itopia now allows you to create custom server images and configure them with applications of your preference. These images can be then used to create new instances (app servers, session host servers).
We also incorporated images into the Autoscaling process and you are able to select a custom image for your session host server configuration. Using custom images for autoscaling processes will make it faster and easier to spin up new session host servers since images will already be configured with your selected applications.
Another great use of images is to roll out app or system updates to multiple session host instances at once. You just configure your image with the latest application versions, make any other custom changes to it and then use the Autoscaling process to apply the new image to all your session host servers.
itopia doesn't charge for using images so you'd pay what GCP charges for the resources. The cost related to images would depend on the server that's spun up in order to configure the image. Once the image creation is finished, the server is deleted. Image pricing can be found here. Every image also has one snapshot created and saved in GCP in case you need to clone it later. It's recommended not to delete this snapshot from GCP.
Before you start
- Images are available per deployment, meaning that you cannot share an image between different deployments/ projects.
- itopia allows using Images module for deployments created after 5/10/2018
How to create a custom image
Select the deployment you want to create an image for and go to Cloud Manager section - Images
NOTE: You can also import your existing images from GCP if they belong to the same project. Learn more about importing images here.
Then click on the green + sign and fill in the information about the custom image
Disk size refers to the size of the boot disk and it cannot be minor than Google's default 50 GB size.
Hit Save and your image configuration starts. You will see the image in "Pending" status.
Once the configuration completes, login with your domain credentials if the image was domain-joined. Otherwise, you'll have to use the local admin account credentials that you can set through the Google Cloud Console.
Note: You can create a local admin account by creating a new username when you select the Set Windows Password option. Google Cloud access is needed to access images not joined to the domain.
Then you need to configure the server image with the applications that need to be installed and any other custom settings.
You will get a tasks in the Tasks module to remind you of the configuration step:
Find below the steps to configure the server image
Configuring the server image
Go to Cloud Manager - Images and click on the image that you will be connecting to
You will get the server details. Click Connect and a pre-configured RDP file will be downloaded to your PC
Double click the RDP file and connect to the server with the password you received by email.
Then install all the applications that you need on this image and once done, complete the configuration task from the Tasks module.
Now our software takes care of finishing the image configuration and the status changes to Pending again.
Once the setup is finished, the status of the server in Images module will show as green ("Ready")
Editing server image/ Cloning the image
To edit the Description of the image, mark the image you want to edit and hit the Edit button.
If you'd like to edit other parameters like Storage or installed apps, you can accomplish that by creating image clone.
This option is perfect if you need to update your image with new apps or increase the disk space while saving the existing image configuration:
The Description will populate automatically. You can edit the description if needed and then define the Storage amount. The storage must be equal or bigger than the original image you are cloning.
Once done, the process will be the same as creating a new image. The image will already contain the apps that you installed on the image you cloned and you can add more/remove some after receiving the admin credentials.
If you don't need the original image you cloned, you can delete it later:
Note: The snapshot that was associated with the deleted image will not be deleted from GCP. You can delete it from GCP manually.
Creating a server from custom image
You can use custom images to create app servers/ database servers. Go to Instances module and click the green + sign to add a new server
In the server options, select the Image you created.
The image will appear under "Custom"
Define the rest of your settings for the server normally and click Save.
NOTE: Using an imported image that was created from a snapshot of an existing session host instance in the deployment can cause several issues with the deployment functionality. Please reach out to the support team before using such image to create a new server.
Preparing your image for itopia CAS
Please see this step-by-step guide for preparing a new image to be used in a Collection here.
Using Custom Images to Configure Autoscaling
You can create your custom image, configure it with applications and then use your image to create new session host servers automatically with Autoscaling.
You will save all the time that you'd normally spend installing the applications in the newly created session host servers.
You have 2 options when using images for autoscaling:
- Use your custom image to create new session host instances. You can keep your current session host configuration and all the new session hosts that will be created by autoscale will be set up using your custom image.
- You can use your image to re-configure all your existing session host servers
Known Issues with Image Creation
- Windows Server 2016 and 2019 support Microsoft's AppX framework. If an AppX application is installed for a single user, it may cause an error during the sysprep process similar to the following: "Package <Package Name> was installed for a user, but not provisioned for all users. This package will not function properly in the sysprep image". To resolve this issue, the package must be removed using the Remove-AppX PowerShell cmdlet. For more information, refer to the following Microsoft article: support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2769827.
- Using an imported image that was created from a snapshot of an existing session host instance in the deployment can cause several issues with the deployment functionality. Please reach out to the support team before using such image to create a new server.