Image Templates FAQ

What is an ISO Template?

The ISO Template is a type of template that is specifically reserved for ISOs that can be used to boot a VSI. ISO Templates are available in two versions: public and private. Public ISO Templates are preconfigured templates provided by SoftLayer that can be used by any customer. Private ISO Templates are created by importing an image of an ISO stored on an Object Storage Account. In order for an ISO to be imported to the Image Templates screen, the ISO must be bootable.

Please Note:

At this time, only SoftLayer Supported Operating Systems can be used to load an ISO Template onto a VSI. A list of Supported Operating Systems can be found here:

Are Flex Images more expensive than a Standard Image template?

They are not. The cost to create and maintain a Flex Image is exactly the same as the cost to create and maintain a Standard Image.

Does my ISO Template have to be in the same datacenter as my VSI in order to complete a boot from image?

Yes, ISO Templates must be in the same datacenter as a VSI in order to boot from the image. If it is not in the same datacenter, the ISO Template must be copied to the appropriate datacenter in order to complete the action. If this situation occurs, a warning will appear regarding the transaction. When an ISO Template is copied to a different datacenter, a small fee will be charged to the account in the same manner that fees are applied for copying other types of Image Templates.

What is the difference between a Public Image and a Private Image?

A Public Image is an image that may be viewed and applied to a new machine by any SoftLayer user. SoftLayer currently creates Public Images as a solution for configuration options on a variety of devices. A Private Image is an image that may be viewed only by authorized users. Authorized users default to any user on your account; however, images may also be shared between multiple accounts by updating the sharing options in the Customer Portal.

Can I share my private ISO Template with other customers?

The only ISO Templates that are made public to all customers are those generated by SoftLayer. Private ISO Templates are account-specific and cannot be shared between customers through the Customer Portal.

How is Flex Image built?

Flex Image is built into SoftLayer's automation system. Only servers in SoftLayer pods have been included and the service is not available outside of SoftLayer's data centers.

Can I capture and deploy Virtual Machines with my self-managed hypervisor?

Only SoftLayer provisioned servers can be captured and deployed. Individual Virtual Machines (VMs) that you have manually created on personal devices cannot be captured, provisioned or deployed.

Does Flex Image support Bare Metal Servers?

Flex Image supports SoftLayer's Bare Metal Server product as long as the operating system is listed as supported.

How do you calculate volume sizes for Flex Image?

Volume sizes are calculated using algorithms to help ensure they are expanded or shrunk in a close approximate ratio to their existing size. This allows you to capture and deploy between Virtual Servers and Bare Metal Servers of differing disk size and topology.

Can my transaction fail when capturing an image of a device using Flex Image?

If the capture consists of more physical data (as opposed to volume size) than what the deployed device can handle, the transaction will fail.

Which Linux file systems are supported using Flex Image?

Linux file system support is limited to EXT2, EXT3 and EXT4. All other mounted file systems must be commented out of /etc/fstab to avoid capture.

Can network file systems be captured using Flex Image?

Network file systems cannot be captured and must be handled accordingly based on your operating system:

  • For Linux-based devices, comment the network file system out of /etc/fstab.
  • For Windows-based devices, remove the mapped drive.
Can I edit a Flex Image once it has been captured?

Flex Images are static and cannot be changed. If a Flex Image is built with the incorrect password, configuration or other detail, it must be deleted and recaptured with the correct information. For devices that were provisioned using an incorrectly-captured Flex Image, we do not provide data recovery or alteration. Please ensure that the server to be captured is properly configured before creating a Flex Image.

Does SoftLayer need my current password to capture a Flex Image?

It is essential that the Customer Portal has your server's root or administrator passwords correctly documented. The process will fail if the password information on the Portal does not match the server's password.

What is a Standard Image template?

A Standard Image template is SoftLayer’s imaging option for Virtual Servers. Standard Image templates allow users to capture an image of an existing Virtual Server regardless of its operating system and create a new Virtual Server based on the image.

What is the difference between physical data and volume size?
Volume is the disk space that is available for storing files, while physical data consists of the actual files that are stored on the disk.
What is Flex Image?

Flex Image is SoftLayer's platform-neutral imaging solution. This means that users have the ability to capture an image from a physical or virtual device and create a new machine based on the image. With Flex Image, users have the options to create a physical machine from a virtual device's image and vice versa.

What is the difference between "Boot from Image" and "Load from Image"?

Boot from Image and Load from Image both utilize existing Image Templates, which are applied to a device to either replace the existing operating system or to supplement the operating system in an attempt to remedy an existing issue. The main difference between the Boot and Load process is the type of image that is used. When performing either the Boot or Load from Image process, we recommend backing up all data to ensure it may be recovered.

  • Boot from Image is a way to boot a device using an ISO supplied by SoftLayer for system recovery or an ISO that has been uploaded using the Import Image feature in the Customer Portal. The ISO may be a clean version of the device's operating system or a recovery disk that can be used in an attempt to remedy an issue with the device.
  • Load from Image is a method of OS Reload that utilizes an Image Template that has either been captured from a device or uploaded using the Image Import feature in the Customer Portal. The Load from Image option performs the reload using a VHD, which wipes the device of all data and replaces the existing operating system and files with a "like new" version of the selected image.
What is the difference between a Standard Image and a Flex Image?

A Standard Image Template is exclusive to Virtual Servers, while a Flex-Image is device-neutral. Standard Images are available on all Virtual Servers, but may not be used to create physical machines. Flex Images are used to capture and replicate both Bare Metal Servers and Virtual Servers.

What is the image import/export feature?

The image import/export feature, located on the Image Templates screen in the Customer Portal, allows for the conversion of VHDs and ISOs stored on an Object Storage account to be converted into Image Templates, and vice versa. When importing an image, a specific file (either VHD or ISO) is sourced from a specified Object Storage Account's Container and is converted into an Image Template. The Image Template may then be used to boot or load a device. When exporting an image, the Image Template is converted into a file (or several files if the template has multiple disks) that is stored in a specified location on an Object Storage Account's Container. This functionality is currently only available on Standard Image and ISO Templates.

Why doesn’t Flex Image support my Operating System?

The software we use as a part of Flex Image does not currently cover all operating systems. Flex Image currently supports the following operating systems:

  • CentOS 5 & 6
  • RedHat Enterprise Linux 5 & 6
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2

If you are currently running an OS listed above and do not have the option to create a Flex Image, please contact Support.


What kinds of images may I use to boot or load devices?

The type of image that may be used to boot or load a device follows the same logic as images used to provision new devices. Virtual Server Instance (VSI) may utilize both Standard and Flex Images for either the boot or load process. Loading a Bare Metal Server from an image is limited to using a Flex Image.

Can I move my Standard Image into Flex Image format?

Not at this time. If you wish to have a Flex Image that mirrors a Standard Image of a machine, you must create a new Flex Image for the desired machine.

What type of Image Template is created when I import an image?

The image import functionality is currently limited to producing a Standard Image for VHDs and ISO Templates when importing an ISO.

Will Flex Image be replacing Standard Image templates?

Because Flex Image has limitations, it is not a viable solution to sunset Standard Images at this time. Existing Standard Images will still be available and new Standard Images may still be created on Virtual Servers, even if they are eligible for Flex Image. However, if Standard Image is chosen over Flex Image, the image may only be used to create additional Virtual Servers.