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The Packer Book by James Turnbull

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1 Introduction to Packer

A machine image is a static unit that contains a preconfigured operating system and installed software. You can use images to clone or create new hosts. Images help speed up the process of building and deploying new infrastructure. Images come in many formats, specific to various platforms and deployment environments.

In one of my first jobs I built servers. It wasn’t done using an API, the latest cool Cloud service, or even via a configuration management tool. Instead we wheeled a trolley, stacked with four PCs, a CD burner, and an assortment of cables and CDs, around the data center. We plugged directly into freshly racked servers and loaded previously built images, usually called “golden images,” onto the new servers ...

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