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Cloudmesh Pi Burner for SD Cards

WARNING: This program is designed for a Raspberry Pi. Instructions to use Linux and macOS are included in the FAQ. If you want to help us port to any other OSes, such as Windows 10, please contact

image image image License

1. Introduction

cms burn is a program to burn many SD cards for the preparation of building clusters with Raspberry Pi's. It allows users to create readily bootable SD cards that have the network configured and contain a public ssh key from your machine that you then use to login into the PIs after boot. Thus, little setup is needed for a cluster after boot. Another unique feature is that you can burn multiple cards in a row, each with their individual setup such as hostnames and ipadresses.

2. Nomenclature

  • Commands proceeded with pi@managerpi:$ are to be executed on the Raspberry Pi with the name managerpi.

  • Commands with (ENV3) pi@managerpi:$ are to be executed in a virtual ENV using Python 3 on the Raspberry Pi with the name managerpi

3. Quickstarts

We provide the following quickstarts:

  1. Quickstart to burn worker SD Cards on a PI via an inventory

  2. Quickstart to burn all cards on macOS or Linux vi the cluster command

    On macOS this requires you have write access for ext4 which requires the purchase of additional software. If you do not lke to do this see the solution discussed in 1.

However before you do the Quickstarts we encourage you to look at other features we provide.

4. Setup for Bridged WiFi

To provide you with a glimpse of what you can do with cms burn, we have provided this quickstart guide that will create one manager PI and several workers.

This setup is intended for those who have restricted access to their network (ie. cannot access router controls). For example, those on campus WiFis or regulated apartment WiFis.

Figure 1 describes our network configuration. We have 5 Raspberry Pi 4s: 1 manager and 4 workers. We have WiFi access, but we do not necessarily have wired access or access to the router's controls.

We also have a network switch, where the manager and workers can communicate locally, but we will configure the manager to provide internet access to devices on the network switch via a "network bridge".

Figure 1: Pi Cluster setup with bridge network

4.1 Requirements

For the quickstart we have the following hardware requirements:

  • SD Cards and Raspberry Pis

  • You will need an SD card reader/writer (USB-A) to burn new cards. We recommend that you buy a USB 3.0 SDCard reader/writer as they are significantly faster and you can reuse them on PI'4s. Make sure to get an adapter if your normal computer only supports USB-C

  • You will need a Raspberry Pi cluster. Detailed information about parts are provided at our Web page.

4.2 Manager Pi

First we need to configure the Manager Pi

Step 0. Burn Manager Pi SD Card

Using Raspberry Pi imager, burn an SD card with Raspberry Pi OS (32-bit) with desktop and recommended applications. You may use your normal system to burn such a card including Windows, macOS, or Linux.

You will then want a method of accessing this manager Pi. You may either use SSH (recommended) from the command line or a monitor to use the desktop environment (easiest) to access it. We highly recommend changing the password on the Pi as soon as you have access. This is because the pi is initialized with default user pi and default password raspberry. This is critical if you are on a shared network where anyone can attempt to access your pi.

Monitor Desktop Environment: You will need a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. This is the easiest approach as Raspberry Pi OS provides a very nice user interface with an easy-to-follow setup process for connecting to WiFi and other such tasks.

SSH Environment: You may consider enabling SSH access to your Pi so that you may access the file system from your preferred machine.

Headless Configuration: See section 3 of enabling ssh for instructions on how to enable SSH headlessly. Similarly, how to enable WiFi headlessly. Additionally you can check out the FAQ for step-by-step instructions. Using Pi Imager to setup a Manager Pi with headless access.

Update the firmware: See the FAQ How to update firmware?

Step 1. Installing Cloudmesh on the Manager Pi

Open a new terminal screen on the Manager Pi. Here we assume the hostname is managerpi. However, this is of no importance in relation to the topics of this guide.

Update pip. The simple curl command below will generate an ssh-key, update your system, and install cloudmesh.

pi@managerpi:~ $ pip install pip -U
pi@managerpi:~ $ curl -Ls | sh -                

This will take a moment...

Step 2. Reboot

The installation script updates your system. Reboot for effect.

pi@managerpi:~ $ sudo reboot

Step 3. Download the latest Raspberry Pi Lite OS

The following command will download the latest images for Raspberry Lite OS.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms burn image get latest-lite

We can verify our image's downloaded with the following.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms burn image ls

Note. For our cluster we use light, but if you like to use other versions please see this note. We can use the following command to list the current Raspberry Pi OS versions (full and lite)

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms burn image versions --refresh

This will list the Tags and Types of each available OS. We can then modify the image get command for versions we are interested in. For example,

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms burn image get full-2020-05-28

Step 4. Setup SD Card Writer

Plug your SD Card Writer into the Pi. Ensure you have an SD Card inserted into your writer. Run the following command to find the path to your SD Card.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms burn info
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------
# SD Cards Found
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------

| Path     | Info                 | Readable | Formatted | Empty | Size             | Aaccess | Removable | Writeable |
| /dev/sda | Generic Mass-Storage | True     | True      | False | 64.1 GB/59.7 GiB | True    | True      |           |

cms burn info has other useful information, but for the purposes of this guide we omit it.

We can see from the information displayed that our SD card's path is /dev/sda. Of course, this may vary.

4.3 Burning Multiple SD Cards with a Single Burner

Step 0. Ensure the first SD card is inserted into the burner.

We can run cms burn info again as we did above to verify our SD Card is connected.

Step 1. Burning the Cards

cms burn supports parameterized hostnames that allow automatic incrementation of numbers.

