Skip to content
EVE is Edge Virtualization Engine
Branch: master
Clone or download
ppal-zededa and rvs Remove trailing white space / tab
Signed-off-by: Prosenjit Pal <>
Latest commit 45505ac Jul 23, 2019

EVE is Edge Virtualization Engine

CircleCI Goreport Godoc

EVE aims to develop an open, agnostic and standardized architecture unifying the approach to developing and orchestrating cloud-native applications across the enterprise on-premises edge. It offers users new levels of control through hardware-assisted virtualization of on-prem edge devices. Once installed, EVE has direct access to and control of underlying resources and provides standard APIs that allow more efficient use of resources and can effectively partition hardware to increase workload consolidation and application multi-tenancy.

EVE supports both ARM and Intel architectures and requires hardware-assisted virtualization. While EVE can run on a board as small as a $20 Orange Pi, the sweet spot for its deployment are IoT Gateways and Industrial PCs.

To get its job done, EVE leverages a lot of great open source projects: Xen Project, Linuxkit and Alpine Linux just to name a few. All of that functionality is being orchestrated by the Go microservices available under pkg/pillar. Why pillar? Well, because pillar is the kind of a monolith we need to break out into true, individual microservices under pkg/.

How to use

You will need qemu 3.x+ (, Docker ( and go 1.12+ ( installed in your system.

Note, that since Linuxkit and manifest-tool are evolving pretty rapidly, we're vendoring those under build-tools/src. This means you don't have to have them locally installed, but it also means your first build time will be much longer.

If you're on MacOS the following steps should get you all the dependencies:

  1. Get Go:
  1. Get Docker:
  1. Make sure brew is installed:
  1. Brew install qemu.
$ brew install qemu

Make sure that Docker is up and running on your system. On MacOS just start a docker Application, on Linux make sure docker service is running. Regardless of how you start Docker you can make sure that it is ready for you by running the following command and making sure that it returns both a version of the client AND a version of the server:

docker version

EVE requires beeing built in Git repository (the tools keep looking up git commit IDs). The easiest way is to clone EVE repository from GitHub:

git clone
cd eve

Build both the build-tools as well as the live image in the source directory:

make build-tools
make live

This will download the relevant dockers from docker hub and create a bootable image 'dist//live.img'.

Please note that not all containers will be fetched from the docker hub. mkimage-raw-efi in particular will be built.

Also, keep in mind that since the initial build fetches a LOT of bits over the network it may occasionally time out and fail. Typically re-running make fixes the issue. If it doesn't you can attempt a local build of all the required EVE packages first by running:

make pkgs

Finally run the resulting image by typing make run. This will launch qemu with some default assumptions.

Once the image boots you can interact with it either by using the console (right there in the terminal window from which make run was executed). Your shell in the console is connected to the 'host' os. Everything interesting is actually happening in the pillar container. Use eve enter command to enter it (or if you're comfortable with ctr CLI from containerd - use that instead).

Once in a container you can run the usual xl commands to start VMs and interact with Xen.

Custom Config Partition

As described in and, a booting EVE looks in its config partition to determine:

  • the URL to a Controller
  • hostnames to add to the /etc/hosts file
  • certificates to trust

When run in an emulator using make run, you can override the built-in /config partition by passing it the path of a directory to mount as that partition:

make run CONF_PART=/path/to/partition

Note that the directory must exist to be mounted; if not, it will be ignored. The most common use case is a config directory output on the run of adam.

How to use on an ARM board

While running everything on your laptop with qemu could be fun, nothing beats real hardware. The most cost-effective option, not surprisingly, is ARM. We recommend using HiKey board Once you acquire the board you will need to build an installer image by running (note that if you're building it on an ARM server you can drop ZARCH=arm64 part):

make ZARCH=arm64 installer

and then flashing it onto an SD card. For example, here's how you can do the flashing on Mac OS X (where XXX is the name of your SD card as shown by diskutil list):

diskutil list
diskutil umountDisk /dev/rdiskXXX
sudo dd if=dist/arm64/installer.raw of=/dev/rdiskXXX bs=1m
diskutil eject /dev/rdiskXXX

Since by default HiKey is using WiFi for all its networking, you will also have to provide SSID and password for your WiFi network. On Mac OS X you can simply re-insert SD card and edit wpa_supplicant.conf that will appear on volume called EVE.

At this point you have everything you need to permanently install onto HiKey's internal flash. This, of course, will mean that if you have anything else installed there (like a Debian or Android OS) it will be replaced so make sure to make a backup if you nee to.

