Resource Access Control Facility

RACF, [usually pronounced Rack-Eff] short for Resource Access Control Facility, is an IBM software product. It is a security system that provides access control and auditing functionality for the z/OS and z/VM operating systems. RACF was introduced in 1976.[1]

Its main features are:[1]

RACF establishes security policies rather than just permission records. It can set permissions for file patterns  that is, set the permissions even for files that do not yet exist. Those permissions are then used for the file (or other object) created at a later time .

RACF has continuously evolved[2] to support such modern security features as digital certificates/public key infrastructure services, LDAP interfaces, and case sensitive IDs/passwords. The latter is a reluctant concession to promote interoperability with other systems, such as Unix and Linux. The underlying zSeries (now z Systems) hardware works closely with RACF. For example, digital certificates are protected within tamper-proof cryptographic processors. Major mainframe subsystems, especially DB2 Version 8, use RACF to provide multi-level security (MLS).

Its primary competitors have been ACF2 and TopSecret, both now produced by CA, Inc.[3]


  1. 1 2 "IBM RACF". Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  2. "IBM RACF - The History of RACF". Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  3. Jeffrey Yost, "The Origin and Early History of the Computer Security Software Products Industry," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 37 no. 2 (2015): 46-58 doi

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