Introduction to Image Templates


SoftLayer Image Templates provide a method to capture an image of a device in order to quickly replicate its configuration with minimal manipulations in the order process. SoftLayer currently provides two options for creating Image Templates, each offering unique features based on your operating system and the type of image you wish to use.

Standard Image Templates provide an imaging option for all Virtual Servers, regardless of its operating system. Standard Image templates allow users to capture an image of an existing Virtual Server and create a new one based on the image, but do not allow for compatibility with Bare Metal Servers.

Flex Image is SoftLayer's platform-neutral imaging system that allows users to capture an image of both Bare Metal Servers and Virtual Servers and apply that image to either platform. Having the freedom to create images across platforms allows users to create Bare Metal Servers from images of Virtual Servers and vice versa, expanding the options for how you use your devices.

How SoftLayer Image Templates Work

The two main actions for any SoftLayer Image Template are creation and deployment. When creation has been requested, our automated system takes your machine offline. While the machine is offline, a compressed backup of your data is created, the configuration information is recorded and the Image Template is stored on our SAN. During the deployment stage of the Image Template, our automated system constructs a new machine based on the data gathered from the selected image, making adjustments for volume, restores the copied data and then makes final configuration changes (i.e. network configurations) for the new host.

Standard Image Templates

Standard Image Templates are available on all Virtual Servers and do not require a specific operating system for functionality. Standard Image Templates capture an image of your Virtual Server and allow you to replicate its configuration to another virtual instance.

Flex Image Templates

Flex Image is available on machines running out of any SoftLayer data center, worldwide. Flex Image is currently available for use on machines that run one of the following operating systems:

  • CentOS 5 and 6 (7 is not supported yet)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and 6 (7 is not supported yet)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2

Similar to our Standard Image Template, Flex Image captures an image of a machine and gives you the ability to replicate that machine on another instance. However, Flex Image goes to a step further than our Standard Image Template, in that it is available for use and replication on both Bare Metal Servers and Virtual Servers, and images captured using Flex Image may be used between platforms. Flex Image gives you the flexibility of Virtual, even when it's applied to a Bare Metal Server.

Image Templates in the Customer Portal

The Image Templates screen in the Customer Portal may be accessed through user navigation within the Portal once it is accessed. Follow the steps below to access the Image Templates screen in the Customer Portal.

  1. Access the Customer Portal using your unique credentials.
  2. Select Images from the Devices drop down menu.

Upon accessing the Image Templates screen in the Customer Portal, the view defaults to the Image Templates screen containing all Private Images associated with the account. Any interactions with Private Images associated with the account happen here, and from this page you may drag and drop columns to customize the view and access Public Images. The Image Templates screens are the central storage locations for both Flex and Standard Images and interactions with both types of images are identical, aside from the types of machines may be ordered.

Private Images

The Image Templates screen containing Private Images displays all Private Images associated with the account. Private Images are those created by a user on the account or images created on another account that have been shared with the account. By default, all images created are private. From this view, individual images are accessed by clicking on the Template Name. Clicking the Actions button allows you to order machines based on the selected template or to delete the template from the account.

Public Image Screen

The Image Templates screen containing Public Images displays images of pre-configured machines posted by SoftLayer and are available for user by all SoftLayer customers. Machines provisioned through Public Image Templates are generally configured for optimal performance, with specific combinations of a variety of configuration specs.

On this screen, the Account column displays the account that created the Image Template. The Template Name and Summary columns should provide a brief explanation on how the image is configured, usually containing the system specs that will be applied to the machine when ordering a device from the selected image. Clicking the Actions button allows you to order machines based on the selected template. Public Images may not be deleted.

Image Templates Details Screen

The Image Template Details screen displays the details associated with the image of which image is being viewed. From this screen, details regarding Private Images may be viewed and edited, while details regarding Public Images are read-only. New machines may be ordered from the image by clicking the Actions button on this screen.

Where to Go From Here

Now that you know a bit more on the practical application of Image Templates, it's time to get started using this service. Begin by creating a Flex Image or Standard Image Template, and move on from there. If you have any questions along the way, feel free to open a support ticket for assistance.