Cloud-Init Overview

================= cloud-init is a multi-distribution package that handles early initialization of a cloud instance.

In-depth documentation for cloud-init is available here:

Supported installations

Both the full version of and the minimal version of Photon OS support cloud-init.

Supported capabilities

Photon OS supports the following cloud-init capabilities:

  • run commands: execute a list of commands with output to console.
  • configure ssh keys: add an entry to ~/.ssh/authorized_keys for the configured user.
  • install package: install additional packages on first boot.
  • configure networking: update /etc/hosts, hostname, etc.
  • write files: write arbitrary files to disk.
  • add yum repository: add a yum repository to /etc/yum.repos.d.
  • create groups and users: add groups and users to the system and set properties for them.
  • run yum upgrade: upgrade all packages.
  • reboot: reboot or power off when done with cloud-init.

Getting Started

The Amazon Machine Image of Photon OS has an ec2 datasource turned on by default so an ec2 configuration is accepted. However, for testing, the following methods provide ways to do cloud-init with a standalone instance of Photon OS.

Using a Seed ISO

This will be using the nocloud data source. In order to initialize the system in this way, an ISO file needs to be created with a meta-data file and an user-data file as shown below:

$ { echo instance-id: iid-local01; echo local-hostname: cloudimg; } > meta-data
$ printf "#cloud-config\nhostname: testhost\n" > user-data
$ genisoimage  -output seed.iso -volid cidata -joliet -rock user-data meta-data

Attach the seed.iso generated above to your machine and reboot for the init to take effect. In this case, the hostname is set to testhost.

Using a Seed Disk File

To init using local disk files, do the following:

mkdir /var/lib/cloud/seed/nocloud
cd /var/lib/cloud/seed/nocloud
$ { echo instance-id: iid-local01; echo local-hostname: cloudimg; } > meta-data
$ printf "#cloud-config\nhostname: testhost\n" > user-data

Reboot the machine and the hostname will be set to testhost.


Cloud-init modules have predetermined frequencies. Based on the frequency setting, multiple runs will yield different results. For the scripts to always run, remove the instances directory before rebooting.

rm -rf /var/lib/cloud/instances

Module Frequency Info

Name Frequency
disable_ec2_metadata Always
users_groups Instance
write_files Instance
update_hostname Always
final_message Always
resolv_conf Instance
growpart Always
update_etc_hosts Always
power_state_change Instance
phone_home Instance

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