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Joyent Triton DataCenter: a cloud management platform with first class support for containers.
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Triton DataCenter

Triton DataCenter (just "Triton" for short, formerly "SmartDataCenter" and "SDC") is an open-source cloud management platform that delivers next generation, container-based, service-oriented infrastructure across one or more data centers. With an emphasis on ease of installation and operation, Triton is proven at scale: Triton powers the Triton Cloud and private data centers (Triton Enterprise worldwide.

This repository provides documentation for the overall Triton project and pointers to the other repositories that make up a complete Triton deployment. See the repository list.

Report bugs and request features using GitHub Issues. For additional resources, you can visit the Joyent Developer Center.


A Triton DataCenter installation consists of two or more servers. All servers run SmartOS. One server acts as the management server, the headnode, which houses the initial set of core services that drive Triton. The remainder are compute nodes (CNs) which run instances (containers and virtual machines).

Triton features:

  • SmartOS zones provides high performance container virtualization. KVM support on top of zones means secure full Linux and Windows guest OS support.
  • RESTful API and CLI tooling for customer self-service
  • Complete operator portal (web app)
  • Robust and observable service oriented architecture (implemented primarily in Node.js)
  • Automated USB key installation

Triton consists of the following components:

  • A public API for provisioning and managing instances (virtual machines), networks, users, images, etc.
  • An operator portal
  • A set of private APIs
  • Agents running in the global zone of CNs for management and monitoring

For more details, see:


Community discussion about Triton DataCenter happens in two main places:

You can also follow @SmartDataCenter on Twitter for updates.

Getting Started

Cloud on a Laptop (CoaL)

An easy way to try Triton DataCenter is by downloading a Cloud on a Laptop (CoaL) build. This is a VMware virtual appliance providing a full Triton headnode for development and testing.

The minimum requirements, practically speaking, for a good CoaL experience is a Mac with at least 16 GB RAM and an SSD. Currently, almost all team members using CoaL are on Macs with VMware Fusion. Vmware Workstation for Linux is used by a few in the community. VMware Workstation for Windows should work, but has not recently been tested.

See CoaL Setup for a thorough walkthrough including updating CoaL and enabling provisioning on the headnode.

  1. Start the download of the latest CoaL build. The tarball is approximately 2 GB.

    curl -C - -O
  2. Install VMware, if you haven't already.

  3. Configure VMware virtual networks for CoaL's "external" and "admin" networks. This is a one time configuration for a VMware installation.

    1. Launch VMware at least once after installing VMware.

    2. Run Triton set up script for VMware:

      • Mac:

        curl -s | sudo bash
      • Linux:

        curl -s | sudo bash
      • Windows:

        Run coal-windows-vmware-setup.bat
  4. Unpack the CoaL build that you downloaded in step 1.

    • Mac:

      $ tar -zxvf coal-latest.tgz
      x root.password.20140911t161518z
      x coal-master-20140911T194415Z-g1a445f5-4gb.vmwarevm/
      x coal-master-20140911T194415Z-g1a445f5-4gb.vmwarevm/USB-headnode.vmx
      x coal-master-20140911T194415Z-g1a445f5-4gb.vmwarevm/zpool.vmdk
      x coal-master-20140911T194415Z-g1a445f5-4gb.vmwarevm/USB-headnode.vmdk
      x coal-master-20140911T194415Z-g1a445f5-4gb.vmwarevm/4gb.img
  5. Start VMware and load the appliance.

    • Mac: 'open'ing the folder will start VMware and "open and run" the vm:

        open coal-<branch>-<build_date_time>-<git_sha1_hash>-4gb.vmwarevm
  6. Boot the headnode.

When you are prompted with the GRUB menu press the "down" arrow.

  1. Press the down arrow key to highlight "Live 64-bit".

  2. Press 'c' to go to the command line for GRUB.

    By default, the OS will redirect the console to ttyb which is fine for production but needs to be changed for CoaL. While in the command line:

       grub> variable os_console vga
  3. Press enter.

  4. Press esc to get back to the GRUB menu.

  5. Boot "Live 64-bit" by pressing enter.

  6. Configure the headnode.

Use the following table to configure your CoaL with settings that are fine for development.

If you make a mistake while entering the configuration you can restart the VMware virtual machine. Also, as the onscreen instructions describe, the last step in configuration allows editing the resulting configuration file.

