Balena newcomer

Hello everyone,

I’m just getting familiar with Balena technology, so I have a couple of questions, mostly regarding “internet-independent” deployment.

  1. As far as I understand, there is openBalena variant to host it on my private server to build and deploy the software, possibly even without Internet connection. However, it does not support Beagleboard Black (yet?). Is such support planned?
  2. Is it possible to update a device offline by plugging an USB stick with new container version into it? Is it something that can be relatively easily achieved?

Ok, I’ve found out from docs that there’s a feature called offline updates which answers my question #2. However, question #1 still stands.

Yes you’re right, there are offline updates: Offline updates - Balena Documentation - please note that all data on the device gets nuked.

Regarding BBB support in openBalena - maybe I am not knowledgable enough about that topic, bat balena supports BBB and there are balenaOS versions for all different kinds of BB boards - so I don’t see why openBalena should not support BBB out of the box? Do you get any problems with that?

Edit: Ah I see, on openbalena - Open-source software to manage connected IoT devices there is the paragraph:

How do I know if my device will work with openBalena?

Any device that can run balenaOS will work with openBalena. BalenaOS supports many different device types and multiple architectures. Check out the full list of supported devices here. Note that for the beta release, openBalena will only support the Raspberry Pi family, the Intel NUC, the NVIDIA Jetson TX2, and the balenaFin.

Maybe @dfunckt could help out? Or @chrisys ?

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Thank you @nmaas87 . So, in order to support BBB, openBalena should get out of beta stage? Maybe the development team has some kind of ETA on it, or at least the instructions on how to connect BBB myself?

Hello @azarubkin welcome to the balena forums! Thank you @nmaas87 for your awesome support!

BBB should work on open Balena, but it hasn’t been tested officialy at balena. You can try with the latest version BalenaOS 2.73.1+rev2.

Let us know if that works or we will recommend you another version.

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To confirm here, outside of any beta caveats, the OS and device support should be independent of your choice of using balenaCloud or openBalena. The premise is that your choice of management system does not depend on the choice of OS, nor do we want to create OS variants that are specific to either balenaCloud or openBalena (intentionally or unintentionally) so do let us know if things aren’t working as expected.


Thank you guys. I’m sorry but I didn’t have time to check openBalena yet.
Another question: do you think it’s possible for Balena infrastructure to support partial offline updates in the future? E.g. to update a single container in the field with no internet access available.

@azarubkin did you find our blog post regarding offline updates here: Offline Updates make it easier to update balena devices without the internet

@chrisys I did, that’s why I’m asking. Reflashing full device memory and taking extra steps to avoid data loss when I want to update a single app container seems like a little overkill to me.
It would be great if these limitations are lifted in some future version of Balena :wink:

Hello @azarubkin,

Thanks for the great question. Our Offline Updates feature still has quite a ways to go improvement-wise since its launch. While we have no further details yet, please know that we’re working on these types of improvements to help with limited connectivity or offline environments that run IoT fleets.