Imaging Guidelines

Here are some tips to help ensure a viable importable image:

  • Operating system: Base the image on
    • CentOS 7 and later
    • Ubuntu 16.04 and later, Ubuntu 18.04 or 20.04 recommended
  • File system: Ext4, or XFS.
  • Image format: RAW or QCOW2 (images must be in RAW format for upload)
  • Software: Image must contain no licensed software that would prohibit use within a cloud or virtualized environment.  It is recommended that software be installed in /opt or /usr/local/.
  • New Image Name:
    DO NOT use the name of an existing featured image. Please be mindful of re-using the name of one of your own existing images.
    DO NOT use a period (".") as any character of the name.
  • Description of the Image: DO add an informative description of your image and make note of how it varies from any base images.
  • Instance status: The instance MUST be ACTIVE or STOPPED in order to image.
    Suspended or Shelved images cannot be imaged at this time.
  • DO NOT delete Instances until AFTER the IMAGING process has completed.
  • Volumes: All Volumes MUST be DETACHED from the instance.
    Failure to detach Volumes will result in a image whose child instances fail to boot.
  • Owner: At this time, only the creator of an image may update an image. Developer teams wishing to update a shared image should contact Jetstream support.
  • BEST PRACTICE: Users are recommended to upgrade the operating system before imaging.
    For CentOS based systems:
    sudo yum update
    For Ubuntu based systems: do 
    sudo apt-get update and then sudo apt-get upgrade

Before submitting a request for an image of your instance, remove the following software from the instance:

  • Licensed software: including software not purchased by Jetstream or otherwise not in the public domain.
  • Not cloud suitable: Software in which the licensing, features, or activity of the software otherwise precludes its use or inhibits the activity of other software within a cloud or virtualized environment.

Volumes and iRODS FUSE mounts are not copied as part of the image.


The following directories are deleted as part of the imaging process:

  • /home/
  • /mnt/
  • /tmp/
  • /root/

The following system files are typically overwritten by the Jetstream imaging process for security and operational reasons:

  • /etc/fstab
  • /etc/group
  • /etc/host.allow
  • /etc/host.conf
  • /etc/host.deny
  • /etc/hosts
  • /etc/ldap.conf
  • /etc/passwd
  • /etc/resolve.conf
  • /etc/shadow
  • /etc/sshd/
  • /etc/sysconfig/iptables
  • /root/
  • /var/log


Users are encouraged to test launch any image created to validate that it behaves as expected before suspending or removing their current active instance.

Creating an image on the SMALLEST possible size VM on which it will run will allow the image to be launched on VMs of the same size and larger. 

For example, an image created on a Tiny size VM can be launched on a VM of any size; an image created on a Medium VM can only be launched on a Medium or larger size VM.

About your /home/ directory
  • All files, directories, and icons located under /home/<username>/Desktop will be deleted. To preserve them, email
  • Any files installed in /home must be saved to your volume, to iRODS, or to another storage device or system external to your VM.
Can an image be exported?

Yes...and no.  Currently an automated method for exporting images to run on other systems is not available but if you find that you do need to export an image to something other than IU Scholarworks contact