Skip to main content

Pentaho+ documentation has moved!

The new product documentation portal is here. Check it out now at


Hitachi Vantara Lumada and Pentaho Documentation

Virtual file system browser

Parent article

This section describes the use of the virtual file system (VFS) browser for transformation steps and job entries.

Using the virtual file system browser in PDI

In some transformation steps and job entries, you can use the virtual file system (VFS) browser instead of the local file system browser. With the VFS file browser, you can specify a VFS URL instead of a typical local path. The files are accessed using HTTP and the URLs contain schema data that identify the protocol to use. Your files can be local or remote and reside in compressed formats such as TAR and ZIP. For more information, see the Apache Commons VFS documentation.

Perform the following steps to access your files with the VFS browser:


  1. Select File Open URL in the PDI client to open the VFS browser.

    The Open File dialog box opens.

    VFS browser

  2. In the Location field, select the type of file system. The following file systems are supported.

    • Local: Opens files on your local machine. Use the folders in the Name panel of the Open File dialog box to select a resource.
    • Hadoop Cluster: Opens files on any Hadoop cluster except S3. Click the Hadoop Cluster drop-down box to select your cluster, then the resource you want to access.
    • S3: Simple Storage Service (S3) accesses the resources on Amazon Web Services. For instructions on setting up AWS credentials, see

      Working with AWS Credentials.

    • HDFS: Opens files on any Hadoop distributed file system except MapR. Select your desired cluster for the Hadoop Cluster option, then select the resource you want to access.
    • MapRFS: Opens files on the MapR file system. Use the folders in the Name panel of the Open File dialog box to select a MapR resource.
    • Google Cloud Storage: Opens files on the Google Cloud Storage file system.
    • Google Drive: Opens files on the Google file system. You must configure PDI to access the Google file system. See Access to a Google Drive for more information.
    • HCP: Opens files on the Hitachi Content Platform. You must configure HCP and PDI before accessing the platform. See Access to HCP for more information.
    • Snowflake Staging: Opens files from a staging area used by Snowflake to load files.
  3. In the Open from Folder field, enter the VFS URL.

    The following addresses are VFS URL examples for the Open from Folder field:

    • Local:
    • S3: s3n://s3n/(s3_bucket_name)/(absolute_path_to_file)
    • HDFS: hdfs://myusername:mypassword@mynamenode:port/path

Access to a Google Drive

Perform the following set up steps to initially access your Google Drive:


  1. Turn on the Google Drive API. Follow the "Step 1" procedure in the article "Build your first Drive app (Java)" located in Google Drive APIs documentation.

    The credentials.json file is created.
  2. Rename the credentials.json file to client_secret.json. Copy the renamed file into the data-integration/plugins/pentaho-googledrive-vfs/credentials directory.

  3. Restart PDI. The Google Drive option will not appear as a Location until you copy the client_secret.json file into the credentials directory and restart PDI.

  4. Select Google Drive as your Location in the VFS browser. You are prompted to log in to your Google account.

  5. Enter you Google account credentials and log in. The Google Drive permission screen displays.

  6. Click Allow to access your Google Drive Resources.


After this initialization, Pentaho stores a security token called StoredCredential in the data-integration/plugins/pentaho-googledrive-vfs/credentials directory. With this token, you can access your Google Drive resources whenever you log in to your Google account. If this security token is ever deleted, you will be prompted again to log in to your Google account after restarting PDI. If you ever change your Google account permissions, you must delete the token and repeat the above steps to generate a new token.

NoteIf you want to access your Google Drive via a transformation running directly on your Pentaho Server, copy the StoredCredential and the client_secret.json files into the pentaho-server/pentaho-solutions/system/kettle/plugins/pentaho-googledrive-vfs/credentials directory on your Pentaho Server.

Access to Google Cloud

To access Google cloud from PDI, you must have a Google account and service account credentials in the form of a JSON format key file. Additionally, you must set permissions for your Google Cloud accounts. To create service account credentials, see

Perform the following steps to set up your system to use Google Cloud storage:


  1. Download the service account credentials file that you have created using the Google API Console to your local machine.

  2. Create a new system environmental variable on your operating system named GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS.

  3. Set the path to the downloaded JSON service account credentials file as the value of the GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS variable.


You are now ready to access files from the Google Cloud Storage file system in PDI.

Access to HCP

Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) is a distributed storage system that can be used with the VFS browser.

Within HCP, access control lists (ACLs) grant the user privileges to perform a variety of file operations. Namespaces, owned and managed by tenants, are used for logical groupings, access and permissions, as well as object metadata such as retention and shred settings. For more information about HCP, see the Introduction to Hitachi Content Platform.

