Image Builder is an all-in-one image customization service provided by Elastic Compute Service (ECS) and can be used to create images for ECS instances across regions and Alibaba Cloud accounts.

Introduction

Image Builder provides the image template feature that allows you to use image templates to create, distribute, and share images. The following figure shows the process of creating an image. Process of creating an image
  1. Optional:Create image components.

    An image component consists of one or more image template commands. You can reuse image components to create image templates. Image Builder allows you to use image template commands to create 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 template is a key feature of Image Builder. When you create an image template, you can specify a source image, image components, or image template commands to define image data. You can also specify regions in which to generate the image or specify Alibaba Cloud accounts to which to share the image. For more information, see Create an image template.

  3. Execute an image creation task.

    When you execute the image template, an image creation 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 the created custom image.

    You can use the created custom image 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 create an image, an intermediate ECS instance is automatically created. You are charged for the intermediate ECS instance on a pay-as-you-go basis. For more information, see Pay-as-you-go.
Note You can accept the default configurations of the intermediate ECS instance. For example, an instance type that has a minimum number of vCPUs and a minimum size of memory is selected for the instance by default. You can also modify the configurations of the instance based on your business requirements.

Scenarios

Scenario Description
Create images You can use an image template to create an image based on a public image or an existing custom image.
Maintain server applications

You can use an image template to update applications on your server. You need only to configure the image information of the source server in an image template, add application update commands in the Image Template section, and then run the commands to update the applications.

Each image template that is created to update applications can be stored as an application version, and used to update or roll back applications based on your business requirements.

Manage images To create or iterate an image in multiple regions or Alibaba Cloud accounts, you can use an image template to define image data and specify the regions to which to distribute the image or Alibaba Cloud accounts to which to share the image. Then, the system generates the image in the specified regions or shares the image to the specified Alibaba Cloud accounts.

For information about examples of how to use Image Builder, see Best practices for Image Builder.

Benefits

  • Efficient
    • To facilitate the process of creating images, Image Builder is compatible with some Dockerfile commands. 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 that can reduce the amount of time required to manually create ECS instances, perform O&M on ECS instances, and create, update, copy or share images.
  • Secure

    When an image creation task is executed, Image Builder checks for exceptions in the parameters of the image template. For example, Image Builder checks whether the resource quotas are sufficient for the intermediate instance and whether image template commands run normally.