initializing stock images with cloud-init

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One Line Summary



Cloud-init has been a part of the Ubuntu images on EC2 since 10.04. It allows a user to customize a stock image on first boot, removing the need for them to “rebundle”. It does so by utilizing instance meta-data and user-data.

One goal of cloud-init is to allow the user to customize as much as possible without need to reboot or restart services. This means cloud-init has to run as early as possible in the boot sequence to give users the ability to change things before they’ve started.

Currently, cloud-init supports reading customization information or references to customization information from:

  • in image config files
  • kernel command line
  • EC2 Metadata service
  • OVF ISO Transport

In the future we would like to support additional data sources so that cloud-init can be used generically for “stock image” configuration.


cloud, configure


  • Scott Moser



    Scott Moser is an Ubuntu member and Canonical employee. He has has maintained the “Official Ubuntu Images” that run on EC2, Eucalyptus, and Openstack.