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Sidecar S3 Gateway

Pachyderm offers the option to use S3-Protocol-Enabled Pipelines (i.e., Pipelines enabled to access input and output repos via the S3 Gateway).

This is useful when your pipeline code wants to interact with input and/or output data through the S3 protocol. For example, running Kubeflow or Apacheā„¢ Spark with Pachyderm.


Note that this use case of the S3 Gateway differs from the Global use case. The latter runs directly on the pachd pod and exists independently and outside of any pipeline lifecycle. The "Sidecar S3 Gateway" (also referred to as "S3 Enabled Pipelines"), on the other hand, is a separate S3 gateway instance running in a sidecar container in the pipeline worker pod.

Maintaining data provenance

For example, if a Kubeflow pipeline were to read and write data from a Pachyderm repo directly through the global S3 gateway, Pachyderm would not be able to maintain data provenance (the alteration of the data in the updated repo could not be traced back to any given job/input commit).

Using an S3-enabled pipeline, Pachyderm will control the flow and the same Kubeflow code will now be part of Pachyderm's job execution, thus maintaining proper data provenance.

The S3 gateway sidecar instance is created together with the pipeline and shut down when the pipeline is destroyed.

The following diagram shows communication between the S3 gateway deployed in a sidecar and the Kubeflow pod.

Kubeflow S3 gateway

S3 Enable your Pipeline

Enable your pipeline to use the Sidecar S3 Gateway by following those simple steps:

  • Input repos:

    Set the s3 parameter in the input section of your pipeline specification to true. When enabled, input repositories are exposed as S3 Buckets via the S3 gateway sidecar instance instead of local /pfs/ files. You can set this property for each PFS input in a pipeline. The address of the input repository will be s3://<input_repo_name> (i.e., the field in your pipeline spec).

  • Output repo:

    You can also expose the output repository through the same S3 gateway instance by setting the s3_out property to true in the root of the pipeline spec. If set to true, the output repository is exposed as an S3 Bucket via the same S3 gateway instance instead of writing in /pfs/out. The address of the output repository will be s3://out


The user code is responsible to:

  • provide its own S3 client package as part of the image (boto3).
  • read and write in the S3 Buckets exposed to the pipeline.
  • To access the sidecar instance and a bucket, you should use the S3_ENDPOINT environment variable (see example below). No authentication is needed; you can only read the input bucket and write in the output bucket.
    aws --endpoint-url $S3_ENDPOINT s3 cp /tmp/result/ s3://out --recursive

The following JSON is an example of an S3 enabled pipeline spec (input and output over S3). To keep it simple, it reads files in the input bucket labresults and copies them in the pipeline's output bucket:

  "pipeline": {
    "name": "s3_protocol_enabled_pipeline"
  "input": {
    "pfs": {
      "glob": "/",
      "repo": "labresults",
      "name": "labresults",
      "s3": true
  "transform": {
    "cmd": [ "sh" ],
    "stdin": [ "set -x && mkdir -p /tmp/result && aws --endpoint-url $S3_ENDPOINT s3 ls && aws --endpoint-url $S3_ENDPOINT s3 cp s3://labresults/ /tmp/result/ --recursive && aws --endpoint-url $S3_ENDPOINT s3 cp /tmp/result/ s3://out --recursive" ],
    "image": "pachyderm/ubuntu-with-s3-clients:v0.0.1"
  "s3_out": true


S3 enabled Pipelines have the following constraints and specificities:

  • The glob field in the pipeline must be set to "glob": "/". All files are processed as a single datum. In this configuration, already processed datums are not skipped which could be an important performance consideration for some processing steps.

  • Join, group, and union inputs are not supported, but you can create a cross.

  • You can create a cross of an S3-enabled input with a non-S3 input. For a non-S3 input in such a cross, you can still specify a glob pattern.

  • Statistics collection for S3-enabled pipelines is not supported. If you set "s3_out": true, you need to disable the enable_stats parameter in your pipeline.

  • As in standard Pachyderm pipelines in which input repo are read-only and output repo writable, input bucket(s) are read-only, and the output bucket is initially empty and writable.

Last update: May 5, 2021
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