For example, red00[1-2] is interpreted by cms burn as [red001, red002]. Similarly, red[a-c] is interpreted by cms burn as [reda, redb, redc].

We can burn 2 SD cards as follows:


(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms burn create --hostname=red00[1-4] --ip=10.1.1.[2-5] --device=/dev/sda --tag=latest-lite

The user will be prompted to swap the SD cards after each card burn if there are still remaining cards to burn.

Step 2. Boot the cluster

After all cards are burned. Turn off the cluster, insert the cards, and turn the cluster back on.

We can now proceed to the next section where we configure our bridge.

4.4 Connecting Pis to the Internet via Bridge

Figure 1 depicts how the network is set up with the help of the bridge command.

Figure 1: Networking Bridge

Step 0. Review and Setup

At this point, we assume that you have used cms burn to create all SD cards for the Pi's with static IP addresses in the subnet range (excluding See step 1 for details)

We are also continuing to use managerpi (which is where we burn the worker SD cards).

We will now use cms bridge to connect the worker Pis to the internet. Let us again reference the diagram of our network setup. You should now begin connecting your Pis via the network switch (unmanaged or managed) if you have not done so already. Ensure that managerpi is also connected to the network switch.

We assign the eth0 interface of the managerpi to be, and it acts as the default gateway for the workers. The workers' IPs were set during the create command.

Step 1. Configuring our Bridge

We can easily create our bridge as follows.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms bridge create --interface='wlan0'

We should now reboot.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ sudo reboot

Note the --interface option indicates the interface used by the manager pi to access the internet. In this case, since we are using WiFi, it is likely wlan0. Other options such as eth0 and eth1 exist for ethernet connections.

Step 2. Verifying internet connection

We should now be able to see our workers.

arp -a

Note it may take a few minutes for them to populate in the neighbor table. If you want to speed this up try to ping them individually.

ping red002

At this point, our workers should have internet access. Let us SSH into one and ping to verify. Ensure you have booted your workers and connected them to the same network switch as the manager.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ ssh red002

pi@red002:~ $ ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=1 ttl=106 time=48.2 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=2 ttl=106 time=48.3 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=3 ttl=106 time=47.9 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=4 ttl=106 time=47.10 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=5 ttl=106 time=48.5 ms
--- `ping statistics ---
5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 9ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 47.924/48.169/48.511/0.291 ms

Note how we are able to omit the pi user and .local extension. We have successfully configured our bridge. Our pis are now ready to cluster.

5. Set up of the SSH keys and SSH tunnel

One important aspect of a cluster is to setup authentication via ssh in a convenient way, so we can easily login from the laptop to each of the PI workers and the PI manager. Furthermore, we like to be able to login from the PI manager to each of the workers. In addition, we like to be able to login between the workers.

We have chosen a very simple setup while relying on ssh tunnel.

To simplify the setup of this we have developed a command cms host that gathers and scatters keys onto all machines, as well as sets up the tunnels.

It is essential that the key on the laptop must not be password less. This is also valid for any machine that is directly added to the network such as in the mesh network.

To avoid password less keys we recommend you to use ssh-add or ssh-keychain which will ask you for one.

The manual page for cms host is provided in the Manual Pages section.

Step 1. On the manager create ssh keys for each of the workers.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms host key create red00[1-3]

Step 2. On the manager gather the worker, manager, and your laptop public ssh keys into a file.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms host key gather red00[1-3],you@yourlaptop.local ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Step 3. On the manager scatter the public keys to all the workers and manager ~/.ssh/authorized_hosts file

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms host key scatter red00[1-3],localhost ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Step 4. Remove undeeded keys.txt file

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ rm keys.txt

Step 5. Verify SSH reachability from worker to manager and worker to worker.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ ssh red001
pi@red001:~ $ ssh managerpi.local

TODO: BUG: The workers still currently still need to use .local after names. This will be resolved by the inventory create update.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ exit
pi@red001:~ $ ssh red002.local
pi@red002:~ $ exit
pi@red001:~ $ exit

Step 6. (For Bridge setup) Create SSH tunnels on the manager to enable ssh access from your laptop to the workers

For now, we manually install autossh, to test the new cms host tunnel program. Later we add it to the main manager setup script.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ yes y | sudo apt install autossh
(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms host tunnel create red00[1-3]

Step 7. (For Bridge setup) Copy the specified command output to your ~/.ssh/config file on your laptop

host tunnel create red00[1-3]

Using wlan0 IP =
Using cluster hostname = managerpi

Tunnels created.

Please place the following in your remote machine's (i.e. laptop)
`~/.ssh/config` file to alias simple ssh access (i.e. `ssh red001`).

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------
# copy to ~/.ssh/config on remote host (i.e laptop)
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Host red001
     HostName managerpi.local
     User pi
     Port 8001

Host red002
     HostName managerpi.local
     User pi
     Port 8002

Host red003
     HostName managerpi.local
     User pi
     Port 8003

Note: We will in the future provide an addition to the command so you can remove and add them directly from the command line

cms host tunnel config create red00[1-3]
cms host tunnel config delete red00[1-3]

Step 8. (For Bridge setup) Verify SSH reachability from the laptop to workers

you@yourlaptop:~ $ ssh red001

Step 9. Shutdown or reboot your entire cluster using the commands below.

you@yourlaptop:~ $ cms host shutdown red,red00[1-3]
you@yourlaptop:~ $ cms host reboot red,red00[1-3]

6. Manual Pages

6.1 Manual Page for the burn command

Note to execute the command on the command line you have to type in cms burn and not just burn.

