TangoBox 9.3

Intended audience: beginner users, beginner developers, beginner administrators

TangoBox is a VM image running Tango Controls system and its various tools. It is intended to be used for demonstration and training. It also simulates distributed deployment by using Docker.


The latest version of the TangoBox 9.3 can be downloaded from here.

What is installed

Below there is list of provide packages/features. Please note that some of them are installed as docker container and maybe switched off (stopped) and requires to be switched on for being explored, see Switching containers on and off

First steps

  • First of all you have to download latest release of VirtualBox. It can be downloaded from www.virtualbox.org . Simply install it and start the program.

  • TangoBox is released as an .ova package so it can be easily imported.

  • Select import and choose downloaded TangoBox file

  • If you want, you can change VM’s configuration (i.e graphics, RAM). It is highly recommended to increase default RAM size


    A virtual machine settings window.

    You may change number of CPUs and increase RAM size. Memory size has major impact on VM performance.

  • Wait for VirtualBox to import machine

After importing the VM image to VirtualBox you may start it.

  • Username is: tango-cs
  • Password is: tango

tango-cs user has sudo privileges, so he may invoke commands as superuser with command sudo.

You may explore the Tango Controls feature by clicking related shortcuts on the Desktop.


Plese note that some shortcuts are related to features running on containers. Please start related container first. See the following section.

Switching containers on and off

Some of the features of Tango are provided inside pre-build docker containers. These can be switched on and off by starting or stopping related containers. Containers behave similar to virtual machines with they own network cards and operating system stack, however, lacking full separations.

To start a container, open terminal and invoke docker start {container-name}. For example, to star a linac simulation use the following statement:

docker start tangobox-sim

To stop a container, open terminal and invoke docker stop {container-name}. For example, to stop a linac simulation use the following statement:

docker stop tangobox-sim

To see which containers are running please, call docker ps

Deployment structure


Containers are created withing their own subnet: The network is called tango_nw The subnet was created with the following docker command:

docker network create --driver=bridge --subnet= --opt com.docker.network.bridge.enable_icc=true \
--opt com.docker.network.bridge.host_binding_ipv4="" --opt com.docker.network.bridge.mtu=1500 \
--opt com.docker.network.bridge.enable_ip_masquerade=true  tango_nw

Containers are assigned static IPs. List of the IPs assignment maybe seen in /etc/hosts. Use command cat /etc/hosts to see its contents.

Containers and images dependency

Each container is based on its image. All images are already build but, if neccessary, Dockerfiles are stored in home/Dockerfiles directory. Below is the list of all containers and corresponding images:

Container Image Remarks
tangobox-com registry/tangobox-com -
tangobox-sim registry/tangobox-sim -
tangobox-archiving registry/tangobox-archive -
tangobox-hdbpp registry/tangobox-hdbpp -
tangobox-web registry/tangobox-web -
tangobox-egiga registry/tangobox-egiga -
tangobox-jupytango registry/tangobox-jupytango -
- registry/tangobox-base Base container
- ubuntu Ubuntu image to build others

Currently images are stored in registry.gitlab.com/s2innovation/tangobox-docker registry.

Some device servers may be stopped when launching containers. It is so to get better performance (high cpu and ram usage). To control and start/stop particular DS according to your needs, use Tango Manager (Astor) to it.

Example applications

Modbus simulation

To simulate Modbus, we suggest to use ModbusPal. To do so, use ModbusPal (simulation) desktop shortcut. Once it is started, declare new modbus slave by clicking ADD. Choose 1 and name it Now click “eye” button in modbus slaves section and add at least 10 holding registers. You can change their values according to your needs.

After that, use RUN button to start simulation. Values in registers can be changed by clicking “eye” button in Modbus slaves section.

Keep in mind that in ModbusPal, registers are counted from 1 while on DS from 0!

To monitor changes, use ATKPanel started from Jive. Both ModbusComposer and PyPLC have two attributes configured:

  • ModbusComposer: Temperature uses 4th; Pressure uses 5th register in ModbusPal
  • PyPLC: Voltage uses 6th; Flow uses 7th register in ModbusPal

View on a ModbusComposer device and configured ModbusPal simulator.


JupyTango is a Jupyter featuring Tango related kernels. With JupyterLab you may interact and do scripting for Tango through a web browser.


Browser window with JupyTango in action

In case you want to try it, here’s the procedure:

  1. start jupyterlab (it is started by default): docker start tangobox-jupytango
  2. open a new browser window and go to http://tangobox-jupytango:8888/lab
  3. enjoy!