Set up access to HCP

Perform the following steps to setup access to HCP:
NoteThe process below assumes that you have HCP tenant permissions and that namespaces have been created. For more information, see Tenant Management Console.


  1. Log on to the HCP Tenant Management Console.

  2. Click Namespaces and then select the Name you want to configure.HCP Tenant Management Console

  3. In the Protocols tab, click HTTP(S), and verify Enable HTTPS and Enable REST API with Authenticated access only are selected.

  4. In the Settings tab, select ACLs.

  5. Select the Enable ACLs check box and, when prompted, click Enable ACLs to confirm.


This completes the setup of HCP. Next, set up the credentials.

Set up HCP credentials

Perform the following steps to set up credentialing:


  1. Depending on the operating system, create the following subdirectory in the user’s home directory:

    • Linux: ~/.hcp/
    • Windows: C:\Users\username\.hcp\
  2. Create a file named credentials and save it to the \.hcp directory.

  3. Open the credentials file then add the parameters and values shown below:


    Insert the HCP namespace username and password, and change accept_self_signed_certificates to true if you want to enable a security bypass.

    NoteYou can also use obfuscated or encrypted usernames and passwords.
  4. Save and close the file.

  5. For the Pentaho Server setup, stop and start the server.


This completes the setup for VFS browser access to HCP.

Set up a VFS connection in PDI

A virtual file system (VFS) connection is a stored set of VFS properties that you can use to connect to a specific file system. In PDI, you can add a VFS connection and then reference that connection whenever you want to use VFS to access your Snowflake staging area, Hitachi Content Platform, or Google Cloud Storage. For example, you can use the VFS connection for HCP in any of the HCP transformation steps without the need to repeatedly enter your credentialing information for data access.
NoteA VFS connection to HCP is required to use the HCP transformation steps in PDI.

After you create a new VFS connection, you can use it with select PDI steps and entries that use the VFS browser. The VFS connection is saved in the repository. If you are not connected to a repository, the connection is saved locally on the machine where it was created.

Perform the following steps to set up a VFS connection in PDI:


  1. Start the PDI client (Spoon) and create a new transformation or job.

  2. In the View tab of the Explorer pane, right-click on the VFS Connections folder, and then click New.

    The New VFS connection dialog box opens.New VFS connection dialog box
  3. In the Connection name field, enter a name that uniquely describes this connection.

    The name can contain spaces, but it cannot include special characters, such as #, $, and %.
  4. In the Connection type field, select Snowflake Staging, HCP, or Google Cloud Storage from the drop-down list.

  5. (Optional) Enter a description for your connection in the Description field.

  6. Click Next.

  7. On the Connection Details page, enter the information according to your connection type.

  8. (Optional) Click Test to verify your connection.

  9. Click Next to view the connection summary, then Finish to complete the setup.


You can now use your connection to help specify VFS information in your transformation steps or job entries, such as the Snowflake entries or HCP steps. See PDI and Snowflake and PDI and Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) for more information on these entries and steps.

Edit a VFS connection

Perform the following steps to edit an existing VFS connection:


  1. Right-click the VFS Connections folder and select Edit.

  2. When the Edit VFS Connection dialog box opens, select the Pencil icon next to the section you want to edit.

Delete a VFS connection

Perform the following steps to delete a VFS connection:


  1. Right-click the VFS Connections folder.

  2. Select Delete, then Yes, Delete.


The deleted VFS connection no longer appears under the VFS Connections folder in the View tab of the PDI Explorer pane.

Add and delete folders or files

You can also use the VFS browser to delete files or folders on your file system. A default filter is applied so that initially Kettle transformation and job files display. To view other files, click the Filter drop-down menu and select the type of file you want to select. Once you have selected the file or folder you want to delete, click the X icon in the upper-right corner of the VFS browser to delete your selection. If you want to create a new folder, click the Plus Sign icon in the upper-right corner of the VFS browser and enter your new folder name, and click OK.

Filter menu, VFS browser

Supported steps and entries

Supported transformation steps and job entries open the VFS browser instead of the traditional File Open dialog box. With the VFS browser, you specify a VFS URL instead of a file path to access those resources.

The following steps and entries support the VFS browser:

NoteVFS dialog boxes are configured through certain transformation parameters. Refer to Configure SFTP VFS for more information on configuring options for SFTP.

Configure VFS options

The VFS browser can be configured to set variables as parameters for use at runtime. A VFS Configuration Sample.ktr sample transformation containing some examples of the parameters you can set is located in the data-integration/samples/transformations directory. For more information on setting variables, see Specifying VFS properties as parameters. For an example of configuring an SFTP VFS connection, see Configure SFTP VFS.