  burn gui [--hostname=HOSTNAME]
  burn firmware check
  burn firmware update
  burn install
  burn load --device=DEVICE
  burn format --device=DEVICE
  burn imager [TAG...]
  burn mount [--device=DEVICE] [--os=OS]
  burn unmount [--device=DEVICE] [--os=OS]
  burn network list [--ip=IP] [--used]
  burn network
  burn info [--device=DEVICE]
  burn image versions [--details] [--refresh] [--yaml]
  burn image ls
  burn image delete [--image=IMAGE]
  burn image get [--url=URL] [TAG...]
  burn backup [--device=DEVICE] [--to=DESTINATION]
  burn copy [--device=DEVICE] [--from=DESTINATION]
  burn shrink [--image=IMAGE]
  burn cluster --device=DEVICE --hostname=HOSTNAME
  burn create [--image=IMAGE]
  burn sdcard [TAG...] [--device=DEVICE] [-y]
  burn set [--hostname=HOSTNAME]
  burn enable ssh
  burn wifi --ssid=SSID [--passwd=PASSWD] [--country=COUNTRY]
  burn check [--device=DEVICE]
  burn mac --hostname=HOSTNAME

  -h --help              Show this screen.
  --version              Show version.
  --image=IMAGE          The image filename,
                         e.g. 2019-09-26-raspbian-buster.img
  --device=DEVICE        The device, e.g. /dev/sdX
  --hostname=HOSTNAME    The hostnames of the cluster
  --ip=IP                The IP addresses of the cluster
  --key=KEY              The name of the SSH key file
  --blocksize=BLOCKSIZE  The blocksise to burn [default: 4M]
  --burning=BURNING      The hosts to be burned

   TAG                   Keyword tags to identify an image

  This is not fully thought through and needs to be documented
    Location where the images will be stored for reuse

    cms burn create --inventory=INVENTORY --device=DEVICE --name=NAME

        Will refer to a specified cloudmesh inventory file (see cms help inventory).
        Will search the configurations for NAME inside of INVENTORY and will burn
        to DEVICE. Supports parameter expansion.

    cms burn create --passwd=PASSWD

         if the passwd flag is added the default password is
         queried from the commandline and added to all SDCards

         if the flag is omitted login via the password is
         disabled and only login via the sshkey is allowed


    cms burn network list

        Lists the ip addresses that are on the same network

         | Name       | IP            | Status   | Latency   |
         | Router     |   | up       | 0.0092s   |
         | iPhone     |   | up       | 0.061s    |
         | red01      |  | up       | 0.0077s   |
         | laptop     |  | up       | 0.058s    |
         | unkown     | | up       | 0.14s     |
         | red03      | | up       | 0.0037s   |
         | red02      | | up       | 0.0046s   |
         | red        | | up       | 0.00021s  |

    cms burn network list [--used]

        Lists the used ip addresses as a comma separated parameter


    cms burn network address

        Lists the own network address

         | Label   | Local          | Broadcast      |
         | wlan0   |   |  |

    cms burn firmware check

        Checks if the firmware on the Pi is up to date

    cms burn firmware update

        Checks and updates the firmware on the Pi

    cms burn install

        Installs a program to shrink img files. THis is
        useful, after you created a backup to make the
        backup smaller and allow faster burning in case of

        This command is not supported on MacOS

    cms burn load --device=DEVICE

        Loads the sdcard into the USB drive. Thi sis similar to
        loading a cdrom drive. It s the opposite to eject

    cms burn format --device=DEVICE

        Formats the SDCard in the specified device. Be
        careful it is the correct device.  cms burn info
        will help you to identifying it

    cms burn mount [--device=DEVICE] [--os=OS]

        Mounts the file systems available on the SDCard

    cms burn unmount [--device=DEVICE] [--os=OS]

        Unmounts the mounted file systems from the SDCard

    cms burn info [--device=DEVICE]

        Provides useful information about the SDCard

    cms burn image versions [--refresh] [--yaml]

        The images that you like to burn onto your SDCard
        can be cached locally with the image command.  The
        available images for the PI can be found when
        using the --refresh option. If you do not specify
        it it reads a copy of the image list from our

    cms burn image ls

        Lists all downloaded images in our cache. You can
        download them with the cms burn image get command

    cms burn image delete [--image=IMAGE]

        Deletes the specified image. The name can be found
        with the image ls command

    cms burn image get [--url=URL] [TAG...]

        Downloads a specific image or the latest
        image. The tag are a number of words separated by
        a space that must occur in the tag that you find
        in the versions command

    cms burn backup [--device=DEVICE] [--to=DESTINATION]

        This command requires you to install pishrink previously with

            cms burn install

        Backs up a SDCard to the given location.

    cms burn copy [--device=DEVICE] [--from=DESTINATION]

        Copies the file form the destination on the SDCard
        this is the same as the SDCard command. we will in
        future remove one

    cms burn shrink [--image=IMAGE]

        Shrinks the size of a backup or image file that
        is on your local file system. It can only be used
        for .img files

       This command is not supported on MacOS.

    cms burn create [--image=IMAGE]

        This command  not only can format the SDCard, but
        also initializes it with specific values

    cms burn sdcard [TAG...] [--device=DEVICE]

        this burns the sd card, see also copy and create

    cms burn set [--hostname=HOSTNAME]

        Sets specific values on the sdcard after it
        has ben created with the create, copy or sdcard

        a --ssh is missing from this command

    cms burn enable ssh [--mount=MOUNTPOINT]

        Enables the ssh server once it is booted

    cms burn wifi --ssid=SSID [--passwd=PASSWD] [--country=COUNTRY]

        Sets the wifi ssid and password after the card
        is created, copied, or the sdcard is used.

