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Warning: this is not the documentation of the latest version of the NuvlaBox. Go here to access the latest version.

The NBE installation starts from Nuvla’s edge panel. From there you can opt for one of two available installation methods: Compose file bundle, or USB stick.

Install via Compose file bundle

  1. login into
  2. from the edge panel, add a new nuvlabox, and either
    1. download the compose files from Nuvla, or
    2. copy the NuvlaBox UUID, and on your device, run export NUVLABOX_UUID=<UUID you copied> and download the compose files from GitHub
  3. copy the given docker-compose -p nuvlabox ... command from Nuvla, and on your device, alongside the compose files retrieved in step 2. above, paste and run the command
  4. after a few seconds, you should see your new NuvlaBox edge device becoming green in Nuvla, and if you run docker ps in your device, you should find (amongst others) something like:
    865403c5d7f2        nuvlabox/system-manager:0.4.0   "./"          3 weeks ago         Up 6 hours (healthy)>3636/tcp,>3637/tcp   nuvlabox_system-manager_1

Halt the NuvlaBox

In an edge environment, halting your devices is sometimes necessary.

When rebooting your edge device, the NuvlaBox will resume by itself, alongside your device’s Docker service, so you don’t need to do anything.

When manually halting the NuvlaBox, you can simply find the original compose files in your edge device, re-export the original environment variables (if not exported already), and run docker-compose -p nuvlabox down. Then to resume, simply run docker-compose -p nuvlabox up -d.

Upgrade/Downgrade the NuvlaBox

From Nuvla

The NBE can be updated directly from Nuvla. On the user interface, in each NuvlaBox page, you’ll find an action called “Update NuvlaBox” (as depicted below)


By clicking on it, you can specify which version of the NuvlaBox Engine is the target for the release. Please note that this is an asynchronous action that can take a few minutes, depending on your edge device’s network.

Troubleshooting: Please note that the update capability was only introduced in NuvlaBox Engine v1.14.0. You can still update your NuvlaBox to/from an older NuvlaBox Engine version, however, since the persistency of NB installation parameters was only introduced in v1.14.0, we can not guarantee that the final update will result in a similarly configured NBE! If you’re updating to/from a NBE version <1.14.0, we recommend taking note of all the environment variables and Docker Compose arguments used during the installation, just in case a manual intervention is needed after an unsuccessful update.


You can also SSH into your edge device, and find the original project folder where you saved your Compose files.

If you’ve initially installed the NuvlaBox Engine according to the instructions above, then you should see all of its components by running:

$ docker-compose -p nuvlabox ps

You should get something like this:

         Name                        Command                  State                Ports          
datagateway               / --entrypoin ...   Up             80/tcp                  
nbmosquitto               / /usr ...   Up (healthy)   1883/tcp                
nuvlabox_agent_1             ./                         Up             5000/tcp                
nuvlabox_compute-api_1       ./                         Up   >5000/tcp  
nuvlabox_management-api_1    ./                         Up (healthy)>5001/tcp  
nuvlabox_network-manager_1   /opt/nuvlabox/network-mana ...   Up             1194/udp                
nuvlabox_system-manager_1    ./                         Up (healthy)>3636/tcp
vpn-client                ./              Up      
  • Cherry picking a NuvlaBox Engine component to be upgraded/downgraded: let’s say, as an example, that we want to upgrade the NuvlaBox Engine’s Agent component. Then:
    1. open the docker-compose.yml file and find the agent service
    2. replace the corresponding Docker image tag (nuvlabox/agent:X.Y.Z)with the target version number. Save the file
    3. re-import all the necessary environment variables for the component being upgraded. In this case, make sure that at least NUVLABOX_UUID is set (if you’re using
    4. execute docker-compose -p nuvlabox up -d agent

    This is valid for any NuvlaBox Engine component

  • Upgrade/Downgrade the entire NuvlaBox Engine installation: let’s say we want to upgrade our existing NuvlaBox Engine installation to the latest release in GitHub. Then:
    1. halt the NuvlaBox with docker-compose -p nuvlabox down, as explained above
    2. move (or delete) the Compose files from the project folder you are in
    3. download the Compose files from the target release in GitHub
    4. resume the NuvlaBox Engine installation by running docker-compose -p nuvlabox up -d

Uninstall the NuvlaBox

To completely and permanently uninstall the NuvlaBox from your edge device, simply find your original compose files in the edge device, and run docker-compose -p nuvlabox down -v.

To re-install a new NuvlaBox from scratch in the same edge device, you’ll need to go through the installation steps from above.

Install via USB stick

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

Unlike the Compose file bundle, the USB stick installation method does not require manual user intervention, and thus does not support manual configuration of the NBE environment variable. NUVLABOX_UUID, NUVLA_ENDPOINT and NUVLA_ENDPOINT_INSECURE are automatically defined for you by Nuvla, during the installation process.

It is not yet possible to define variables like HOSTNAME and VPN_INTERFACE_NAME with this installation method. All possible NBE configurations for this installation method are set from Nuvla, at the time of creation of the USB stick file.

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.

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.