Manage images

Manage images

The cloud operator assigns roles to users. Roles determine who can upload and manage images. The operator might restrict image upload and management to only cloud administrators or operators.

You can upload images through the glance client or the Image service API. You can use the nova client for the image management. The latter provides mechanisms to list and delete images, set and delete image metadata, and create images of a running instance or snapshot and backup types.

After you upload an image, you cannot change it.

For details about image creation, see the Virtual Machine Image Guide.

List or get details for images (glance)

To get a list of images and to get further details about a single image, use glance image-list and glance image-show commands.

$ glance image-list
| ID       | Name                            | Disk Format | Container Format | Size     | Status |
| 397e7... | cirros-0.3.2-x86_64-uec         | ami         | ami              | 25165824 | active |
| df430... | cirros-0.3.2-x86_64-uec-kernel  | aki         | aki              | 4955792  | active |
| 3cf85... | cirros-0.3.2-x86_64-uec-ramdisk | ari         | ari              | 3714968  | active |
| 7e514... | myCirrosImage                   | ami         | ami              | 14221312 | active |
$ glance image-show myCirrosImage
| Property                              | Value                                |
| Property 'base_image_ref'             | 397e713c-b95b-4186-ad46-6126863ea0a9 |
| Property 'image_location'             | snapshot                             |
| Property 'image_state'                | available                            |
| Property 'image_type'                 | snapshot                             |
| Property 'instance_type_ephemeral_gb' | 0                                    |
| Property 'instance_type_flavorid'     | 2                                    |
| Property 'instance_type_id'           | 5                                    |
| Property 'instance_type_memory_mb'    | 2048                                 |
| Property 'instance_type_name'         | m1.small                             |
| Property 'instance_type_root_gb'      | 20                                   |
| Property 'instance_type_rxtx_factor'  | 1                                    |
| Property 'instance_type_swap'         | 0                                    |
| Property 'instance_type_vcpu_weight'  | None                                 |
| Property 'instance_type_vcpus'        | 1                                    |
| Property 'instance_uuid'              | 84c6e57d-a6b1-44b6-81eb-fcb36afd31b5 |
| Property 'kernel_id'                  | df430cc2-3406-4061-b635-a51c16e488ac |
| Property 'owner_id'                   | 66265572db174a7aa66eba661f58eb9e     |
| Property 'ramdisk_id'                 | 3cf852bd-2332-48f4-9ae4-7d926d50945e |
| Property 'user_id'                    | 376744b5910b4b4da7d8e6cb483b06a8     |
| checksum                              | 8e4838effa1969ad591655d6485c7ba8     |
| container_format                      | ami                                  |
| created_at                            | 2013-07-22T19:45:58                  |
| deleted                               | False                                |
| disk_format                           | ami                                  |
| id                                    | 7e5142af-1253-4634-bcc6-89482c5f2e8a |
| is_public                             | False                                |
| min_disk                              | 0                                    |
| min_ram                               | 0                                    |
| name                                  | myCirrosImage                        |
| owner                                 | 66265572db174a7aa66eba661f58eb9e     |
| protected                             | False                                |
| size                                  | 14221312                             |
| status                                | active                               |
| updated_at                            | 2013-07-22T19:46:42                  |

When viewing a list of images, you can also use grep to filter the list, as follows:

$ glance image-list | grep 'cirros'
| 397e713c-b95b-4186-ad46-612... | cirros-0.3.2-x86_64-uec         | ami | ami | 25165824 | active |
| df430cc2-3406-4061-b635-a51... | cirros-0.3.2-x86_64-uec-kernel  | aki | aki | 4955792  | active |
| 3cf852bd-2332-48f4-9ae4-7d9... | cirros-0.3.2-x86_64-uec-ramdisk | ari | ari | 3714968  | active |


To store location metadata for images, which enables direct file access for a client, update the /etc/glance/glance-api.conf file with the following statements:

  • show_multiple_locations = True
  • filesystem_store_metadata_file = filePath, where filePath points to a JSON file that defines the mount point for OpenStack images on your system and a unique ID. For example:
    "id": "2d9bb53f-70ea-4066-a68b-67960eaae673",
    "mountpoint": "/var/lib/glance/images/"

After you restart the Image service, you can use the following syntax to view the image’s location information:

$ glance --os-image-api-version 2 image-show imageID

For example, using the image ID shown above, you would issue the command as follows:

$ glance --os-image-api-version 2 image-show 2d9bb53f-70ea-4066-a68b-67960eaae673

Create or update an image (glance)

To create an image, use glance image-create:

$ glance image-create imageName

To update an image by name or ID, use glance image-update:

$ glance image-update imageName

The following list explains the optional arguments that you can use with the create and update commands to modify image properties. For more information, refer to Image service chapter in the OpenStack Command-Line Interface Reference.

