Running a dockeri'zed full node on a Raspberry Pi 4

In this guide we'll learn:

  • How to install a Raspberry Pi 4
  • How to run a docker'ized instance of Alephium full node

How to install a Raspberry Pi 4

This first section will detail my personal way of installing Ubuntu 20.04 server on a Raspberry Pi 4. It requires to have a Raspberry Pi 4 (obviously), a SD Card (8 GB is the minimum) and an SD Card reader to flash the SD Card. It will be illustrated using shell command from macOS, but you'll find the equivalent in Windows.

Getting ready for the hard work

First of all we will configure the installation Ubuntu. We're using cloud-init for that since it is built in Ubuntu 20.04 and above. This configuration creates a user (different from the ubuntu default) and installs a few packages.

Configure the boot

Put the snippet below in a file named user-data.yml and save it. This one creates a user alephium with the password installfest2021. You can customize the content of this file if you know what you're doing.


hostname: alephium

ssh_pwauth: true

  - name: alephium
    gecos: "alephium"
    shell: /bin/bash
    groups: adm,sudo,docker
    plain_text_passwd: installfest2021
    lock_passwd: false
    chpasswd: { expire: false }
#    ssh_authorized_keys: # Optionally ad ssh key here, if you don't want the password.
#      - ssh-ed25519 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  - apt-transport-https
  - ca-certificates
  - curl
  - gnupg-agent
  - software-properties-common
  - git
  - openssh-server
  - docker-compose

  - systemctl start docker
  - systemctl enable docker

package_update: true
package_upgrade: true

  mode: reboot

Flash the SD Card

Now, we'll flash the SD Card including this file user-data.yml.

I'm using the tool flash for this, which does most of the hard work for you.

curl -LO
chmod +x flash

./flash --userdata user-data.yml

The command above will ask for confirmation that /dev/disk2 is the SD Card and not your harddrive, and will ask your password because flashing a SD Card requires admin privileges.

Once the command above completes, you can insert the SD Card in your Raspberry Pi and turn it on. It takes a handful of minutes for the first boot to execute fully, and your Raspberry Pi is ready to be used. Once the node is ready, you can ssh into it using alephium as username, and installfest2021 as password!

ssh alephium@alephium

If alephium host is unknown, you'll have to search for the IP address of the node, most likely on your router configuration app/page.

And that's it, your Raspberry Pi is running Ubuntu 20.04 with Docker, and is ready to run an Alephium full node.


Raspberry pi 4

How to run a docker'ized instance of Alephium full node

This second section is not specific to a Raspberry Pi, but can be generalized to any server/vm/computer with SSH access. We will run the most basic version of a Alephium full node using docker, and then iterate to make our setup more convenient to work with.

As a pre-requisite of this section, we must have a server with SSH access, and more precisely running Ubuntu 20.04 or more recent. The previous section explains how to do that with a Raspberry Pi, but an AWS EC2 instance would also do the job.

Connect to the server

This should be an easy step, using the ssh command. Run:

ssh alephium@alephium

Installing docker and docker-compose

Let's install docker and docker-compose quickly, so that we'll be all set to run the Alephium full node.

Once ssh'ed, run the following commands:

sudo apt install -y docker-compose

Great, docker should be running:

docker ps

Run the full node

Now we can run the full node, in a single line, as follow:

docker run -it --rm -p 12973:12973 --name alephium alephium/alephium:v1.1.6


Docker-compose is a bit more convenient way of running a container, especially if the command starts to contain volumes, more ports, environment variables, etc...

So, below is the service definition you can put in a docker-compose.yml file, and simply call docker-compose up -d to start your full node from this definition.

version: "3"
    image: "alephium/alephium:v1.1.6"
    restart: unless-stopped
      - 9973:9973/tcp
      - 9973:9973/udp
      - 10973:10973/tcp
      - 12973:12973/tcp