Setting Value Notes
Company Name Clavius Can substitute with your choice.
Region of Datacenter orbit Can substitute with your choice.
Name of Datacenter coal-1 (Availability zone.) Can substitute with your choice.
Location of DataCenter Moon, Earth Can substitute with your choice.
'admin' interface 2 The second NIC is set up as the admin network by the CoaL networking script
(admin) headnode IP address Must use this value.
(admin) headnode netmask: Use the default.
(admin) Zone's starting IP address: Use the default.
Add external network now? (Y/n) Y Must use this value.
'external' interface 1 The first NIC is set up as the external network by the CoaL networking script
(external) headnode IP address Must use this value.
(external) headnode netmask: Use the default.
(external) gateway IP address: Must use this value.
(external) network VLAN ID Use default. The external network is not on a VLAN in CoaL
Starting Provisionable IP address for external Network Use the default.
Ending Provisionable IP address for external Network Use the default.
Default gateway IP address: Use the default.
Primary DNS Server Use the default.
Secondary DNS Server Use the default.
Head node domain name Can substitute with your choice.
DNS Search Domain Can substitute with your choice.
NTP Server IP Address Use the default.
"root" password rootpass Can substitute with your choice.
Confirm "root" password
"admin" password adminpass1 Can substitute with your choice.
Confirm "admin" password
Administrator's email Use the default.
Support email Use the default.
Confirm password
Enable telemetry "true" or "false" Can use your choice
Verify Configuration
Verify Configuration Again
  • CoaL will now install based on the configuration parameters entered above. Installation has been observed to take up to 20 minutes, particularly if slow laptop HDD.

After setup is complete you should be able to SSH into your CoaL on the "admin" network. Example:

ssh root@  # password 'rootpass'

For just a taste run svcs to see running SMF services. Run vmadm list to see a list of current VMs (SmartOS zones). Each Triton service runs in its own zone. See the Joyent customer documentation.

As mentioned previously, see CoaL Setup for a thorough walkthrough.

Installing Triton on a Physical Server

A Triton DataCenter server runs SmartOS which is a live image. This means that it boots from a USB flash drive (key). a physical USB key, inserting the key and booting the server from that key. To install Triton, first obtain the latest release USB build.


For Triton development only, the minimum server hardware is:

  • 8 GB USB flash drive
  • Intel Processors with VT-x and EPT support (all Xeon since Nehalem)
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 6 GB available storage

Hardware RAID is not recommended. Triton will lay down a ZFS ZPOOL across all available disks on install. You'll want much more storage if you're working with images and instances.

If setting up a Triton DataCenter pilot then you'll want to review the Minimum Requirements and Installation Prerequisites which include IPMI and at least 10 gigabit Ethernet. The supported hardware components for SmartOS are described in the SmartOS Hardware Requirements. Joyent certified hardware for Triton DataCenter are all in the Joyent Manufacturing Database.


To install Triton, first download the latest release image:

curl -C - -O

Once you have downloaded the latest release image, you will need to write it to a USB key boot the headnode server using the USB key, and follow the install prompts. All steps necessary to plan, install, and configure Triton DataCenter (Triton) are available in the Joyent customer documenation Installing Triton Elastic Container Infrastructure.


Triton is composed of several pre-built components:

  • A SmartOS platform image. This is a slightly customized build of vanilla SmartOS for Triton.
  • Virtual machine images for Triton services (e.g. imgapi, vmapi, adminui), which are provisioned as VMs at install time.
  • Agents bundled into a single package installed into the global zone of each compute node.

Each component is built separately and then all are combined into CoaL and USB builds (see the preceding sections) via the sdc-headnode repository. The built components are typically stored in a Manta object store, e.g. Joyent's public Manta, and pulled from there. For example, Joyent's builds push to /Joyent_Dev/public/builds in Joyent's public Manta in us-east-1 (

You can build your own CoaL and USB images on Mac or SmartOS (see the sdc-headnode README). However, all other Triton components must be built using a running Triton (e.g. on the Joyent Cloud or in a local CoaL). See the building document for details on building each of the Triton components.


To report bugs or request features, submit issues here on GitHub, joyent/triton/issues (or on the GitHub issue tracker for the relevant project). For support of Joyent products and services, please contact Joyent customer support instead.

See the Contribution Guidelines for information about contributing changes to the project.

Design Principles

Triton DataCenter is very opinionated about how to architect a cloud. These opinions are the result of many years of deploying and debugging the Joyent public cloud. Design principles include the following:

  • A VM's primary storage should be local disk, not over the network -- this avoids difficult to debug performance pathologies.
  • Communication between internal APIs should occur in its own control plane (network) that is separate from the customer networks. Avoid communicating over the open Internet if possible.
  • A provisioned VM should rely as little as possible on Triton services outside of the operating system for its normal operation.
  • Installation and operation should require as little human intervention as possible.

The goals behind the design of Triton services include:

  • All parts of the stack should be observable.
  • The state of the running service should be simple to obtain.
  • The internals of the system should make it straightfoward to debug from a core file (from a crash or taken from a running process using gcore(1)).
  • Services should be RESTful and accept JSON unless there is a compelling reason otherwise.
  • Services should avoid keeping state and should not assume that there is only one instance of that service running. This allows multiple instances of a service to be provisioned for high availability.
  • Node.js and C should be used for new services.

Dependencies and Related Projects

Triton DataCenter uses SmartOS as the host operating system. The SmartOS hypervisor provides both SmartOS zone (container) and KVM virtualization.

Joyent's open-source Manta project is an HTTP-based object store with built-in support to run arbitrary programs on data at rest (i.e., without copying data out of the object store). Manta runs on and integrates with Triton DataCenter.


Triton DataCenter is licensed under the Mozilla Public License version 2.0. See the file LICENSE. SmartOS is licensed separately.

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