        The option country option expects an ISO 3166-1
        two digit country code. The default is "US" and
        the option not required if suitable. See for other

    cms burn check [--device=DEVICE]

        Lists the parameters that were set
        with the set or create command

Examples: ( \ is not shown)

   > cms burn create --image=2019-09-26-raspbian-buster-lite
   >                 --device=/dev/mmcblk0
   >                 --hostname=red[5-7]
   >                 --ip=192.168.1.[5-7]
   >                 --sshkey=id_rsa

   > cms burn image get latest

   > cms burn image get
   >   raspbian_lite/images/
   >   raspbian_lite-2018-10-11/

   > cms burn image delete 2019-09-26-raspbian-buster-lite

6.2 Manual Page for the bridge command

Note to execute the command on the commandline you have to type in cms bridge and not just bridge.

  bridge create [--interface=INTERFACE] [--ip=IP] [--dns=NAMESERVER]

  --interface=INTERFACE  The interface name [default: eth1]
                         You can also specify wlan0 if you want
                         to bridge through WIFI on the manager
                         eth0 requires a USB to WIFI adapter

  --ip=IP  The ip address to assign on the eth0 interface,
           ie. the listening interface [default:]

  --dns=NAMESERVER  The ip address of a nameserver to set
                    statically. For example, --dns=,
                    will use the google nameservers


  Command used to set up a bride so that all nodes route the traffic
  trough the manager PI.

  bridge create [--interface=INTERFACE] [--ip=IP] [--dns=NAMESERVER]
      creates the bridge on the current device.
      A reboot is required.

6.3 Manual Page for the host command

Note to execute the command on the commandline you have to type in cms host and not jsut host.

    host scp NAMES SOURCE DESTINATION [--dryrun]
    host ssh NAMES COMMAND [--dryrun] [--output=FORMAT]
    host config NAMES [IPS] [--user=USER] [--key=PUBLIC]
    host check NAMES [--user=USER] [--key=PUBLIC]
    host key create NAMES [--user=USER] [--dryrun] [--output=FORMAT]
    host key list NAMES [--output=FORMAT]
    host key gather NAMES [--authorized_keys] [FILE]
    host key scatter NAMES FILE
    host key add NAMES FILE
    host key delete NAMES FILE
    host tunnel create NAMES [--port=PORT]
    host mac NAMES [--eth] [--wlan] [--output=FORMAT]
    host setup WORKERS [LAPTOP]
    host shutdown NAMES
    host reboot NAMES

This command does some useful things.

    FILE   a file name

    --dryrun   shows what would be done but does not execute
    --output=FORMAT  the format of the output
    --port=PORT starting local port for tunnel assignment




    host ssh NAMES COMMAND

      runs the command on all specified hosts
           ssh red[01-10] "uname -a"

    host key create NAMES
      create a ~/.ssh/id_rsa and on all hosts specified
          ssh key create "red[01-10]"

    host key list NAMES

      list all keys from all hosts specifed
           ssh key list red[01-10]

    host key gather HOSTS FILE

      gathers all keys from file FILE including the one from localhost.

          ssh key gather "red[01-10]" keys.txt

    host key scatter HOSTS FILE

      copies all keys from file FILE to authorized_keys on all hosts,
      but also makes sure that the users ~/.ssh/ key is in
      the file.

      1) adds ~/ to the FILE only if its not already in it
      2) removes all duplicated keys

          ssh key scatter "red[01-10]"

    host key add NAMES FILE

      Adds all keys in FILE into the authorized_keys of NAMES.

          cms host key add worker001 ~/.ssh/

    host key delete NAMES FILE

      Deletes all keys in fILE from authorized_keys of NAMES if they exist.

          cms host key delete worker001 ~/.ssh/

    host key scp NAMES FILE

      copies all keys from file FILE to authorized_keys on all hosts
      but also makes sure that the users ~/.ssh/ key is in
      the file and removes duplicates, e.g. it calls fix before upload

          ssh key list red[01-10] > pubkeys.txt
          ssh key scp red[01-10] pubkeys.txt

    host config NAMES IPS [--user=USER] [--key=PUBLIC]

      generates an ssh config file tempalte that can be added to your
      .ssh/config file

          cms host config "red,red[01-03]" "198.168.1.[1-4]" --user=pi

    host check NAMES [--user=USER] [--key=PUBLIC]

      This command is used to test if you can login to the specified
      hosts. It executes the hostname command and compares it.
      It provides a table  with a sucess column

      cms host check "red,red[01-03]"

          | host  | success | stdout |
          | red   | True    | red    |
          | red01 | True    | red01  |
          | red02 | True    | red02  |
          | red03 | True    | red03  |

    host tunnel create NAMES [--port=PORT]

      This command is used to create a persistent local port
      forward on the host to permit ssh tunnelling from the wlan to
      the physical network (eth). This registers an autossh service in
      systemd with the defualt port starting at 8001.

          cms host tunnel create red00[1-3]

    host mac NAMES

      returns the list of mac addresses of the named pis.

    host setup WORKERS [LAPTOP]

      Executes the following steps

          cms bridge create --interface='wlan0'
          cms host key create red00[1-3]
          cms host key gather red00[1-3],you@yourlaptop.local keys.txt
          cms host key scatter red00[1-3],localhost keys.txt
          rm keys.txt
          cms host tunnel create red00[1-3]

    host shutdown NAMES

      Shutsdown NAMES with `sudo shutdown -h now`. If localhost in
      names, it is shutdown last.

    host reboot NAMES

      Reboots NAMES with `sudo reboot`. If localhost in names,
      it is rebooted last.

6.4 Manual Page for the pi command

Note to execute the command on the command line you have to type in cms pi and not just pi.