Additionally, our installer will try to configure an entry point to the initial boot sequence via GRUB. Since the only reliable way to do so is by replacing a file called fastboot.efi in the system boot partition you need to make sure that you have fastboot.efi present there (since if isn't there installer will refuse to proceed). The easiest way to check for all that is to invoke an EFI shell on HiKey. Here's how: put the SD card into the KiKey, connect HiKey to your serial port, start screen, poweron HiKey and immediately start pressing <ESC> key to trigger EFI shell:

screen /dev/tty.usbserial-* 115200

[1] fastboot
[2] boot from eMMC
[3] boot from SD card
[4] Shell
[5] Boot Manager
Start: 4
Press ESC in 4 seconds to skip startup.nsh or any other key to continue.

Shell> ls fs2:\EFI\BOOT\fastboot.efi
Shell> setsize 1 fs2:\EFI\BOOT\fastboot.efi

NOTE: you only need to execute the last (setsize) command if, for whatever reason, the previous command doesn't show fastboot.efi present on your system. Once you've either verified that there's an existing fastboot.efi (or created a dummy one via the setsize command) you can proceed with the rest of the installation from the same EFI shell by executing:

Shell> fs0:\EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI

You will see an installation sequence scroll on screen and the output that indicates a successful install will look like this:

[   85.717414]  mmcblk0: p1 p2 p3 p4 p5 p6 p7 p8 p11
[   87.420407]  mmcblk0: p1 p2 p3 p4 p5 p6 p7 p8 p11 p12
[  118.754353]  mmcblk0: p1 p2 p3 p4 p5 p6 p7 p8 p11 p12 p13
[  119.801805]  mmcblk0: p1 p2 p3 p4 p5 p6 p7 p8 p11 p12 p13 p14
[  120.992048]  mmcblk0: p1 p2 p3 p4 p5 p6 p7 p8 p11 p12 p13 p14 p19
[  127.191119] reboot: Power down
(XEN) Hardware Dom0 halted: halting machine

At this point you should remove your SD card from HiKey's slot and reboot the board. If everything went as planned you will boot right into the running system. One thing that you will notice is that a successful installation sequence made a backup copy of your existing fastboot.efi under the fastboot.efi.XXX name. This allows you to restore your HiKey to a pristine state without going through a full fledged re-flashing sequence.

Alternatively, if you're not quite ready to commit to replace your current OS on the HiKey, you can try running from the SD card. For that you will have to put a live system on the SD card, not the installer. Here's how you can do that on Mac OS X:

vi conf/wpa_supplicant.conf
  # put your WIFI passwords in and/or add your own networks
make ZARCH=arm64 MEDIA_SIZE=8192 live
sudo dd if=dist/arm64/live.raw of=/dev/rdiskXXX bs=1m

Then you can boot into a live system from triggering UEFI shell like shown above and executing exactly the same boot command:

Shell> fs0:\EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI

How to use on an AMD board

The following steps have been tested on Intel UP Squared Board (AAEON UP-APL01) and the bootable USB Disk containing the installer image has been made on Ubuntu 16.04.

git clone
cd eve
sudo make ZARCH=amd64 installer

Find the device using

fdisk -l

Now format the USB Disk and run the following commands

sudo umount /dev/sdXXX
sudo dd if=dist/amd64/installer.raw of=/dev/sdXXX

Now plug the USB Disk on your UP Squared Board and the installer should now replace the existing OS on the UP Squared board with EVE.

You will see an installation sequence scroll on screen and the output that indicates a successful install will look like this:

[10.69716164] mmcblk0:
[11.915943]   mmcblk0: p1
[13.606346]   mmcblk0: p1 p2
[29.656563]   mmcblk0: p1 p2 p3
[30.876806]   mmcblk0: p1 p2 p3 p4
[32.156930]   mmcblk0: p1 p2 p3 p4 p9
NOTICE: Device will now power off. Remove the USB stick and power it back on to complete the installation.
[43.185325]   ACPI: Preparing to enter system sleep state S5
[43.187349]   reboot: Power down

At this point you should remove your USB Disk from the UP Squared Board slot and reboot the board. If everything went as planned you will boot right into the running system.

A quick note on linuxkit: you may be wondering why do we have a container-based architecture for a Xen-centric environment. First of all, OCI containers are a key type of a workload for our platform. Which means having OCI environment to run them is a key requirement. We do plan to run them via Stage 1 Xen down the road, but while that isn't integrated fully we will be simply relying on containerd. In addition to that, while we plan to build a fully disagregated system (with even device drivers running in their separate domains) right now we are just getting started and having containers as a first step towards full disagreagation seems like a very convenient stepping stone.

Let us know what you think by filing GitHub issues, and feel free to send us pull requests if something doesn't quite work.

You can’t perform that action at this time.