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This guide walks you through an example of using Pachyderm's SAML support, including the following:

  1. Activate Pachyderm enterprise and Pachyderm auth.
  2. Configure Pachyderm's auth system to enable its SAML ACS, receive SAML assertions, and allow you to log in by using the Okta® access management software.
  3. Log in to both the dash and CLI.


Although this section describes how to enable SAML with Okta, you can configure Okta with OIDC with a corresponding OIDC auth config.


When starting out, we highly recommend running Pachyderm in Minikube, as mistakes in this configuration could lock you out of your cluster.

To activate Pachyderm enterprise and Pachyderm auth:

pachctl enterprise activate <enterprise code>
pachctl auth activate --initial-admin=robot:admin

At this point, Pachyderm is ready to authenticate & authorize users.

What the --initial-admin flag does is this: 1. Pachyderm requires there to be at least one cluster admin if auth is activated 2. Pachyderm's authentication is built around GitHub by default. Without this flag, Pachyderm asks the caller to go through an OAuth flow with GitHub, and then at the conclusion, makes the caller the cluster admin. Then whoever activated Pachyderm's auth system can modify it by re-authenticating via GitHub and performing any necessary actions 3. To avoid the OAuth flow, though, it's also possible to make the initial cluster admin a "robot user". This is what --initial-admin=robot:<something> does. 4. Pachyderm will print out a Pachyderm token that authenticates the holder as this robot user. At any point, you can authenticate as this robot user by running the following command:

pachctl auth use-auth-token

System response:

Please paste your Pachyderm auth token:
<paste robot token emitted by "pachctl auth activate --initial-admin=robot:admin">
# you are now robot:admin, cluster administrator

The rest of this example assumes that your Pachyderm cluster is running in minikube, and you're accessing it via pachctl's port forwarding. Many of the SAML service provider URLs below are set to some variation of localhost, which will only work if you're using port forwarding and your browser is able to access Pachyderm via localhost on the port forwarder's usual ports.

Create IdP test app

The ID provider (IdP) that this example uses is Okta. Here is an example configuration for an Okta test app that authenticates Okta users with Pachyderm:

Okta test app config

Once created, you can get the IdP Metadata URL associated with the test Okta app here:

Metadata image

Write Pachyderm config

Broadly, setting an auth config is what enables SAML in Pachyderm (specifically, it enables Pachyderm's ACS). Below is an example config that will allow users to authenticate in your Pachyderm cluster using the Okta app above. Note that this example assumes

# Lookup current config version--pachyderm config has a barrier to prevent
# read-modify-write conflicts between admins
live_config_version="$(pachctl auth get-config | jq .live_config_version)"
# Set the Pachyderm config
pachctl auth set-config <<EOF
  # prevent read-modify-write conflicts by explicitly specifying live version
  "live_config_version": ${live_config_version},
  "id_providers": [
      "name": "okta",
      "description": "Okta test app",
      "saml": {
        "metadata_url": <okta app metadata URL>,
        "group_attribute": "memberOf" # optional: enable group support
  "saml_svc_options": {
    # These URLs work if using pachctl port-forward
    "acs_url": "http://localhost:30654/saml/acs",
    "metadata_url": "http://localhost:30654/saml/metadata",
    "dash_url": "http://localhost:30080/auth/autologin",

Logging In

Currently Pachyderm only supports IdP-initiated authentication. To proceed, configure your Okta app to point to the Pachyderm ACS (http://localhost:30654/saml/acs if using pachctl's port forwarding), then sign in via the new Okta app in your Okta dashboard.

After clicking on the test Okta app, your browser will do a SAML authentication handshake with your pachyderm cluster, and you will arrive at your Pachyderm dashboard fully authenticated. To log in with the Pachyderm CLI, get a One-Time Password from the Pachyderm dash, and then run pachctl auth login --code=<one-time password> in your terminal.


If your SAML ID provider supports setting group attributes, you can use groups to manage access in Pachyderm with the "group_attribute" in the IDProvider field of the auth config:

pachctl auth set-config <<EOF
  "id_providers": [
      "saml": {
        "group_attribute": "memberOf"

Then, try:

pachctl create repo group-test
pachctl put file group-test@master -f some-data.txt
pachctl auth set group/saml:"Test Group" reader group-test


pachctl auth login --code=<auth code>
pachctl get file group-test@master:some-data.txt # should work for members of "Test Group"

Last update: January 5, 2021
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