Here are the JupyTango additions to itango:

Plotting a tango attribute


pta [options] <tab for device selection> + <tab for attribute selection>

Supported options:

  • -w or –width: plot width in pixels
  • -h or –height: plot height in pixels

Monitoring a tango attribute: Syntax:

tm [options]  + <tab for device selection> + <tab for attribute selection>

Supported options:

  • -w or –width: plot width in pixels
  • -h or –height: plot height in pixels
  • -p or –period: plot refresh period in [0.1, 5] seconds - defaults to 1s
  • -d or –depth: scalar attribute history depth in [1, 3600] seconds - defaults to 900s

You can try to kill the monitored device will the JupyTango monitor is running to see how errors are handled.

JLinac simulation

To start simulation, you need to run tangobox-sim container (use docker start tangobox-sim to start it from a terminal). It is also important to make sure that all related device servers are running. The easiest way to do it is to check it in Astor - a bulb next to tangobox-sim should be green.


JLinac simulation running.

HDB/TDB/SNAP Archiving (Mambo, Bensikin)

Prior to use HDB/TDB (Mambo) or SNAP (Bensikin) you need to make sure that the tangobox-archiving container and related device servers are running:

  • Call docker start tangobox-archive on a terminal.
  • Start Astor and check if the tangobox-archive node is green.

Then, you may start Mambo or Bensikin by clicking icons on the desktop.


Screen of running Mambo

Please take note of a green bulb of the tangobox-archive node in the Astor window.

HDB++ Archiving

To use HDB++ and its tools ( HDB Configurator and HDB Viewer) please make sure that the tangobox-hdbpp container and related device servers are running:

  • Call docker start tangobox-hdbpp on a terminal.
  • Start Astor and check if the tangobox-hdbpp node is green.

Then, you may start HDB Configurator or HDB Viewer by clicking icons on the desktop.


HDB Configurator and HDB Viewer


E-giga is a web application for archiving data visualization (HDB/TDB and HDB++). The TangoBox deployment uses HDB/TDB.


E-giga in a web browser window

To use e-giga following conditions must be fulfilled:

  • tangobox-archive and tangobox-web containers must be started and archiving device servers must be running
  • use i.e. Mambo to enable data archiving for HDB database. It is required. If you do not see any attributes in E-giga it is probably due to archiving being disabled. Check with Astor if the tangobox-archive LED is green and with Mambo if there are any attributes configured to be archivied.

To open browser with E-giga click on the relate desktop icon.

Tango WebApp

Tango may be available through a web browser. Tango WebApp is a general purpose Tango web application. You may try it on the TangoBox.


A screenshot of Tango WebApp in a browser

To play with Tango WebApp make sure that the ‘tangobox-web` container is running (use docker start tangobox-web to start it from a terminal). Then, you may open a browser with a related desktop icon. Use username tango-cs and password tango to log-in.


Tango Controls specifies REST API interface and provides its reference implementation. For details see REST API documentation

The TangoBox comes with REST API installed. Related desktop icon opens a web browser pointing to REST API interface. The REST server requires authentication. User is tango-cs and password is tango.


A web browser window presenting JSON response of the Tango REST server

If you would like to play with it with other tools (Python, curl) it is avaialabe at the following address: http://localhost:10001/tango/rest/rc4/hosts/tangobox/10000.


Sardana is a software suite for Supervision, Control and Data Acquisition in scientific installations. I t aims to reduce cost and time of design, development and support of the control and data acquisition systems. For more information about it please refer to Sardana documentation.


SardanaGUI in action

To play with Sardana you may double-click the SardanaGUI icon on the desktop or run it from a terminal (type SardanaGUI).


Cumbia is a new library that offers a carefree approach to multi-threaded application design and implementation. Written from scratch, it can be seen as the evolution of the QTango library, because it offers a more flexible and object oriented multi-threaded programming style.

For more details please check Cumbia webpage and source repository.

Cumbia is installed in /usr/local/cumbia-libs. This directory is added to ld’s default search path.

To see an example Cumbia application, please run below command or use desktop shortcut CumbiaClientDemo:

cumbia client sys/tg_test/1/double_scalar

Cumbia demo application


PANIC Alarm System is a set of tools (api, Tango device server, user interface) that provides: Periodic evaluation of a set of conditions, Notification (email, sms, pop-up, speakers), Notification (email, sms, pop-up, speakers), Keep a log of what happened. (files, Tango Snapshots), Taking automated actions (Tango commands / attributes), Tools for configuration/visualization.

The Panic package contains the python AlarmAPI for managing the PyAlarm device servers from a client application or a python shell. The panic module is used by PyAlarm, Panic Toolbar and Panic GUI.

To launch PANIC GUI, use desktop shortcut PANIC.


PANIC GUI application