July 11, 2023 By Jerry Parra 3 min read

Organization is key in any business. With an organization plan, you can plan for the work that is needed, and staying organized helps keep your environment up and running. IBM Cloud VPC image lifecycle management helps you organize your custom images by designating different image statuses, such as “deprecate” and “obsolete.”

Keeping your software current is an ongoing process that is essential for any environment to work properly, and it also helps keep security risks to a minimum. You can control the use of your images by locking them when they are no longer current so that you aren’t using obsolete images.

Setting up different states for each image in your account lets you see image deprecation and obsolescence dates. Every organization needs to plan their migrations based on their environment. Having different image states gives you time to plan future migrations, which can help reduce risks and costs.

Best practices for maintaining and updating images

Image lifecycle management allows you to be proactive (rather than reactive) when you plan a migration to a supported image or software version. Unplanned migrations may result in you using deprecated software, exposing yourself to security liabilities and incurring unplanned costs.

The best practices for maintaining and updating images are set by each organization. Depending on the software and available resources, you need to design a process that fits your organization’s needs. Consider the following tips when you design your management process:

  1. Understand your organizational requirements for custom images.
  2. Create a strategy for updating custom images.
  3. Define an update cadence for custom images (monthly, quarterly, etc.).
  4. Set and keep custom image statuses updated.
  5. Regularly review and update your process as needed.

This new feature is available on custom images and stock images.

Managing the lifecycle of your custom images

Custom images can be created from an existing instance or you can import them to your VPC. If you are creating a custom image based on our stock images, make sure that you select a stock image that is available.

By using the custom image lifecycle, you can set the status of your custom images instantly or at a future date. Your image status can be set back and forth between the following supported statuses:

  • Available: You can provision instances.
  • Deprecated: The image can be used to create an instance, but you receive a warning. Using the deprecated status can discourage use of the image before the status changes to `obsolete`.
  • Obsolete: The image can’t be used to create an instance. If you try to use an obsolete image to create an instance, you receive a message that says that the image can’t be used to create an instance. The obsolete status is useful for identifying users that have yet to migrate to a supported image version. You can give them a grace period by changing the status back to deprecated.

Any image that is in deprecated or obsolete status is still billed. If you don’t want to be billed for the image, you must delete it.

How to schedule the lifecycle of a custom image

From the IBM Cloud VPC console, click on Images > Image options > Schedule lifecycle:

A side panel is shown with two sections: Image status and Deprecation details.

Image Status allows you to set each status individually (deprecated or obsolete) or you can schedule the complete lifecycle of an available image by simultaneously setting the image deprecation date and obsolescence date.

You can also set the status immediately or select a future date by selecting a specific calendar date or number of days to implement the change:

For more information about the scheduling lifecycle of images, see “Schedule a custom image lifecycle status change in the UI.”

IBM stock images lifecycle

IBM tries to provide the latest stock images on the market and keeps them current, refreshing the stock images at least once a quarter with the latest fixes and packages. For stock images, IBM manages the lifecycle with the following considerations:

  • Available: Only the latest stock image versions are shown as available.
  • Deprecated: Previous versions are marked as deprecated.
  • Obsolete: End of support (EOS) images are marked as obsolete. For more information about the custom image lifecycle, see here.

Get started

IBM Cloud VPC image lifecycle management will allow you to plan and organize the lifecycle of your custom images, keeping them current and labeled properly. This feature will also provide warnings when using a deprecated image to deploy new instances and will prevent new instance deployments using obsolete images.

This feature will be available for you to use starting on July 11, 2023, on IBM Cloud VPC.

Learn more about IBM Cloud VPC image lifecycle management

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