Skip to content


Tink provides the user interface and the API gateway to expose all the features distributed across the various other Tinkerbell services. It lives in the GitHub repository: tinkerbell/tink.

It exposes three binaries:

  1. The tink-server is a long running daemon written in Go that exposes a gRPC API. As a user and operator this is your entry point. You can register new hardware, create templates and workflows, and much more.
  2. The tink-cli is one of the way you can use to interact with the tink-server. It is a command line interface written in Go and Cobra.
  3. The tink-worker is a binary that runs in every worker machine. It is one of the first processes started by a Worker and it executes workflows.

Getting Tink

Right now we do not yet have a release cycle in place that builds and release binaries. You can either compile them by yourself or you can use the Docker container that is already built.

The docker containers are the ones in use when you follow the setup tutorial and run docker-compose.

Getting the Docker Images

We relay on Docker a lot for both code distribution but and workflow execution. Our CI/CD pipeline builds and pushes images to a popular image repository similar to Docker Hub.

There is a repository for every tool:

The tags are composed as: sha-<gitsha>, where gitsha is the first 7 characters of a git commit. Only master commits are pushed to

Building the Binaries

Tinkerbell uses the standard Golang toolchain. You can clone the tink repository:

git clone [email protected]:tinkerbell/tink

All the binaries are inside cmd/tink-*. Based on what you need, you can run go build. For example if you would like to compile the CLI, run:

go build cmd/tink-cli/main.go

You can also use go run if you want to run code without having to compile a binary:

go run cmd/tink-server/main.go

Building and Running tink-cli

One use case of the binaries, is if you want to run the tink-cli binary on the Provisioner, outside the tink-server container. This simplifies the CLI command usage.


  • A bit of familiarity with go build, and Go has to be installed.
  • A Provisioner up and running Tinkerbell (works with the Vagrant setup, for example)

SSH into the Provisioner and Navigate to the directory where you have cloned the tink repository.

cd tink

Now let's compile the binary with:

$ go build -o tink cmd/tink-cli/main.go

All the traffic between Tinkerbell services is encrypted via TLS, so before running any tink commands there are two environment variables that authenticate the CLI to the tink-server. The tink-server entry point is and exposes ports 42113 and 42114.


NOTE: In a real environment every person that as access to the host and ports can authenticate and use tink-server.

You can export them as environment variables or you can run them in-line as part of the tink command.


Now you can run tink commands without docker-exec.

$ tink hardware list

You can also test by making some hardware data.

$ cat > hardware-data.json <<EOF
  "id": "ce2e62ed-826f-4485-a39f-a82bb74338e2",
  "metadata": {
    "facility": {
      "facility_code": "onprem"
    "instance": {},
    "state": ""
  "network": {
    "interfaces": [
        "dhcp": {
          "arch": "x86_64",
          "ip": {
            "address": "",
            "gateway": "",
            "netmask": ""
          "mac": "08:00:27:00:00:01",
          "uefi": false
        "netboot": {
          "allow_pxe": true,
          "allow_workflow": true
tink hardware push < ./hardware-data.json
2020/08/31 10:20:20 Hardware data pushed successfully