that’s owned by the currently running user.

    • Modify the Alation Connector Manager configuration file to be owned by the currently running user.

    • Migrate all installed connectors (if any) to the rootless Docker installation.

    • Add environment variables to the currently running user’s .bash_profile to ensure that they can control rootless Docker using the interactive shell in the future.

    To convert Docker to rootless mode:

    1. Start a new shell session as the user you intend to own the Docker installation. Use the whoami command to determine which user is currently logged in.


      Issues may occur if you attempt to log in as root and then change to a different user for the rootless installation. This is due to a technical constraint when building a UID mapping for the current running user. You must start a new shell session as the user you intend to own the Docker installation.

    2. Run the following script:

    3. To ensure you can interact with Docker in rootless mode, you need to load the modified .bash_profile. You can do this in one of the following ways:

      • By logging out of the currently running user and back in as that same user.

      • By running the source command against the profile:

        source ~/.bash_profile


    On Oracle Linux 7, do not start, stop, or restart the rootless Docker daemon manually or through systemctl. Doing so will start up a secondary Docker instance that is not rootless. This is due to a limitation on version 7 where the systemctl command does not support user-specific services.

    For Oracle Linux 7, Docker in rootless mode is managed entirely by the Alation Connector Manager itself. The command that starts Docker is given in step 4 below.

STEP 3: Configure Alation Connector Manager

After installing Alation Connector Manager, update its configuration file at /etc/hydra/hydra.toml to reflect your host environment.

To update the configuration:

If Docker is running as root:

  1. Open the hydra.toml file.

    sudo vi /etc/hydra/hydra.toml
  2. For a minimal configuration, uncomment the [agent] and address lines and change the address value to localhost:81.

  3. (Optional) If your network uses an Access Control List, see the Advanced Configuration below.

  4. Save the file.

Advanced Configuration

If your network is configured with an Access Control List, you may need to configure Alation Connector Manager to use the host network so it appears to be coming from the same host as Alation. To do this, add the following line under the [agent] section.


use_host_networking = true


For detailed information about configuration parameters and their values, you can refer to Alation Connector Manager configuration documentation that becomes available at /etc/hydra/docs.html after installing Alation Connector Manager.


In the future, every time you make and save changes to the configuration file, restart Alation Connector Manager.

STEP 4: Start Alation Connector Manager

After modifying and saving the Alation Connector Manager configuration file, start Alation Connector Manager and Docker.

  1. If Docker has not been started yet, start Docker:

    sudo systemctl start docker


    On Oracle Linux 7, you may need to enable Docker after starting it:

    sudo systemctl start docker
    sudo systemctl enable docker
  2. Start Alation Connector Manager outside of the Alation shell:

    sudo systemctl start hydra
  3. Verify that the agent has started:

    sudo docker ps

    Example output:


STEP 5: Configure Alation to Use Alation Connector Manager

  1. Enter the Alation shell:

    sudo /etc/init.d/alation shell
  2. Set the following alation_conf parameters:

    alation_conf alation.hydra_node.agent.hostname -s <value>
    alation_conf alation.hydra_node.agent.port -s <value>
    alation_conf alation.hydra_node.agent.tls_disabled -s <value>

    These parameters are set based on the parameter values in the Alation Connector Manager configuration file. No restart of any Alation services is required.




    Set to the value of the address parameter of the [agent] section in hydra.toml. For example, localhost.


    Set to the port number you have specified in the address parameter of the [agent] section in hydra.toml.

    For example, 81.


    Set to True.

    Default: False.

  3. Verify that the CLI tool alation_ypireti is operational:

    # still in the Alation shell:
    sudo su alation
    alation_ypireti list

As no OCF connectors have been installed yet, there is nothing to list the very first time this command is run. The output will look similar to the following:


Now that you have successfully installed Alation Connector Manager, you can proceed to install individual OCF connectors.

Installing OCF Connectors

Read next: Manage Connectors.