There is some very usefull aditional information about how to use the LED and temperature monitoring programs at

  pi led reset [NAMES]
  pi led (red|green) VALUE
  pi led (red|green) VALUE NAMES [--user=USER]
  pi led list NAMES [--user=USER]
  pi led blink (red|green) NAMES [--user=USER] [--rate=SECONDS]
  pi led sequence (red|green) NAMES [--user=USER] [--rate=SECONDS]
  pi temp NAMES [--rate=SECONDS] [--user=USER] [--output=FORMAT]
  pi free NAMES [--rate=SECONDS] [--user=USER] [--output=FORMAT]
  pi load NAMES [--rate=SECONDS] [--user=USER] [--output=FORMAT]
  pi wifi SSID [PASSWORD] [--dryrun]
  pi script list SERVICE [--details]
  pi script list SERVICE NAMES
  pi script list

    NAMES       The hostnames in parameterized form
    VALUE       The Values are on, off, 0, 1
    USER        The user name for a login
    SSID        The ssid of your WIfi
    PASSWORD    The assword for the WIFI

     -v               verbose mode
     --output=OUTPUT  the format in which this list is given
                      formats includes cat, table, json, yaml,
                      dict. If cat is used, it is just print
     --user=USER      the user name
     --rate=SECONDS   repeats the quere given by the rate in seconds


      This command allows to set the leds on the PI board and return
      information about the PIs such as temperature, memory space and
      load. It also allows to set the wifi for the PI.

      The most important part of this command is that it executes it not
      only on ome pi but multiple. The hostnames are defined by a parameterized
      notation. red0[1-2] results in red01 and red02.

      The script command are not yet completed and is under development

      The script commands can be used as an alternative to shell scripts.
      They are predefined scripts that can be run easily vai the command
      The script commands are listing details. This is useful as they are
      distributed with the cloudmesh shell. Thus no additional files are

      At this time we do not define any predefined scripts.


      This command switches on and off the LEDs of the specified
      PIs. If the hostname is omitted. It is assumed that the
      code is executed on a PI and its LED are set. To list the
      PIs LED status you can use the list command

      cms pi led list  "red,red[01-03]"

          lists the LED status of the given hosts

      cms pi led red off  "red,red[01-03]"

          switches off the led of the given PIs

      cms pi led red on  "red,red[01-03]"

          switches on the led of the given PIs

      cms pi led red blink  "red,red[01-03]"

          switches on and off the led of the given PIs

      cms pi led red sequence  "red,red[01-03]"

          goes in sequential order and switches on and off
          the led of the given PIs

      To showcase information about temperature free space an load
      you can ues

          pi temp "red,red[01-03]"
          pi free "red,red[01-03]"
          pi load "red,red[01-03]"

      To set the WIFI use (where SSID is your ssid). The command
      requires a reboot to activate the WIfi.

          pi wifi SSID

      The script commands are not yet implemented

          pi script list SERVICE [--details]
          pi script list SERVICE NAMES
          pi script list

6.4 Manual Page for the ssh command

Note to execute the command on the command line you have to type in cms ssh and not just ssh.

THis command is used to easily add and remove entries to the ~/.ssh/config file via the commandline

    ssh config list [--output=OUTPUT]
    ssh config add NAME IP [USER] [KEY]
    ssh config delete NAME
    ssh host delete NAME
    ssh host add NAME
    ssh [--name=VMs] [--user=USERs] [COMMAND]

  NAME        Name or ip of the machine to log in
  list        Lists the machines that are registered and
              the commands to login to them
  PARAMETERS  Register te resource and add the given
              parameters to the ssh config file.  if the
              resource exists, it will be overwritten. The
              information will be written in /.ssh/config

   -v                verbose mode
   --output=OUTPUT   the format in which this list is given
                     formats includes cat, table, json, yaml,
                     dict. If cat is used, it is just printed as
                     is. [default: table]
   --user=USERs      overwrites the username that is
                     specified in ~/.ssh/config
   --name=CMs        the names of the VMS to execute the
                     command on

    ssh config list
        lists the hostsnames that are present in the
        ~/.ssh/config file

    ssh config add NAME IP [USER] [KEY]
        registers a host i ~/.ssh/config file
        Parameters are attribute=value pairs
        Note: Note yet implemented

    ssh [--name=VMs] [--user=USERs] [COMMAND]
        executes the command on the named hosts. If user is
        specified and is greater than 1, it must be specified for
        each vm. If only one username is specified it is used for
        all vms. However, as the user is typically specified in the
        cloudmesh database, you probably do not have to specify
        it as it is automatically found.


     ssh config add blue blue

         Adds the following to the !/.ssh/config file

         Host blue
              User blue
              IdentityFile ~/.ssh/

7. FAQ and Hints

Here, we provide some useful FAQs and hints.

7.1 Quickstart for a Setup of a cluster from macOS or Linux with no burning on a PI.

This will setup the same cluster seen in Quickstart for Bridged WiFi. Pi imager and a manual manager pi setup is not required using this method. It will use the latest Pi OS images, full for master, and lite for workers.

7.1.1 Prerequisites

7.1.2 Install Cloudmesh

Create a Python virtual environment ENV3 in which to install cloudmesh. This will keep cloudmesh and its dependencies separate from your default environment.

Always make sure to source this environment when working with cloudmesh.

you@laptop:~ $ python -m venv ~/ENV3
you@laptop:~ $ source ~/ENV3/bin/activate 
(ENV3) you@laptop:~ $ mkdir cm
(ENV3) you@laptop:~ $ cd cm
(ENV3) you@laptop:~/cm $ pip install cloudmesh-installer
(ENV3) you@laptop:~/cm $ cloudmesh-installer get pi 

7.1.3 Create a Cluster

Here, we demonstarte how to burn 1 manager and 2 worker SD Cards. The manager is called red, the workers are red001 and red002.

