As some of you know, we’re keen to use openBalena for our projects. Like some others, we’re creating IoT projects with different requirements and specifications. Some of our projects use cloudBalena, but we’re on the starting line of a new project and there are projects to come. Some of these projects have the ability (and funds) to use cloudBalena. But other projects just don’t have the funds to use cloudBalena and pay per-device. So for these projects, we’d like to use openBalena. But there are a couple of questions from our side, and we probably share these with other (open)Balena users.
First of all, many thanks for creating openBalena! We’ve searched the web for all kinds of IoT fleet management software, and there are a bunch, such as Ubuntu Core. But they just lack some of the features. Balena has a ecosystem that covers all aspects that you’d like when creating an IoT product, such as VPN connection, updates, pre-built images for many boards and an relatively active community. And the setup of balenaOS is great, with the balenaEngine and such!
But we’re wondering, is openBalena production ready? Obviously, I follow all threads regarding openBalena and the (missing) features and bugs, which is completely normal that there are some in a relatively new open source project. But we’d like to have an overview of what is still missing, what is on the roadmap and, the most important, what features are ready in openBalena. And the conclusion: is openBalena, at this stage, production ready? Because openBalena isn’t really documented, which I think is normal because documenting, imho, is a pain in the ass.
Is openBalena steady/robust enough to run on a server with multiple (hundreds) of devices?
Is it possible to SSH to any device that is connected to openBalena?
I followed the threads, and I haven’t tested it yet, but it is possible afaik via
balena tunnel. The only requirements are that the device is connected and has an SSH key installed in the
Environment variables are supported, but also Service Variables?
This is one of our big questions, HostOS upgrades aren’t supported as of now, but they are on the roadmap. Is a HostOS upgrade necessary when openBalena supports it? Because our devices are going to be placed around the globe, and it isn’t possible to go to all of our devices when they’re placed.
What are the key differences between openBalena and cloudBalena? (Backend only, dashboard isn’t necessary)
As far as I know, some key differences are the delta updates, diagnostics, multi-user support (Can be implemented in a custom dashboard for example), location tracking, SSH without the pre-defined SSH key
What are the hardware requirements of running openBalena on a server?
I’ve read some documentation about the balena-vpn, and the max of clients is 4096, correct? And if so, is it possible, and how, to add VPN instances, if necessary, to connect more clients?
What features are missing before going to production in your opinion?
I’ll update all questions when they’re answered and add questions from other people to get a nice overview
As said before, we’d like to use openBalena for one of our projects, but 1 big thing holding us back is question 4, the HostOS upgrades, and the (missing) knowledge that openBalena is 100% production ready as of now and is scalable.
We’d like to begin development on our new project as soon as possible, but our goal is to finish early next year. We know this is an open source project, and we’d love to help as much as possible by being a beta-tester with a (increasingly) large fleet or even testing features. But without the reassuring that openBalena is (becoming) production ready, you probably understand it’s a big risk and even a deal-breaker for us…
Also, we’d love to get in contact with the Balena-team to explain our situation and discuss a solution! Because, as said earlier, Balena has the whole package for managing and maintaining an IoT fleet. So feel free to contact me via email or other communication channels!
With kinds regards,
P.S. I’m sorry for all the text