Possible?; Adding existing devices to belenaCloud, without belanceOS or Engine?

I have a bunch of RPI4 running Rasbian, which I do not wan´t to change a lot on.

I basically wan´t to start using device management in balenaCloud and from there further extend with other devices, perhaps using belanceOS.

Hi, that’s an interesting use-case but no that isn’t possible. The functionality of balenaCloud is dependent on the features included in balenaOS such as balenaEngine and the device supervisor. So, in order to make use of balenaCloud for device management you need to be running balenaOS.

So do I really have to rebuild my images from scratch on top of belanceOS?

I have 25 custom made client Rasbian running on devices, all different and present fysical located at my clients sites.

If no possible way to add such existing I see huge setback and do not understand how I should be interested onboarding your services?

I understand that is a difficult situation to transition from, to using a different host OS. There are many advantages of course over raspbian which balenaOS offers, but deployment has to be possible to be attractive. I’ve forwarded your question to some of my colleagues who may know whether there is a way to install remotely, assuming you have root control of those devices. I hope it’s possible!


Hi Thomas, this is definitely something that has crossed our minds before, and while it is always good to start with a fresh deployment of devices provisioned by balenaCloud, we realize sometimes that is not possible.

The short answer is that balenaCloud cannot manage Raspbian devices, so, no you cannot continue running Raspbian and make use of the Fleet Management features of balenaCloud. Only balenaOS devices can integrate with balenaCloud.

However, one possible way to work around your limitation of devices already deployed, is to experiment with our “brownfield migration” script to containerize your application and move it to balena. To be clear and upfront, you will want to try this on some test devices first, prior to deploying to a fleet. But, you can take a look here, to get a feel for the process: https://github.com/balena-io/migrate

The end result is that you transition from Raspbian to balenaOS, so do keep that in mind. Hope that helps, thanks.