Step 1. Identify the SD card device

Plug in a sd card reader with sd card to the laptop and identify the device. In Linux it is /dev/sdX in macOS it is /dev/diskX.

(ENV3) you@laptop:~ $ cms burn info 
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------
# SD Cards Found
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------

| Path     | Info                                         | Formatted   | Size             | Plugged-in   | Readable   | Empty   | Access   | Removable   | Writeable   |
| /dev/diskX | Generic- USB3.0 CRW-SD/MS 1.00 PQ: 0 ANSI: 6 | True        | 
64.1 GB/59.7 GiB | True         | True       | False   | True     | True        | True        |

Step 2. Burn the SD cards

You will be prompted to input your wifi password for your SSID when runing the command below.

(ENV3) you@laptop:~ $ cms burn cluster --device=/dev/diskX --hostname="red,red00[1-2]" --ssid=SSID

Step 3. Boot the cluster and complete setup of cloudmesh and all ssh access

Plug in the SD Cards in the PI's and start them up. It will take at least 60 seconds for them to boot for the first time.

Now login to the manager with

(ENV3) you@laptop:~ $ ssh pi@red.local

On the manager you call the follwoing commands

pi@red:~ $ curl -Ls | sh -
pi@red:~ $ sudo reboot
(ENV3) pi@red:~ $ cms host setup red00[1-2] you@laptop.local 

Copy the specified command output to your ~/.ssh/config file on your laptop. W weill soon have a command that will add them for you without using an editor.

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------
# copy to ~/.ssh/config on remote host (i.e laptop)
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Host red
     HostName red.local
     User pi

Host red001
     HostName red.local
     User pi
     Port 8001

Host red002
     HostName red.local
     User pi
     Port 8002

Let us test by running a command from the laptop to get the Pis' temperatures.

(ENV3) you@laptop:~ $ cms pi temp red,red00[1-2]              
pi temp red,red00[1-2]
| host   |    cpu |   gpu | date                       |
| red    | 50.147 |  50.1 | 2021-02-18 21:10:05.942494 |
| red001 | 51.608 |  51.6 | 2021-02-18 21:10:06.153189 |
| red002 | 45.764 |  45.7 | 2021-02-18 21:10:06.163067 |

7.2 Quickstart for Using a Pi to Burn a Cluster Using Inventory

In this guide, we will show how you can configure a Cloudmesh Inventory to easily burn a cluster of SD cards as well as configure the current Pi as the manager if desired.

We will follow the same network setup as the Bridged Wifi explained in a previous section (see Figure 1).

The requirements for this guide are the same as the Quickstart for Bridged WiFi.

7.2.1 Initial Manager Setup

Ensure you have burned an SD card from your laptop using Raspberry Pi Imager. Ensure you burn the card with Raspberry Pi OS 32-bit with desktop and recommended applications. This will serve as our manager.

Once you have burned your manager card, plug this into a Raspberry Pi. Connect this Pi to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor and boot. Walk through the initial setup prompt to rename your Pi's hostname to managerpi as well as connect to Wifi. You should also change your password in doing so.

If you are logged in via SSH, you may accomplish the above with sudo raspi-config. For more information on setups, see Manager Pi Setup

From here, we assume your Pi hostname is managerpi.

Once you have gone through this, you may install cloudmesh and configure your system with the following:

pi@managerpi:~ $ curl -Ls | sh -

Reboot after this script

pi@managerpi:~ $ sudo reboot

7.2.2 Creating our inventory

For this guide, we will create two workers for managerpi. We can do this as follows:

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms inventory create --manager=managerpi --workers=red00[2-3] --ip=,10.1.1.[2-3]  --inventory="cluster.yaml" --keyfile=~/.ssh/ latest-lite

We can then use the following to list the entries of our inventory.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms inventory list --inventory=cluster.yaml
inventory list --inventory=cluster.yaml
| host      | name      | type | tag         | cluster | label | service | services | ip       | dns | project | owners | comment | description | keyfile           | status   |
| managerpi | managerpi |      | latest-lite | cluster |       | manager |          | |     |         |        |         |             | ~/.ssh/ | inactive |
| red002 | red002 |      | latest-lite | cluster |       | worker  |          | |     |         |        |         |             | ~/.ssh/ | inactive |
| red003 | red003 |      | latest-lite | cluster |       | worker  |          | |     |         |        |         |             | ~/.ssh/ | inactive |

7.2.3 Burning SD Cards using Inventory

First, verify that you have plugged in your SD card writer with an SD card into the managerpi. For this guide, we will simply use one SD card burner to burn both SD cards.

Verify your SD card is detected with the following:

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms burn info
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------
# SD Cards Found
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------

| Path     | Info                   | Formatted   | Size             | Plugged-in   | Readable   | Empty   | Access   | Removable   | Writeable   |
| /dev/sdb | Generic STORAGE DEVICE | True        | 64.1 GB/59.7 GiB | True         | True       | False   | True     | True        | True        |

Some information has been ommitted from cms burn info for simplicity

Note your device. In our case, it is /dev/sdb. Of course, on your machine it may vary.

