Develop, Release, and Use SQLFlow-in-a-VM

For Developers

  1. Install VirtualBox and Vagrant on a computer with a relatively large memory size. As a recommendation, a host with 16G memory and 8 cores is preferred.
  2. Clone and update SQLFlow playground project.
     git clone
     cd playground
     git submodule update --init
  3. Run the under playgound’s root directory. This script will guide you to install SQLFlow on a virtualbox VM. If you have a slow Internet connection to Vagrant Cloud, you might want to download the Ubuntu VirtualBox image manually from some mirror sites into ~/.cache/sqlflow/ before running the above script. We use wget -c here for continuing get the file from last breakpoint, so if this command fail, just re-run it.
     # download Vagrant image manually, optional
     mkdir -p $HOME/.cache/sqlflow
     wget -c -O $HOME/.cache/sqlflow/ \

    The add some extensions for Vagrant, like vagrant-disksize which enlarges the disk size of the VM. The script will then call vagrant up command to bootup the VM. After the VM is up, the will be automatically executed which will install the dependencies for SQLFlow. Provision is a one-shot work, after it is done, we will have an environment with SQLFlow, docker and minikube installed.

  4. Log on the VM and start SQLFlow playground. Run the start.bash script, it will pull some docker images and start the playground minikube cluster. As the images pulling may be slow, the script might fail sometimes. Feel free to re-run the script until gou get some output like Access Jupyter Notebook at ....
     vagrant ssh
     sudo su
     cd desktop
  5. After the minikube is started up. You can access the Jupyter Notebook from your desktop. Or you can use SQLFlow command-line tool sqlflow to access the SQLFlow server. Just follow the output of the start.bash, it will give you some hint.
  6. After playing a while, you may want to stop SQLFlow playground, just log on the VM again and stop the minikube cluster.
     vagrant ssh # optional if you already logged on
     minikube stop
  7. Finally if you want to stop the VM, you can run the vagrant halt command. To complete destroy the VM, run the vagrant destroy command.

For Releaser

The releaser, which, in most cases, is a developer, can export a running VirtualBox VM into a VM image file with extension .ova. An ova file is a tarball of a directory, whose content follows the OVF specification. For the concepts, please refer to this explanation.

According to this tutorial, releasers can call the VBoxManage command to export a VM. We have written a scrip to do this. Simply run below script to export our playground. This script will create a file named SQLFlowPlayground.ova, we can import the file through virtual box GUI.


For End-users

To run SQLFlow on a desktop computer running Windows, Linux, or macOS, you need to download

  1. the released SQLFlowPlayground.ova, directly download from here, or use wget:
     wget -c
  2. optional, the sqlflow command-line tool released by SQLFlow CI.

If you have VirtualBox installed, you can import the SQLFlowPlayground.ova file and start a VM. After that, you can log in the system through the VirtualBox GUI or through a ssh connection like below. The default password of root is vagrant.

ssh -p2222 root@
root@'s password: vagrant

Once logged in the VM, you will immediately see a script named start.bash, just run the script to start SQLFlow playground. It will output some hint messages for you, follow those hints, after a while, you will see something like Access Jupyter NoteBook at:, it means we are all set. Copy the link to your web browser and you will see SQLFlow’s Jupyter Notebook user interface, Enjoy it!


Or, if you has an AWS or Google Cloud account, you can upload the .ova file to start the VM on the cloud. AWS users can follow these steps.

Anyway, given a running VM, the end-user can run the following command to connect to it: