Cloud images and uvtool
With Ubuntu being one of the most used operating systems on many cloud platforms, the availability of stable and secure cloud images has become very important. As of 12.04 the use of cloud images outside of a cloud infrastructure has been improved. It is now possible to use those images to create a virtual machine without needing a complete installation.
Creating virtual machines using
Starting with 14.04 LTS, a tool called
uvtool has greatly facilitated the creation of virtual machines (VM) using cloud images.
uvtool provides a simple mechanism for synchronising cloud images locally and using them to create new VMs in minutes.
The following packages and their dependencies will be required in order to use
sudo apt -y install uvtool
This will install
uvtool's main commands,
Get the Ubuntu cloud image with
This is one of the major simplifications that
uvtool brings. It knows where to find the cloud images so only one command is required to get a new cloud image. For instance, if you want to synchronise all cloud images for the amd64 architecture, the
uvtool command would be:
uvt-simplestreams-libvirt --verbose sync arch=amd64
After all the images are downloaded from the Internet, you will have a complete set of locally-stored cloud images. To see what has been downloaded, use the following command:
release=bionic arch=amd64 label=daily (20191107) release=focal arch=amd64 label=daily (20191029) ...
In the case where you want to synchronise only one specific cloud image, you need to use the
arch= filters to identify which image needs to be synchronised.
uvt-simplestreams-libvirt sync release=DISTRO-SHORT-CODENAME arch=amd64
Furthermore, you can provide an alternative URL to fetch images from. A common case is the daily image, which helps you get the very latest images, or if you need access to the not-yet-released development release of Ubuntu. As an example:
uvt-simplestreams-libvirt sync --source http://cloud-images.ubuntu.com/daily [... further options]
Create the VM using
In order to connect to the virtual machine once it has been created, you must have a valid SSH key available for the Ubuntu user. If your environment does not have an SSH key, you can easily create one using the
ssh-keygen command, which will produce similar output to this:
Generating public/private rsa key pair. Enter file in which to save the key (/home/ubuntu/.ssh/id_rsa): Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): Enter same passphrase again: Your identification has been saved in /home/ubuntu/.ssh/id_rsa. Your public key has been saved in /home/ubuntu/.ssh/id_rsa.pub. The key fingerprint is: 4d:ba:5d:57:c9:49:ef:b5:ab:71:14:56:6e:2b:ad:9b ubuntu@DISTRO-SHORT-CODENAMES The key's randomart image is: +--[ RSA 2048]----+ | ..| | o.=| | . **| | + o+=| | S . ...=.| | o . .+ .| | . . o o | | * | | E | +-----------------+
To create of a new virtual machine using
uvtool, run the following in a terminal:
uvt-kvm create firsttest
This will create a VM named ‘firsttest’ using the current locally-available LTS cloud image. If you want to specify a release to be used to create the VM, you need to use the
uvt-kvm create secondtest release=DISTRO-SHORT-CODENAME
uvt-kvm wait command can be used to wait until the creation of the VM has completed:
uvt-kvm wait secondttest
Connect to the running VM
Once the virtual machine creation is completed, you can connect to it using SSH:
uvt-kvm ssh secondtest
You can also connect to your VM using a regular SSH session using the IP address of the VM. The address can be queried using the following command:
$ uvt-kvm ip secondtest 192.168.122.199 $ ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa firstname.lastname@example.org [...] To run a command as administrator (user "root"), use "sudo <command>". See "man sudo_root" for details. ubuntu@secondtest:~$
Get the list of running VMs
You can get the list of VMs running on your system with the
uvt-kvm list command.
Destroy your VM
Once you are done with your VM, you can destroy it with:
uvt-kvm destroy secondtest
Unlike libvirt’s destroy or undefine actions, this will (by default) also remove the associated virtual storage files.
The following options can be used to change some of the characteristics of the VM that you are creating:
--memory: Amount of RAM in megabytes. Default: 512.
--disk: Size of the OS disk in gigabytes. Default: 8.
--cpu: Number of CPU cores. Default: 1.
Some other parameters will have an impact on the cloud-init configuration:
--password <password>: Allow login to the VM using the Ubuntu account and this provided password.
--run-script-once <script_file>: Run script_file as root on the VM the first time it is booted, but never again.
--packages <package_list>: Install the comma-separated packages specified in
package_liston first boot.
A complete description of all available modifiers is available in the manpage of
If you are interested in learning more, have questions or suggestions, please contact the Ubuntu Server Team at:
IRC: #ubuntu-server on libera
Mailing list: ubuntu-server at lists.ubuntu.com