Creating a Linux Image in the VCL

Create a Linux Image

1. Select “Manage Images“. If you don’t see this option please email and this feature will be enabled in your VCL account.

NOTE: If you have not created any images before, you will see the message “You don’t have access to manage any images“. In this case, select “Reservations“, click “New Reservation“, and select “Imaging Reservation” under Reservation type. Continue with step 3 below.

2. Select “Create / Update an Image” -> Submit

3. From the pull-down menu, select the base image you would like to start with. Examples:

    • TarHeel Linux, SL 6 (Full Blade)
      • “Bare-metal” TarHeel Linux (Scientific Linux 6) image.
      • Use (Full Blade) if you plan to install resource intensive applications.
NOTE: Bare-metal images cannot run on virtual machines.
    • Base No Apps, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Server (vmware)
      • VMWare Ubuntu image with LAMP stack (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP).
      • Use a vmware image if you plan to install applications with less stringent resource requirements.
NOTE: VMWare-based images can only run on virtual machines.

4. Select the Now button under “When would you like to start the imaging process?”.

5. Click Create Imaging Reservation.

6. If the image you have choosen is preloaded wait time will be less than a minute, else you may wait 10-15 minutes while the remote node is being loaded.

7. Click the “Connect” button when it appears. Information on how to connect will be displayed.

8. Use an ssh client to logon to the computer.

9. Use sudo bash to get a root shell.

You can request up to 12 hours to configure and save your reservation. If you reach the end of your time, the VCL will automatically save your image at that point so you don’t lose your work. If you need longer times, you can request that your account be enabled to specify the end time of your reservation.


Any files you place under the home directory of your userid on the Linux image will NOT be saved, since the VCL deletes your userid from the image before saving it. To ensure files or programs are saved in the image, place them outside of your home directory.

10. If you have a need to reboot the server during your image creation, do the following:

    • ln –s /etc/init.d/ext_sshd /etc/rc2.d/S999ext_sshd
    • Perform any reboots needed.
    • Before saving image, rm /etc/rc2.d/S999ext_sshd.
The number used above in rc2.d should match the normal run-level of your image as indicated by the ‘who –r’ command. For example, if the run-level of your image is 3, substitute rc3.d in the commands above.

11. To start the imaging process, make sure you have logged off the remote computer.

It is important to logoff the remote computer before saving the image. Otherwise it will not function correctly.

12. Revisit the VCL site and select Reservations.

13. Select the “More Options” button and click “End Reservation & Create Image“..

14. Enter an image name. Something simple related to the applications you installed is fine. The image name is displayed when a user makes a reservation and can be changed later if needed. Please include “vmware” in the image name for vmware-based images to help easily identify them. See the table below for recommended naming convention.

15. The minimum specs should be left at the defaults.

16. Click Submit and then confirm your settings.

After about 20-25 minutes, you will receive an email saying your image ready for testing when the image creation process is done (occasionally, if there is a lot of software installed in the image or if the system is extremely busy, this can take as long as 90 minutes).

If for some reason the image creation fails, you will be notified via email. Be patient, the image isn’t lost, it’s just been placed in a hold state until the VCL administrator can investiage the cause of the failure. In most cases the problem can be corrected and the imaging process restarted by the administrator.

Once you have tested that the image works correctly, access to use the image will need to be granted to other users. If you have the appropriate access, you can follow the instructions on granting access to new images . If you don’t have access to everything mentioned there, you will need to contact IT support to have it done.

Image Naming Convention
Application of Environment Description, Operating System, (Full Blade or vmware)
Hesabu, Ubuntu 12.04, (Full Blade)
Math Dept. Apps, RHEL 6 (vmware)

VCL Home Page