Installation via USB flash drive

If your are looking to streamline the installation of the NuvlaBox Engine in your edge devices, then this is the best choice for you.

The advantages of this installation method are:

  • NO need for an external display
  • NO need for SSH access to the device
  • The same USB stick can be used as many times as needed
  • NO technical expertise required

Additional requirements

This installation method requires a specific NuvlaBox plugin to be installed in your Operating System, which will trigger the USB-based installation whenever you plug the flash drive.

  • if your devices are running a NuvlaBox OS, then you’re good! You can jump straight to the installation procedure below

  • if your devices are NOT running a NuvlaBox OS, then you must first prepare your operating system as follows:

    1. make sure you are running a Linux distribution with systemd installed (we recommend using Debian or Ubuntu)
    2. get the latest version of the NuvlaBox USB Auto-installer plugin from GitHub:

       git clone /tmp/nuvlabox-os
       cd /tmp/nuvlabox-os
    3. you’ll find different NuvlaBox OS distributions here. These are enclosed within folders like raspberrypi (for a Raspbian-like NuvlaBox OS) or generic (for generic amd64 Debian-like NuvlaBox OS). Navigate to the folder that it closer to your own distribution

       cd /tmp/nuvlabox-os/<your-distro>
    4. inside you’ll find a 99_usb-auto-installer folder

       ls 99_usb-auto-installer
    5. for all distros, inside the 99_usb-auto-installer folder, you’ll find an .howToInstall file. Run it

       sudo sh .howToInstall

You can now automate the installation of the NuvlaBox Engine into your fleet of edge devices.


If the OS of your edge device meets the requirements, then all you have to do is to prepare your USB flash drive.

Just follow these steps:

  1. go to Nuvla and login
  2. on the NuvlaBox tab, click +add and select the USB stick installation method


    With this method, a new API key credential is generated for you, and embedded into your USB stick. You can choose for how long this credentials should be valid. By default, this value is set for 30 days. After that, the credential expires and the corresponding USB stick becomes invalid.

  3. click create and wait. A new API key credential will be created and you’ll be given a “trigger” file to download


  4. download the Trigger file, and copy it into your USB stick. You can place it anywhere within.

    IMPORTANT: make your your USB stick’s filesystem is formatted as one of the following: vfat, ext2, ext3, ext4, hfsplus or ntfs.

  5. plug your USB stick into your edge device.

  6. the NuvlaBox Auto-installer plugin that is installed in your device’s OS will automatically be triggered by the USB stick, and kickstart the installation of the NuvlaBox Engine. At this stage, all you need to do is wait…

    It shouldn’t take more than a few seconds for the process to start. Depending on your hardware, you might be able to get some external feedback on the progress of the installation. This feedback signal works for the following machine types:

    • raspberrypi:
      • CONSTANT GREEN LED for 10 sec. This means the NuvlaBox Engine installation process has started and you can safely remove your USB stick


      • HEARTBEAT GREEN LED for 10 sec. This means the NuvlaBox Engine installation process has finished successfully


      • PULSING GREEN LED for 10 sec. This means the NuvlaBox Engine installation process has failed


  7. go back to the NuvlaBox tab in Nuvla and your new NuvlaBox resource will appear.

Environment Variables

NUVLABOX_UUID, NUVLA_ENDPOINT and NUVLA_ENDPOINT_INSECURE are automatically defined for you during the installation process.

It is not possible to define HOSTNAME and VPN_INTERFACE_NAME with this installation method.

Upgrade the NuvlaBox Engine

It is also possible to use the USB stick method to upgrade your NuvlaBox Engine installation.

The procedure is the same as described above. If in Nuvla, you select a different NuvlaBox Engine version than the one you have already installed in your devices, then, when you plug the USB stick into the device, the NuvlaBox Auto-installer will upgrade all the outdated NuvlaBox Engine components, according to your desired version.

Overwrite an existing installation

It is also possible to use the USB stick method to completely delete and re-install your NuvlaBox Engine installation. However, in order to avoid damaging an existing installation, this process can only happen if the following conditions are met:

  • your previous NuvlaBox Engine installation is misconfigured, or
  • your NuvlaBox resource is DECOMMISSIONED or in ERROR in Nuvla, or
  • your NuvlaBox resource does not exist anymore in Nuvla,

then the NuvlaBox Auto-installer will completely remove the existing NuvlaBox Engine installation from your device, and install a fresh new one.

Copyright 2020, SixSq