Installing VOLTTRON

Install Required Software

Ensure that all the required packages are installed.

Clone VOLTTRON source code

From version 6.0 VOLTTRON supports two message bus - ZMQ and RabbitMQ. For the latest build use the develop branch. For a more conservative branch please use the master branch.

git clone --branch <branch name>

For other options see: Getting VOLTTRON

Setup virtual environment

The VOLTTRON project includes a bootstrap script which automatically downloads dependencies and builds VOLTTRON. The script also creates a Python virtual environment for use by the project which can be activated after bootstrapping with . env/bin/activate. This activated Python virtual environment should be used for subsequent bootstraps whenever there are significant changes. The system’s Python need only be used on the initial bootstrap.

Steps for ZMQ

cd <volttron clone directory>
source env/bin/activate

Proceed to Testing the Installation.

Steps for RabbitMQ

1. Install Erlang version >= 21

For RabbitMQ based VOLTTRON, some of the RabbitMQ specific software packages have to be installed. If you are running an Debian or CentOS system, you can install the RabbitMQ dependencies by running the rabbit dependencies script, passing in the os name and approriate distribution as a parameter. The following are supported

  • debian bionic (for Ubuntu 18.04)
  • debian xenial (for Ubuntu 16.04)
  • debian xenial (for Linux Mint 18.04)
  • debian stretch (for Debian Stretch)
  • centos 7 (for CentOS 7)
  • centos 6 (for CentOS 6)

Example command

./scripts/ debian xenial


You can download and install Erlang from Erlang Solution Please include OTP/components - ssl, public_key, asn1, and crypto. Also lock version of Erlang using the yum-plugin-versionlock

2. Configure hostname

Rabbitmq requires a valid hostname to start. Use the command hostname on your linux machine to verify if a valid hostname is set. If not add a valid hostname to the file /etc/hostname. You would need sudo access to edit this file If you want your rabbitmq instance to be reachable externally, then a hostname should be resolvable to a valid ip. In order to do this you need to have a entry in /etc/hosts file. For example, the below shows a valid /etc/hosts file localhost myhost externally_visible_hostname

After the edit, logout and log back in for the changes to take effect.

If you are testing with VMs make please make sure to provide unique host names for each of the VM you are using.


If you change /etc/hostname after setting up rabbitmq (<refer to the step that does vcfg –rabbbitmq single), you will have to regenerate certificates and restart RabbitMQ.


RabbitMQ startup error would show up in system log (/var/log/messages) file and not in RabbitMQ logs ($RABBITMQ_HOME/var/log/rabbitmq/rabbitmq@hostname.log where $RABBITMQ_HOME is <install dir>/rabbitmq_server-3.7.7)

3. Bootstrap

Install the required software by running the bootstrap script with –rabbitmq option

cd volttron

# --help will show you all of the "package options" such as
# installing required packages for volttron central or the platform agent.

python --rabbitmq [optional install directory defaults to

This will build the platform and create a virtual Python environment and dependencies for RabbitMQ. It also installs RabbitMQ server as the current user. If an install path is provided, path should exists and be writeable. RabbitMQ will be installed under <install dir>/rabbitmq_server-3.7.7 Rest of the documentation refers to the directory <install dir>/rabbitmq_server-3.7.7 as $RABBITMQ_HOME

You can check if RabbitMQ server is installed by checking it’s status.

$RABBITMQ_HOME/sbin/rabbitmqctl status

Please note, RABBITMQ_HOME environment variable can be set in ~/.bashrc. If doing so, it needs to be set to RabbitMQ installation directory (default path is <user_home>/rabbitmq_server/rabbitmq_server-3.7.7)

echo 'export RABBITMQ_HOME=$HOME/rabbitmq_server/rabbitmq_server-3.7.7'|tee --append ~/.bashrc | source ~/.bashrc
# Reload the environment variables in the current shell
source ~/.bashrc

4. Activate the environment

source env/bin/activate

5. Create RabbitMQ setup for VOLTTRON

vcfg --rabbitmq single [optional path to rabbitmq_config.yml]

Refer to examples/configurations/rabbitmq/rabbitmq_config.yml for a sample configuration file. At a minimum you would need to provide the host name and a unique common-name (under certificate-data) in the configuration file. Note. common-name must be unique and the general conventions is to use -root-ca.

Running the above command without the optional configuration file parameter will prompt user for all the needed data at the command prompt and use that to generate a rabbitmq_config.yml file in VOLTTRON_HOME directory.

This scripts creates a new virtual host and creates SSL certificates needed for this VOLTTRON instance. These certificates get created under the sub directory “certificates” in your VOLTTRON home (typically in ~/.volttron). It then creates the main VIP exchange named “volttron” to route message between platform and agents and alternate exchange to capture unrouteable messages.

NOTE: We configure RabbitMQ instance for a single volttron_home and volttron_instance. This script will confirm with the user the volttron_home to be configured. volttron instance name will be read from volttron_home/config if available, if not user will be prompted for volttron instance name. To run the scripts without any prompts, save the volttron instance name in volttron_home/config file and pass the volttron home directory as command line argument For example: “vcfg –vhome /home/vdev/.new_vhome –rabbitmq single”

Following is the example inputs for “vcfg –rabbitmq single” command. Since no config file is passed the script prompts for necessary details.