We can now burn our cards as follows:

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms burn create --inventory=cluster.yaml --name=managerpi,red00[2-3] --device=/dev/sdb

Manager hostname is the same as this system's hostname. Is this intended? (Y/n) Y
Do you wish to configure this system as a WiFi bridge? A restart is required after this command terminates (Y/n) Y

# Cut out output of burn command for simplicity

INFO: Burned card 1

INFO: Please remove the card

Slot /dev/sdb needs to be reused. Do you wish to continue? [y/n] y
Insert next card and press enter...

# Cut out output of burn command for simplicity

INFO: Burned card 2

INFO: Please remove the card

INFO: You burned 2 SD Cards
Done :)

Note that in this example, the hostname of the manager passed into cms burn create is the same as the current system's hostname. This is intentnional (as indicated by our Y choice) and we are also configuring the managerpi as a bridge (as indicated by our `)

We must now reboot the manager.

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ sudo reboot

7.2.4 Booting Up Workers and Verifying Connection

Insert the burned worker cards into the worker Pis and boot.

With the following command, you can verify connection to your workers:

(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms pi temp red002
pi temp red002
| host   |    cpu |   gpu | date                       |
| red002 | 37.485 |  37.4 | 2021-02-20 00:47:19.212921 |

7.3 Can I use the LEDs on the PI Motherboard?

Typically this LED is used to communicate some system-related information. However cms pi can control it to switch status on and off. This is helpful if you like to showcase a particular state in the PI. Please look at the manual page. An example is

$ cms pi led red off HOSTNAME

that when executed on the PI (on which you also must have cms installed you switch the red LED off. For more options see the manual page

7.4 How can I use pycharm, to edit files or access files in general from my Laptop on the PI?

This is easily possible with the help of SSHFS. To install it we refer you to See also: SSHFS: add the manager to .ssh/config on the local machine

Let us assume you like to edit files on a PI that you named red

Please create a `./.ssh/config file that contains the following:

 Host red
      User pi
      IdentityFile ~/.ssh/

Now let us create a directory in which we mount the remote PI directories in our case we mount the directory cm

mkdir redcm
sshfs red:/home/pi/cm  redcm -o auto_cache

To unmount the filesystem use on LInux

$ fusermount -u redcm

and on macOS

umount redcm

If you need other directories, pleas apply our strategy accordingly

7.5 How can I enhance the get script?

Instead of using the link

please use

This allows us to test also modifications to the get script before we push them to the official community repository.

You can create a pull request at

7.6 Can I use a Mesh Network for the setup?

This section is still under development.

In case you have a Mesh Network, the setup can typically be even more simple as we can attach the unmanaged router directly to a Mesh node via a network cable. In that case, the node is directly connected to the internet and uses the DHCP feature from the Mesh router (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Networking with Mesh network

You will not need the bridge command to setup the network.

7.7 Can I use cms burn on Linux?

Not everything is supported.

To download the latest Raspberry Pi OS Lite image use

cms burn image get latest-lite

To see what SDCard writers you have attached, you can use the command

cms burn info

It will issue a probe of USB devices and see if SDCards can be found.

Identify the /dev/sdX, where X is a letter such as b,c,d, ... It will likely never be sda.

To test it use

sudo apt-get install pv
cms burn info
cms burn sdcard --dev=/dev/sdX
cms burn mount --device=/dev/sdX
cms burn enable ssh
cms burn unmount

Take the SDCard into the PI and set it up there as documented.

For the full features, please use cms burn create instead of cms burn sdcard

7.8 What packages do I need to run the info command on macOS

brew install libusb

Access to ext4: For the more advanced features of burn you will need full write access to the ext4 partition on your SDCard that is created when you burn it. Unfortunately, the tools that used to be freely available seem no longer to work properly, so you could use extFS for Mac by Paragon Software which does cost $40 for a license.

For this reason, we recommend that you first set up the manager PI and do all burning on the manager PI.

7.9 Are there any unit tests?

As cms burn may delete and format files and disks/SD Cards during unit testing users are supposed to first review the tests before running them. Please look at the source and see if you can run a test.

We have the following tests:

  • pytest -v --capture=no tests/

    • This test removes files from ~/.cloudmesh/cmburn/images
    • See also:
  • TODO: add the other tests

7.10 Using Pi Imager to setup a Manager Pi with headless access

This FAQ will provide step-by-step instructions for burning and accessing a headless manager pi. We include instructions for either wifi access to the pi or local ethernet connection.

If you have restricted WIFI that requires you to register you devices MAC address via a web browser (such as a campus or hotel wifi access page), you might not be able to continue with a headless setup. In this case, we recommend that you use your Laptop as a "hotspot" and connect the PI to it.

This FAQ references instructions from and

Step 1.

Download and install the Pi Imager software from <https://www.>.

Step 2.

Launch the Pi Imager software, insert a SD card reader and SD card into your laptop.

Step 3.

Choose the OS in the Pi Imager interface. We will use **Raspberry Pi OS (32-BIT) with the Raspberry Pi desktop.

Step 4.

Choose the SD card in the Pi Imager interface. If you do not see an SD card and a reader is plugged into your laptop, remove and re-insert the sd card reader.

Step 5.

Push the 'Write' button and confirm the settings to burn the OS to your SD card. You may need to put in the SUDO password to burn the card. This will take some time. USB 3.0 devices are faster than USB 2.0. Make sure your cable is USB 3.0 as well.

Step 6.

Mount the SD card. This can be accomplished easily in Linux by unplugging and replugging in the device. On Pi and Linux you should see the boot partition at /media/$USER/boot (where user is you username) and on MacOS at /Volumes/boot. I will use Linux for the example. Substitute as required for MacOS.

Step 7.

Enable SSH access to the SD card. At the command prompt

you@yourlaptop:~ $ cd /media/$USER/boot
you@yourlaptop:~ $ touch /media/$USER/boot/ssh

This creates an empty file named ssh in the boot partition. On the first boot, this enables the SSH service, and then an empty ssh file will be automatically deleted.

