Why does "hadoop fs -mkdir" fail with Permission Denied?

I am using Cloudera on a VM machine that I am playing around with. Unfortunately I am having issues copying data to the HDFS, I am getting the following:

[cloudera@localhost ~]$ hadoop fs -mkdir input
mkdir: Permission denied: user=cloudera, access=WRITE, inode="/user":hdfs:supergroup:drwxr-xr-x

I am not too concerned about security on this VM, is there anyway I can open up security more on HDFS?

Using mkdir in hadoop needs the "hadoop file permissions". From your example you can see that hdfs is a user that has permissions to create folders. So if you run:

sudo -u hdfs hadoop fs -mkdir /import

then the import folder will be created. If you want to change the owner of this folder run:

sudo -u hdfs hadoop fs -chown new_user /import

Now the new_user can manipulate files inside the import folder

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When you execute the above command, if hdfs home directory(/user/cloudera) is not there then that directory will be created first then the directory input will be created under /user/cloudera

For giving permission for cloudera user to create it's own directory, you got to give permission. hdfs user is the admin user in hdfs switch to hdfs then execute the following command

[hdfs@localhost~]$ hadoop fs -mkdir /user/cloudera ; hadoop fs -chmod 777  /user/cloudera


if you are not too concerned about hdfs security you disable hdfs permission by setting the below property to false in hdfs-site.xml


after setting this property to false hdfs needs to be restarted.

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In cloudera manager, you can change the settings: hdfs->configuration->view&edit, uncheck the Check HDFS Permissions dfs.permissions and restart the hdfs.

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This is because you dont have enough permission to create directory in hdfs. Try running this as sudo:

sudo -u hdfs hadoop fs -mkdir -p /user/samplefolder

But this is not recommended because it compromises security.

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I resolved the issue by creating a supergroup in /etc/group and updated the user logins on it. I mean user should be part of HDFS supergroup to have access to write on HDFS.

$vi /etc/group


Later was able to write on HDFS. Hope it helps

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  • if i run that command I get: [cloudera@localhost ~]$ hadoop fs -mkdir /user/cloudera ; hadoop fs -chmod 777 /user/cloudera mkdir: Permission denied: user=cloudera, access=WRITE, inode="/user":hdfs:supergroup:drwxr-xr-x chmod: `/user/cloudera': No such file or directory
  • Before executing the above command you got to switch the user to hdfs user.. Use the command su hdfs
  • Or disable hdfs permission by following the second step