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Config Specification

This document outlines the fields in pachyderm configs. This should act as a reference. If you wish to change a config value, you should do so via pachctl config.

JSON format

  "user_id": string,
  "v2": {
    "active_context": string,
    "contexts": {
      string: {
        "source": int,
        "pachd_address": string,
        "server_cas": string,
        "session_token": string,
        "active_transaction": string,
        "cluster_name": string,
        "auth_info": string,
        "namspace": string,
        "cluster_id": string,
        "port_forwarders": {
          service_name: int,
    "metrics": bool

If a field is not set, it will be omitted from JSON entirely. Following is an example of a simple config:

  "user_id": "514cbe16-e615-46fe-92d9-3156f12885d7",
  "v2": {
    "active_context": "default",
    "contexts": {
      "default": {}
    "metrics": true

Following is a walk-through of all the fields.

User ID

A UUID giving a unique ID for this user for metrics.


Whether metrics is enabled.

Active Context

v2.active_context specifies the name of the currently actively pachyderm context, as specified in v2.contexts.


A map of context names to their configurations. Pachyderm contexts are akin to kubernetes contexts (and in fact reference the kubernetes context that they're associated with.)


An integer that specifies where the config came from. This parameter is for internal use only and should not be modified.

Pachd Address

A host:port specification for connecting to pachd. If this is set, pachyderm will directly connect to the cluster, rather than resorting to kubernetes' port forwarding. If you can set this (because there's no firewall between you and the cluster), you should, as kubernetes' port forwarder is not designed to handle large amounts of data.

Server CAs

Trusted root certificates for the cluster, formatted as a base64-encoded PEM. This is only set when TLS is enabled.

Session token

A secret token identifying the current pachctl user within their pachyderm cluster. This is included in all RPCs sent by pachctl, and used to determine if pachctl actions are authorized. This is only set when auth is enabled.

Active transaction

The currently active transaction for batching together pachctl commands. This can be set or cleared via many of the pachctl * transaction commands.

Cluster name

The name of the underlying Kubernetes cluster, extracted from the Kubernetes context.

Auth info

The name of the underlying Kubernetes cluster's auth credentials, extracted from the Kubernetes context.


The underlying Kubernetes cluster's namespace, extracted from the Kubernetes context.

Cluster ID

The pachyderm cluster ID that is used to ensure the operations run on the expected cluster.

Port forwarders

A mapping of service name -> local port. This field is populated when you run explicit port forwarding (pachctl port-forward), so that subsequent pachctl operations know to use the explicit port forwarder.

This field is removed when the pachctl port-forward operation completes. You might need to manually delete the field from your config if the process failed to remove the field automatically.

Last update: January 5, 2021
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