Step 8.

If you only have wireless access to your Pi. You need to setup the wireless configuration.

If you have restricted WIFI that requires you to register you devices MAC address via a web browser (think hotel wifi access page), you might not be able to continue with a headless setup.

Otherwise, you can continue without this step if you have ethernet access between your laptop and pi (either via switch or direct cable). After plugging into a shared switch with the Pi, or directly to it, you will need to make sure you see a link local address on your ethernet port on your laptop. It should look something like 169.254.X.X. If you do not see this investigate how to setup a link local ip on your OS.

you@yourlaptop:/media/$USER/boot $ nano /media/$USER/boot/wpa_supplicant.conf

#Insert this into the file and save (CTRL-X, Y, Enter).

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
country=<Insert 2 letter ISO 3166-1 country code here e.g. US>

 ssid="<Name of your wireless LAN>"
 psk="<Password for your wireless LAN>"

Step 9.

Unmount and eject the SD card.

you@yourlaptop:~ $ sudo umount /media/$USER/boot
you@yourlaptop:~ $ sudo umount /media/$USER/rootfs

Step 10.

Boot a pi with the SD card. Wait a few minutes and try to access it via SSH. Use the Raspi OS default username "pi" and "raspberry".

you@yourlaptop:~ $ ssh pi@raspberrypi.local

Step 11.

Change the password.

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ passwd

Step 12.

Change the hostname on the pi.

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo raspi-config
<1. System Options>
<S4 Hostname>
Would you like to reboot?

Step 13.

Wait a minute or two and reconnect. Now using the new hostname.

you@yourlaptop:~ $ ssh pi@managerpi.local

Step 14.

You are all done. You are ready to proceed with Quickstart for Bridged WiFi. You will now witness the magic of how cms burn automates this process for you.

pi@managerpi:~ $ 

7.11 Single Card Burning

Step 0. Ensure the SD card is inserted.

We can run cms burn info again as we did above to verify our SD card is connected.

Step 1. Burning the SD Card

Choose a hostname for your card. We will use red001 with ip The IP address is reserved for the burner pi (ie. managerpi).

Note we are using the subnet in this guide. We currently recommend you do the same, otherwise the WiFi bridge will not configure correctly. We will change this in the future to support other Private IP Ranges


(ENV3) pi@managerpi:~ $ cms burn create --hostname=red001 --ip= --device=/dev/sda --tag=latest-lite

Wait for the card to burn. Once the process is complete, it is safe to remove the SD card.

We can now proceed to the bridge setup

7.12 How to update firmware?

To update the firmware reference the raspi documentation

Or follow the simple instructions below.

pi@managerpi:~ $ sudo apt update
pi@managerpi:~ $ sudo apt full-upgrade
pi@managerpi:~ $ sudo reboot
pi@managerpi:~ $ sudo rpi-eeprom-update -a
pi@managerpi:~ $ sudo reboot

7.13 Alternatives

There are several alternatives to make the setup easier:

  • Using Ansible after you have created the SDCards via PIImager. This however requires still the discovery of the hosts on the network and additional steps.
  • PiBakery can burn cards while allowing startup scripts and naming hosts. Although the GUI is nice it is also a limiting factor as each card should have a different hostname
  • Using DHCP to get IP addresses automatically. This is a solution we also used but do not present here
  • PXE or network booting which allows you to boot from the network. For larger PI clusters this requires multiple Servers so that the network is not overwhelmed. Starting the cluster takes much longer.

7.14 How do I scann for WIFI networks?

sudo iwlist wlan0 scan

7.15 What is the status of the implementation?

Feature PI Ubuntu Mac Windows
image versions + + +
image ls + + +
image delete + + +
image get + + +
info + + +
network + +
backup + + +
copy + +
shrink install + +
shrink + +
sdcard + + +
mount + + +
unmount + + +
enable ssh + + +
wifi + + +
set + + +
create TODO (1) (1)
cluster NA + +
check + + +
format + + +
cluster NA + +
firmware + NA NA NA
  • (1) use the cluster command instead

  • for macOS, only the image commands have unit tests

  • firmware does not have a unit test

  • empty = not yet implemented or teste, an implementation could be provided by the community

    • = broken
  • NA = Not applicable for this OS

  • TODO1 = todo for boot fs, rootfs not supported

7.16 I run into a Kernal Panic on my burned Pi. What do I do?

Occassionally, one may run into an error similar to the following:

Kernel panic-not syncing: VFS: unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(179,2)

See here for more information on this bug.

This error has been reported in the past. A simple reburn using cms burn tends to resolve the issue.

7.17 How do I enable password login?

The option --set_passwd in cms burn cluster enables you to securely enter a password to prevent the password disable.

The option [--passwd=PASSWD] is used with cms burn create todo the same thing. Note entering the passwd in the command is optional.If empty you will be prompted.

7.18 Becuase I am using and sd card extender, I need to set a cmdline argument to force 3.3V SD card operation.

You can set an arbitray command line argument with

cms burn set --cmdline=CMDLINE

To force 3.3V operation to enable the use of an SD card extender use

cms burn set--cmdline=sdhci.quirks2=4

8. How can I contribute Contributing

The code uses a variety of cloudmesh components. This mainly includes

Additional cloudmesh components are used. For example:


Continued work was in part funded by the NSF CyberTraining: CIC: CyberTraining for Students and Technologies from Generation Z with the awadrd numbers 1829704 and 2200409.


Burns many SD cards so we can build a Raspberry PI cluster







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