Image Builder is an all-in-one image customization service provided by Elastic Compute Service (ECS). Image Builder allows you to customize images of Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instances across different regions and Alibaba Cloud accounts.

Introduction

The key feature of Image Builder is image templates. You can use image templates to customize, distribute, and share images. The following figure shows the process of building an image. Process of building an image
  1. Optional: Create image components.

    An image component contains one or more image template commands. You can reuse image components to customize image templates. Image Builder allows you to use image template commands to build images in a standard and transparent manner. Image template commands are compatible with some Dockerfile commands. For more information, see Commands supported by Image Builder and Create an image component.

  2. Create an image template.

    Image templates are a key feature of Image Builder. When you create an image template, you can specify the source image, image components, and image template commands to customize an image. You can also have custom images generated in a specified region and share the custom images to specified Alibaba Cloud accounts. For more information, see Create an image template.

  3. Execute an image building task.

    When you execute the image template, an image building task is generated. When the task is executed, Image Builder checks for exceptions in the configuration items of the image template. For more information, see View and execute an image template.

  4. View custom images.

    You can use custom images to create ECS instances or replace the operating systems of ECS instances.

Billing

You are not charged for Image Builder. When you use an image template to build an image, an intermediate ECS instance is automatically created. You are charged for the intermediate ECS instance based on the pay-as-you-go billing method. For more information, see Pay-as-you-go.
Note You can use the default value for each configuration item of the intermediate ECS instance. By default, the instance types that have a minimum number of vCPUs and a minimum size of memory are selected. You can also modify the configuration items of the intermediate ECS instance.

Scenarios

Scenario Description
Customize images You can use an image template to customize an image based on a public image or an existing custom image.
Maintain server applications If you need to update applications on your server, you can configure the image information of the source server in an image template. Then, you can run image template commands to update the applications. You can store each image template created to update applications as a version. You can update or roll back applications by using a specific version of the image template based on your business requirements.
Manage images To customize or iterate an image in multiple regions or Alibaba Cloud accounts at the same time, you can specify distribution regions or sharing accounts in an image template to customize the image. Then, the system generates the image in the specified regions or shares the image to the specified Alibaba Cloud accounts.

For more information about an example that shows how to use Image Builder, see Best practices for Image Builder.

Benefits

  • Efficient
    • Image Builder is compatible with specific Dockerfile commands. This helps you build images. If you are familiar with Dockerfile commands, you can use Dockerfile to edit your commands and then import the Dockerfile template in the ECS console.
    • Image Builder is an all-in-one service. It reduces the time required to manually create ECS instances, complete operations and maintenance (O&M) on ECS instances, and create, update, copy, and share images.
  • Secure

    When an image building task is executed, Image Builder automatically checks for exceptions in the configuration items of the image template. For example, Image Builder checks whether the resource quotas of the intermediate instance are sufficient and whether image template commands are correctly run.