Learn about the concept of a repository.

May 26, 2023

Definition #

A Pachyderm repository is a location where you store your data inside Pachyderm. It is a top-level data object that contains files and folders.

Similar to Git, a Pachyderm repository tracks all changes to the data and creates a history of data modifications that you can access and review.


You can store any type of file in a Pachyderm repo, including binary and plain text files.

Unlike a Git repository that stores history in a .git file in your copy of a Git repo, Pachyderm stores the history of your commits in a centralized location. Because of that, you do not run into merge conflicts as you often do with Git commits when you try to merge your .git history with the master copy of the repo. With large datatsets resolving a merge conflict might not be possible.

A Pachyderm repository is the first entity that you configure when you want to add data to Pachyderm. You can create a repository with the pachctl create repo command, or by using one of Pachyderm’s client API. After creating the repository, add your data by using the pachctl put file command.


A Pachyderm repo name can include alphanumeric characters, dashes, and underscores, and should be no more than 63 characters long.

Pachyderm’s repositories are divided into two categories:

  1. User repositories

    User repositories keep track of your data one commit at a time. They further split into:

    • Source repositories

      Users or external applications outside of Pachyderm can add data to the source repositories for further processing.

    • Output repositories

      Pachyderm automatically creates an output repository at the end of a pipeline for the pipeline to write the results of its transformations into. An output repository might serve as input for another pipeline.

  2. System repositories

    System repositories hold certain auxiliary information about pipelines. They are hidden by default in the output of most commands. Along with an output repo, the creation of a pipeline also creates one spec and one meta repo.

    • spec repositories hold pipeline specification files
    • meta repositories hold metadata related to datum processing (also called “stats” in this documentation)

    Pipelines generally manage their own system repos, but if necessary, the system repos for a pipeline named edges can be referenced using edges.meta and edges.spec wherever you would usually put a repo name. Deleting a user repo deletes any associated system repos.

List Your Repos #

You can view the list of all user repositories in your Pachyderm cluster by running the pachctl list repo command.

Example #

pachctl list repo

System Response:

montage    19 hours ago 1.664MiB      [repoOwner]  Output repo for pipeline montage.
edges      19 hours ago 133.6KiB      [repoOwner]  Output repo for pipeline edges.
images     19 hours ago 238.3KiB      [repoOwner]

Additionally, pachctl list repo --all will let you see all repos of all types, and pachctl list repo --type=spec or pachctl list repo --type=meta will filter the spec or meta repos only.

Inspect a Repo #

The pachctl inspect repo command provides a more detailed overview of a specified repository.

Example #

pachctl inspect repo raw_data

System Response:

Name: raw_data
Description: A raw data repository
Created: 6 hours ago
Size of HEAD on master: 5.121MiB

Add a --raw flag to output a more detailed JSON version of the repo’s metadata.

Delete a Repo #

If you need to delete a repository, you can run the pachctl delete repo command. This command deletes all data and the information about the specified repository, such as commit history. The delete operation is irreversible and results in a complete cleanup of your Pachyderm cluster. If you run the delete command with the --all flag, all repositories will be deleted.


See Also: Pipeline