Minimal Ubuntu, on public clouds and Docker Hub

Today we are delighted to introduce the new Minimal Ubuntu, optimized for automated use at scale, with a tiny package set and minimal security cross-section. Speed, performance and stability are primary concerns for cloud developers and ops.

“The small footprint of Minimal Ubuntu, when deployed with fast VM provisioning from GCE, helps deliver drastically improved boot times, making them a great choice for developers looking to build their applications on Google Cloud Platform,” said Paul Nash, Group Product Manager, Google Cloud.”

Smaller and faster, for automated cloud operations

Minimal Ubuntu is the smallest Ubuntu base image for your cloud operations. These images are less than 50% the size of the standard Ubuntu server image, and boot up to 40% faster. Images of Minimal Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and 18.04 LTS are available for use now in Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine (GCE), LXD and KVM/OpenStack.

Tiny container base image

The 29MB Docker image for Minimal Ubuntu 18.04 LTS serves as a highly efficient container starting point, and allows developers to deploy multicloud containerized applications faster. For modern Docker workflows with Kubernetes, the minimal Ubuntu image provides a balance of compatibility, familiarity, performance and size. This is the standard Ubuntu 18.04 LTS image on the Docker Hub.

Cloud images also contain the optimised kernel for each cloud and supporting boot utilities.

Fully compatible with all Ubuntu packages

While the footprint of Minimal Ubuntu is greatly reduced, it preserves full compatibility with standard Ubuntu operations. Any Ubuntu package can be installed on Minimal Ubuntu. Get exactly the image you need by simply adding your required packages, with dependencies, to a Minimal Ubuntu base image.

Minimal Ubuntu is designed for completely automated operations, with none of the usual human-friendly utilities for comfortable interactive usage. Editors, documentation, locales and other user-oriented features of Ubuntu Server have been removed. What remains are only the vital components of the boot sequence.  Images still contain ssh, apt and snapd so you can connect and install any package you’re missing. The unminimize tool lets you ‘rehydrate’ your image into a familiar Ubuntu server package set, suitable for command line interaction.

Optimized for cloud hypervisors

Minimal Ubuntu uses the optimized kernels on Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. The downloadable Minimal Ubuntu image ships with a KVM-optimised kernel and tuned for boot speed and size.

Minimized security cross-section

With fewer installed packages, Minimal Ubuntu images will avoid some security vulnerabilities and require fewer updates over time. Use of Minimal Ubuntu will reduce overall bandwidth consumption for an institution and require less storage.

Download for private clouds, published on public clouds

Minimal Ubuntu images for private clouds are available for download at http://cloud-images.ubuntu.com/minimal/releases/

Minimal Ubuntu images are available on AWS and Google Cloud.

On AWS, see the listing of minimal images at US-WEST 2 minimal images

and on Google Cloud use the SDK CLI with:

 gcloud compute images list --project ubuntu-os-cloud | grep ubuntu-minimal

Using Minimal Images from Dockerhub

On Dockerhub, the new Ubuntu 18.04 LTS image is now the new Minimal Ubuntu 18.04 image. Launching a Docker  instance with docker run ubuntu:18.04  therefore launches a Docker instance with the latest Minimal Ubuntu.

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