An image is a type of template for a virtual machine (VM).
You can launch an instance, custom install the software and files you want to use, then request an image of the instance. This will save all of the changes and updates within Atmosphere, but also make your custom changes available to yourself and collaborators. Saving instances as images helps leverage both your time and existing resources. The saved image can be used to launch a new child instance at any time. This allows you to discard non-active instances, thus saving resources.
After submitting the form, the Jetstream Atmosphere support staff will review and process the request. Future versions of Atmosphere will allow users to initiate the VM imaging process automatically.
Be sure to test launch any image created to validate that it behaves as expected BEFORE suspending or removing the current active instance, since only active instances can be imaged.
BEST PRACTICE: It is recommended to upgrade the operating system before imaging. For CentOS based systems, it's sudo yum update. For Ubuntu based systems, do sudo apt-get update and then sudo apt-get upgrade.