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Cluster Software Installation and Updates

Currently users are required to build the solana cluster software themselves from the git repository and manually update it, which is error prone and inconvenient.

This document proposes an easy to use software install and updater that can be used to deploy pre-built binaries for supported platforms. Users may elect to use binaries supplied by Solana or any other party provider. Deployment of updates is managed using an on-chain update manifest program.

Motivating Examples

Fetch and run a pre-built installer using a bootstrap curl/shell script

The easiest install method for supported platforms:

$ curl -sSf | sh

This script will check github for the latest tagged release and download and run the solana-install-init binary from there.

If additional arguments need to be specified during the installation, the following shell syntax is used:

$ init_args=.... # arguments for `solana-install-init ...`
$ curl -sSf | sh -s - ${init_args}

Fetch and run a pre-built installer from a Github release

With a well-known release URL, a pre-built binary can be obtained for supported platforms:

$ curl -o solana-install-init
$ chmod +x ./solana-install-init
$ ./solana-install-init --help

Build and run the installer from source

If a pre-built binary is not available for a given platform, building the installer from source is always an option:

$ git clone
$ cd solana/install
$ cargo run -- --help

Deploy a new update to a cluster

Given a solana release tarball (as created by ci/ that has already been uploaded to a publicly accessible URL, the following commands will deploy the update:

$ solana-keygen new -o update-manifest.json  # <-- only generated once, the public key is shared with users
$ solana-install deploy update-manifest.json

Run a validator node that auto updates itself

$ solana-install init --pubkey 92DMonmBYXwEMHJ99c9ceRSpAmk9v6i3RdvDdXaVcrfj  # <-- pubkey is obtained from whoever is deploying the updates
$ export PATH=~/.local/share/solana-install/bin:$PATH
$ solana-keygen ... # <-- runs the latest solana-keygen
$ solana-install run solana-validator ... # <-- runs a validator, restarting it as necessary when an update is applied

On-chain Update Manifest

An update manifest is used to advertise the deployment of new release tarballs on a solana cluster. The update manifest is stored using the config program, and each update manifest account describes a logical update channel for a given target triple (eg, x86_64-apple-darwin). The account public key is well-known between the entity deploying new updates and users consuming those updates.

The update tarball itself is hosted elsewhere, off-chain and can be fetched from the specified download_url.

use solana_sdk::signature::Signature;

/// Information required to download and apply a given update
pub struct UpdateManifest {
pub timestamp_secs: u64, // When the release was deployed in seconds since UNIX EPOCH
pub download_url: String, // Download URL to the release tar.bz2
pub download_sha256: String, // SHA256 digest of the release tar.bz2 file

/// Data of an Update Manifest program Account.
#[derive(Serialize, Deserialize, Default, Debug, PartialEq)]
pub struct SignedUpdateManifest {
pub manifest: UpdateManifest,
pub manifest_signature: Signature,

Note that the manifest field itself contains a corresponding signature (manifest_signature) to guard against man-in-the-middle attacks between the solana-install tool and the solana cluster RPC API.

To guard against rollback attacks, solana-install will refuse to install an update with an older timestamp_secs than what is currently installed.

Release Archive Contents

A release archive is expected to be a tar file compressed with bzip2 with the following internal structure:

  • /version.yml - a simple YAML file containing the field "target" - the

    target tuple. Any additional fields are ignored.

  • /bin/ -- directory containing available programs in the release.

    solana-install will symlink this directory to

    ~/.local/share/solana-install/bin for use by the PATH environment


  • ... -- any additional files and directories are permitted

solana-install Tool

The solana-install tool is used by the user to install and update their cluster software.

It manages the following files and directories in the user's home directory:

  • ~/.config/solana/install/config.yml - user configuration and information about currently installed software version
  • ~/.local/share/solana/install/bin - a symlink to the current release. eg, ~/.local/share/solana-update/<update-pubkey>-<manifest_signature>/bin
  • ~/.local/share/solana/install/releases/<download_sha256>/ - contents of a release

Command-line Interface

solana-install 0.16.0
The solana cluster software installer

solana-install [OPTIONS] <SUBCOMMAND>

-h, --help Prints help information
-V, --version Prints version information

-c, --config <PATH> Configuration file to use [default: .../Library/Preferences/solana/install.yml]

deploy deploys a new update
help Prints this message or the help of the given subcommand(s)
info displays information about the current installation
init initializes a new installation
run Runs a program while periodically checking and applying software updates
update checks for an update, and if available downloads and applies it
initializes a new installation

solana-install init [OPTIONS]

-h, --help Prints help information

-d, --data_dir <PATH> Directory to store install data [default: .../Library/Application Support/solana]
-u, --url <URL> JSON RPC URL for the solana cluster [default:]
-p, --pubkey <PUBKEY> Public key of the update manifest [default: 9XX329sPuskWhH4DQh6k16c87dHKhXLBZTL3Gxmve8Gp]
solana-install info
displays information about the current installation

solana-install info [FLAGS]

-h, --help Prints help information
-l, --local only display local information, don't check the cluster for new updates
solana-install deploy
deploys a new update

solana-install deploy <download_url> <update_manifest_keypair>

-h, --help Prints help information

<download_url> URL to the solana release archive
<update_manifest_keypair> Keypair file for the update manifest (/path/to/keypair.json)
solana-install update
checks for an update, and if available downloads and applies it

solana-install update

-h, --help Prints help information
solana-install run
Runs a program while periodically checking and applying software updates

solana-install run <program_name> [program_arguments]...

-h, --help Prints help information

<program_name> program to run
<program_arguments>... arguments to supply to the program

The program will be restarted upon a successful software update