--name NAME
The name of the image.
--disk-format DISK_FORMAT
The disk format of the image. Acceptable formats are ami, ari, aki, vhd, vmdk, raw, qcow2, vdi, and iso.
--container-format CONTAINER_FORMAT
The container format of the image. Acceptable formats are ami, ari, aki, bare, docker, and ovf.
--owner TENANT_ID --size SIZE
The tenant who should own the image. The size of image data, in bytes.
--min-disk DISK_GB
The minimum size of the disk needed to boot the image, in gigabytes.
--min-ram DISK_RAM
The minimum amount of RAM needed to boot the image, in megabytes.
--location IMAGE_URL
The URL where the data for this image resides. For example, if the image data is stored in swift, you could specify swift://
--file FILE
Local file that contains the disk image to be uploaded during the update. Alternatively, you can pass images to the client through stdin.
--checksum CHECKSUM
Hash of image data to use for verification.
--copy-from IMAGE_URL
Similar to --location in usage, but indicates that the image server should immediately copy the data and store it in its configured image store.
--is-public [True|False]
Makes an image accessible for all the tenants (admin-only by default).
--is-protected [True|False]
Prevents an image from being deleted.
--property KEY=VALUE
Arbitrary property to associate with image. This option can be used multiple times.
Deletes all image properties that are not explicitly set in the update request. Otherwise, those properties not referenced are preserved.
Prints the image size in a human-friendly format.

The following example shows the command that you would use to upload a CentOS 6.3 image in qcow2 format and configure it for public access:

$ glance image-create --name centos63-image --disk-format qcow2 \
  --container-format bare --is-public True --file ./centos63.qcow2

The following example shows how to update an existing image with a properties that describe the disk bus, the CD-ROM bus, and the VIF model:


When you use OpenStack with VMware vCenter Server, you need to specify the vmware_disktype and vmware_adaptertype properties with glance image-create. Also, we recommend that you set the hypervisor_type="vmware" property. For more information, see Images with VMware vSphere in the OpenStack Configuration Reference.

$ glance image-update \
    --property hw_disk_bus=scsi \
    --property hw_cdrom_bus=ide \
    --property hw_vif_model=e1000 \

Currently the libvirt virtualization tool determines the disk, CD-ROM, and VIF device models based on the configured hypervisor type (libvirt_type in /etc/nova/nova.conf file). For the sake of optimal performance, libvirt defaults to using virtio for both disk and VIF (NIC) models. The disadvantage of this approach is that it is not possible to run operating systems that lack virtio drivers, for example, BSD, Solaris, and older versions of Linux and Windows.

If you specify a disk or CD-ROM bus model that is not supported, see the Disk_and_CD-ROM_bus_model_values_table. If you specify a VIF model that is not supported, the instance fails to launch. See the VIF_model_values_table.

The valid model values depend on the libvirt_type setting, as shown in the following tables.

Disk and CD-ROM bus model values

libvirt_type setting Supported model values
qemu or kvm
  • ide
  • scsi
  • virtio
  • ide
  • xen

VIF model values

libvirt_type setting Supported model values
qemu or kvm
  • e1000
  • ne2k_pci
  • pcnet
  • rtl8139
  • virtio
  • e1000
  • netfront
  • ne2k_pci
  • pcnet
  • rtl8139
  • VirtualE1000
  • VirtualPCNet32
  • VirtualVmxnet


By default, hardware properties are retrieved from the image properties. However, if this information is not available, the libosinfo database provides an alternative source for these values.

If the guest operating system is not in the database, or if the use of libosinfo is disabled, the default system values are used.

Users can set the operating system ID or a short-id by setting os_distro in image properties. For example:

$ glance image-update --property os_distro=fedora23 \

Alternatively, users can set os_distro to a URL:

$ glance image-update \
  --property os_distro= \

Troubleshoot image creation

If you encounter problems in creating an image in the Image service or Compute, the following information may help you troubleshoot the creation process.

  • Ensure that the version of qemu you are using is version 0.14 or later. Earlier versions of qemu result in an unknown option -s error message in the nova-compute.log file.
  • Examine the /var/log/nova/nova-api.log and /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log log files for error messages.
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