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Snakebite is a python library that provides a pure python HDFS client and a wrapper around Hadoops minicluster. The client uses protobuf for communicating with the NameNode and comes in the form of a library and a command line interface. Currently, the snakebite client supports most actions that involve the Namenode and reading data from DataNodes.

Note: all methods that read data from a data node are able to check the CRC during transfer, but this is disabled by default because of performance reasons. This is the opposite behaviour from the stock Hadoop client.

Snakebite requires python2 (python3 is not supported yet) and python-protobuf 2.4.1 or higher.

Snakebite 1.3.x has been tested mainly against Cloudera CDH4.1.3 (hadoop 2.0.0) in production. Tests pass on HortonWorks HDP (protocol versions 7 and 8)

Snakebite 2.x has been tested on Hortonworks HDP2.0 and CDH5 Beta and ONLY supports Hadoop 2.2.0 and up (protocol version 9)!


Snakebite releases are available through pypi at

To install snakebite run:

pip install snakebite

To install snakebite 2.x with Kerberos/SASL support, make sure you can install python-krbV ( and then run:

pip install "snakebite[kerberos]"

Since the older version of snakebite (1.3.x) supports Hadoop 1.0 (instead of Hadoop 2), you might want to install an older version by running:

pip install -I snakebite==1.3.x

Note that the 1.3 branch is unmaintained and doesn't include any of the fixes in the 2.x branch.


More information and documentation can be found at


Make sure to read about development here and about testing over here, hack and come back with a pull requests <3

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