Building Custom Linux Images for Amazon EC2

Administration, Cloud Computing, Emerging Topics, Linux
Location: Ballroom A4/A5
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 9 ratings)

Amazon EC2 (Elastic Computer Cloud) is a powerful platform for running Linux with on-demand, self-service interfaces for starting and stopping virtual machine instances.

Though many machine images (AMIs) have been published for running different Linux distros with various software pre-installed, you may not be able to find public images configured with exactly the right software packages and application software you want to run, or you might not trust the anonymous stranger who built and published the image.

This talk shows how to use open source tools like ec2ubuntu-build-ami and the latest version of vmbuilder to create an Ubuntu or Debian machine image to your specs with a process you can modify and reuse as your needs change. With custom hooks in the build software, the potential for building powerful, personalized images is unlimited.

You will also learn why building or rebundling your own EC2 image is often not the best approach and how to have instances install software and configure themselves when they boot, even when you are running an unmodified public image.

This talk expects that audience members are comfortable running and
using a Linux system and have at least a basic familiarity with what
Amazon EC2 is. Attendees who have run an instance on EC2 and have an
understanding of shell scripting will get the most out of this session. Experts in virtual machine building will still pick up pointers for automating the process for EC2.

Photo of Eric Hammond

Eric Hammond

Campus Explorer, Inc.

Eric Hammond is an Internet Startup Technologist who has been involved in the architecture, development, and leadership of a number of successful early stage startups including,,,, and

Since 2007 Eric has been building, maintaining, and supporting a series of popular images for running Ubuntu and Debian on Amazon EC2. Eric provides EC2 and Ubuntu consulting to select clients including helping Canonical in the development of the official Ubuntu images for EC2.

  • Intel
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Facebook
  • Gear6
  • Kaltura
  • Liferay
  • MindTouch
  • Novell, Inc.
  • Open Invention Network
  • Rackspace Cloud
  • Schooner Information Technology
  • Silicon Mechanics
  • Symbian Foundation
  • Twilio
  • WSO2
  • Yabarana Corporation

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