Getting started with Hawkbit and SWUpdate

Due to a lack of clear instructions available on the internet, this appendix details the necessary steps to setup a local installation of Hawkbit and interface it with a PELUX system. This should be enough to set up a local development environment but extra steps would be needed for a real updates deployment context.


For the rest of the tutorial, we will assume you have two machines connected on an IP network:

  • A development machine running a standard Linux distribution. We will assume that this machine has the IP address. This machine must have Java 8 (Both OpenJDK and Oracle Java 1.8 work), Maven and rabbitmq-server installed.

  • A raspberrypi3 running PELUX. Other platforms should have similar configurations in the future but the Raspberry Pi is currently the only supported platform.

Compiling SWUpdate artifacts

You can generate update artifacts of PELUX from your Yocto build directory using bitbake. For example a .swu file for core-image-pelux-minimal can be generated using:

$ bitbake core-image-pelux-minimal-update

The resulting file can then be found at: build/tmp/deploy/images/raspberrypi3/core-image-pelux-minimal-update-raspberrypi3.swu

More details can be found in the Building PELUX page.

Hawkbit installation

We will fetch Hawkbit from its GitHub repository.

$ git clone
$ cd hawkbit

Recent versions of Hawkbit aren't yet supported by SWUpdate so we need to manually select a slightly older version of Hawkbit.

$ git checkout 0.2.0M4

We can now compile Hawkbit using Maven.

$ mvn clean install

And run the generated Hawkbit Server:

$ java -jar ./hawkbit-runtime/hawkbit-update-server/target/hawkbit-update-server-0.2.0-SNAPSHOT.jar

Accessing the Hawkbit panel

As detailed in the main part of this document, Hawkbit offers two mechanisms for artifacts management: the Management UI and the Management API. We will detail the usage of the Management UI here.

You can access the Management UI from a Web Browser on the development machine by opening the following URL: http://localhost:8080

The default credentials are:

  • username: admin

  • password: admin

To change those logins, you need to modify hawkbit-runtime/hawkbit-update-server/src/main/resources/ and recompile Hawkbit using mvn clean install.

Running SWUpdate in Surricata mode

Before setting up a deployment campaign on Hawkbit, we will start SWUpdate on the machine running PELUX to let Hawkbit know our device exists.

$ swupdate -H raspberrypi3:1.0 -e stable,alt -f /etc/swupdate.cfg -l 5 -u '-t DEFAULT -u -i DeviceID'


  • The H option specifies the hardware name and revision.

  • The e option selects the software and mode that should be used (for instance: alt installs on the partition B, main installs on the partition A).

  • The f option points to the SWUpdate config file.

  • The l option chooses a verbose log level.

  • The u option is followed by options dedicated to the Surricata mode.

  • The t option selects the tenant ID of the device.

  • The second u option points to the Hawkbit instance you want to download your artifacts from.

  • The i option represents the id of the device.

You should now see a new target appearing in the left side of the Deployment tab of Hawkbit with the name you chose as "DeviceID" in the above command.

Update campaign rollout


  • Go to the Upload tab from the left selector

  • Create a Software Module of type "OS" named Rootfs of version 1.0 and then click on it

  • Use the "Upload file" button to select the .swu file you generated earlier and then press the "Process" button to validate the upload

Note:: Hawkbit offers "Management APIs" that can potentially automatize those steps.

Distribution Management

  • Go to the Distributions Management tab from the left selector

  • Create a Distribution of type "OS with app(s)", named PELUX of version 1.0

  • Drag and drop the Rootfs on the right pane onto the PELUX distribution on the left pane

  • Click the actions button and apply the changes

Target Filters

  • Go to the Target Filters tab from the left selector

  • Create a new filter named "Default filter" and use a generic filter such as "name==*"


  • Go to the Rollout tab from the left selector

  • Create a new rollout campaign named "PELUX 1.0 Deployment". Select the PELUX distribution set, the default filter and enter 1 in the "Number of groups" field. You should see stats of deployment appearing

  • Press the "Play" icon on the right side of your rollout campaign to activate the deployment

Applying the update

At this point, you can either wait for a while, so that SWUpdate polls for updates and finds the new deployment campaign or kill and restart SWUpdate. You should find detailed information on the installation process in the standard output of SWUpdate.

When the update is applied, you can also check the Hawkbit Management UI and see the status of your rollout campaign changed.

Going further

Persistent storage

The above instructions don't use a database to store artifacts and metadata. This means that every time Hawkbit will be restarted, its rollout campaigns will be lost. This is handy for a development environment but unsustainable for a real world scenario.

You can set up a MariaDB server to keep data between two executions of Hawkbit. Start by installing the mariadb-server package from your distribution's repositories. Then, make sure the server is running

$ systemctl start mariadb-server

Once MariaDB is running, you need to create a database for Hawkbit. For the rest of the instructions, we will use the default MariaDB user whose username is root and password is empty but you can create a new user and adapt the instructions accordingly.

$ mysql -uroot -p

Then create a database with


You now need to configure Maven to build a MariaDB backend for Java DB. Open hawkbit-runtime/hawkbit-update-server/pom.xml and add the following block inside the dependencies element:


Hawkbit must be configured to connect to the database you created earlier. Append the following configuration values at the end of hawkbit-runtime/hawkbit-update-server/src/main/resources/


Finally, run a new build with mvn clean install and restart Hawkbit. Your data should now be stored in the database.

Device authentication

Hawkbit offers mechanisms for device authentication. This is a useful security feature to verify the identity of a target. Details on how to set this up in the corresponding Hawkbit documentation page.