Your VOLTTRON_HOME currently set to: /home/vdev/new_vhome2

Is this the volttron you are attempting to setup?  [Y]:
Creating rmq config yml
RabbitMQ server home: [/home/vdev/rabbitmq_server/rabbitmq_server-3.7.7]:
Fully qualified domain name of the system: []:

Enable SSL Authentication: [Y]:

Please enter the following details for root CA certificates
Country: [US]:
State: Washington
Location: Richland
Organization: PNNL
Organization Unit: Volttron-Team
Common Name: [volttron1-root-ca]:
Do you want to use default values for RabbitMQ home, ports, and virtual host: [Y]: N
Name of the virtual host under which RabbitMQ VOLTTRON will be running: [volttron]:
AMQP port for RabbitMQ: [5672]:
http port for the RabbitMQ management plugin: [15672]:
AMQPS (SSL) port RabbitMQ address: [5671]:
https port for the RabbitMQ management plugin: [15671]:
INFO:rmq_setup.pyc:Starting rabbitmq server
Warning: PID file not written; -detached was passed.
INFO:rmq_setup.pyc:**Started rmq server at /home/vdev/rabbitmq_server/rabbitmq_server-3.7.7
INFO:requests.packages.urllib3.connectionpool:Starting new HTTP connection (1): localhost
INFO:requests.packages.urllib3.connectionpool:Starting new HTTP connection (1): localhost
INFO:requests.packages.urllib3.connectionpool:Starting new HTTP connection (1): localhost
Checking for CA certificate

Root CA (/home/vdev/new_vhome2/certificates/certs/volttron1-root-ca.crt) NOT Found. Creating root ca for volttron instance
Created CA cert
INFO:requests.packages.urllib3.connectionpool:Starting new HTTP connection (1): localhost
INFO:requests.packages.urllib3.connectionpool:Starting new HTTP connection (1): localhost
INFO:rmq_setup.pyc:**Stopped rmq server
Warning: PID file not written; -detached was passed.
INFO:rmq_setup.pyc:**Started rmq server at /home/vdev/rabbitmq_server/rabbitmq_server-3.7.7


Setup complete for volttron home /home/vdev/new_vhome2 with instance name=volttron1
- Please set environment variable VOLTTRON_HOME to /home/vdev/new_vhome2 before starting volttron
- On production environments, restrict write access to
/home/vdev/new_vhome2/certificates/certs/volttron1-root-ca.crt to only admin user. For example: sudo chown root /home/vdev/new_vhome2/certificates/certs/volttron1-root-ca.crt
- A new admin user was created with user name: volttron1-admin and password=default_passwd.
You could change this user's password by logging into Please update /home/vdev/new_vhome2/rabbitmq_config.yml if you change password


Testing the Installation

We are now ready to start VOLTTRON instance. If configured with RabbitMQ message bus a config file would have been generated in $VOLTTRON_HOME/config with the entry message-bus=rmq. If you need to revert back to ZeroMQ based VOLTTRON, you will have to either remove “message-bus” parameter or set it to default “zmq” in $VOLTTRON_HOME/config. The following command starts volttron process in the background

volttron -vv -l volttron.log&

This enters the virtual Python environment and then starts the platform in debug (vv) mode with a log file named volttron.log. Alternatively you can use the utility script start-volttron script that does the same. To stop stop volttron you can use the stop-volttron script.



If you plan on running VOLTTRON in the background and detaching it from the terminal with the disown command be sure to redirect stderr and stdout to /dev/null. Some libraries which VOLTTRON relies on output directly to stdout and stderr. This will cause problems if those file descriptors are not redirected to /dev/null

#To start the platform in the background and redirect stderr and stdout
#to /dev/null
volttron -vv -l volttron.log > /dev/null 2>&1&

Installing and Running Agents

VOLTTRON platform comes with several built in services and example agents out of the box. To install a agent use the script

python scripts/ -s <top most folder of the agent> [-c <config file. Might be optional for some agents>]

For example, we can use the command to install and start the Listener Agent - a simple agent that periodically publishes heartbeat message and listens to everything on the message bus. Install and start the Listener agent using the following command.

python scripts/ -s examples/ListenerAgent --start

Check volttron.log to ensure that the listener agent is publishing heartbeat messages.

tail volttron.log
2016-10-17 18:17:52,245 (listeneragent-3.2 11367) listener.agent INFO: Peer: 'pubsub', Sender: 'listeneragent-3.2_1':, Bus: u'', Topic: 'heartbeat/listeneragent-3.2_1', Headers: {'Date': '2016-10-18T01:17:52.239724+00:00', 'max_compatible_version': u'', 'min_compatible_version': '3.0'}, Message: {'status': 'GOOD', 'last_updated': '2016-10-18T01:17:47.232972+00:00', 'context': 'hello'}

You can also use the vctl or volttron-ctl command to start, stop or check the status of an agent

(volttron)volttron@volttron1:~/git/rmq_volttron$ vctl status
  AGENT                  IDENTITY            TAG           STATUS          HEALTH
6 listeneragent-3.2      listeneragent-3.2_1               running [13125] GOOD
f master_driveragent-3.2 platform.driver     master_driver
vctl stop <agent id>

To stop the platform:

volttron-ctl shutdown --platform



Note: The default working directory is ~/.volttron. The default directory for creation of agent packages is ~/.volttron/packaged

Next Steps

Now that the project is configured correctly:

See the following links for core services and volttron features:

See the following links for agent development:

Please refer to related topics to for advanced setup instructions