Break New Ground

Build Oracle Cloud Infrastructure custom Images with Packer on Oracle Developer Cloud

Abhinav Shroff
Principal Product Manager

In the April release of Oracle Developer Cloud Service we started supporting Docker and HashiCorp Terraform builds as part of the CI & CD pipeline.  HashiCorp Terraform helps you provision Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instance as part of the build pipeline. But what if you want to provision the instance using a custom image instead of the base image? You need a tool like  HashiCorp Packer to script your way into building images. So with Docker build support we can now build Packer based images as part of build pipeline in Oracle Developer Cloud. This blog will help you to understand how you can use Docker and Packer together on Developer Cloud to create custom images on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

About HashiCorp Packer

HashiCorp Packer automates the creation of any type of machine image. It embraces modern configuration management by encouraging to use automated scripts to install and configure the software within your Packer-made images. Packer brings machine images into the modern age, unlocking untapped potential and opening new opportunities.

You can read more about HashiCorp Packer on https://www.packer.io/

You can find the details of HashiCorp Packer support for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure here.

Tools and Platforms Used

Below are the tools and cloud platforms I use for this blog:

Oracle Developer Cloud Service: The DevOps platform to build your Ci & CD pipeline.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure: IaaS platform where we would build the image which can be used for provisioning.

Packer: Tool for creating custom images on cloud. We would be doing for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure or OCI it is popularly known as. For this blog I would mostly be using OCI here on.

Packer Scripts

To execute the Packer scripts on the Oracle Developer Cloud as part of the build pipeline, you need to upload 3 files to the Git repository. To upload the scripts to the Git repository, you will need to first install the Git cli on your machine and then use the below commands to upload the code:

I was using windows machine for the script development, so below is what you need to do on the command line:

Pushing Scripts to Git Repository on Oracle Developer Cloud

Command_prompt:> cd <path to the Terraform script folder>

Command_prompt:>git init

Command_prompt:>git add –all

Command_prompt:>git commit –m “<some commit message>”

Command_prompt:>git remote add origin <Developer cloud Git repository HTTPS URL>

Command_prompt:>git push origin master

Note: Ensure that the Git repository is created and you have the HTTPS URL for it.

Below is the folder structure description for the scripts that I have in the Git Repository on Oracle Developer Cloud Service.

Description of the files:

oci_api_key.pem – This is the file required for the OCI access. It contains the SSH private key.

Note: Please refer to the links below for details on OCI key. You will also need the SSH public key to be there





build.json: This is the only configuration file that you need for Packer. This JSON file contains all the definitions needed for Packer to create an image on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. I have truncated the ocids and fingerprint for security reasons.


  "builders": [
      "tenancy_ocid": "ocid1.tenancy.oc1..aaaaaaaay",
      "availability_domain": "PILZ:PHX-AD-1",
      "region": "us-phoenix-1",
      "base_image_ocid": "ocid1.image.oc1.phx.aaaaaaaal",
      "compartment_ocid": "ocid1.compartment.oc1..aaaaaaaahd",
      "image_name": "RedisOCI",
      "shape": "VM.Standard1.1",
      "ssh_username": "ubuntu",
      "ssh_password": "welcome1",
      "subnet_ocid": "ocid1.subnet.oc1.phx.aaaaaaaa",
      "type": "oracle-oci"
  "provisioners": [
      "type": "shell",
      "inline": [
        "sleep 30",
        "sudo apt-get update",
        "sudo apt-get install -y redis-server"

You can give values of your choice for image_name and it is recommended but optional to provide ssh_password. While I have kept ssh_username as “Ubuntu” as my base image OS was Ubuntu. Leave the type and shape as is. The base_image ocid would depend on the region. Different region have different ocid for the base images. Please refer link below to find the ocid for the image as per region.


Now login into your OCI console to retrieve some of the details needed for the build.json definitions.

Below screenshot shows where you can retrieve your tenancy_ocid from.

Below screenshot of OCI console shows where you will find the compartment_ocid.

Below screenshot of OCI console shows where you will find the user_ocid.

You can retrieve the region and availability_domain as shown below.

Now select the compartment, which is “packerTest” for this blog, then click on the networking tab and then the VCN you have created. Here you would see a subnet each for the availability_domains. Copy the ocid for the subnet with respect to the availability_domain you have chosen.

Dockerfile: This will install Packer in Docker and run the Packer command to create a custom image on OCI. It pulls the packer:full image, then adds the build.json and oci_api_key.pem files the Docker image and then execute the packer build command.


FROM hashicorp/packer:full
ADD build.json ./
ADD oci_api_key.pem ./
RUN packer build build.json


Configuring the Build VM

With our latest release, you will have to create a build VM with the Docker software bundle, to be able to execute the build for Packer, as we are using Docker to install and run Packer.

Click on the user drop down on the right hand top of the page. Select “Organization” from the menu.

Click on the VM Templates tab and then on the “New Template” button. Give a template name of your choice and select the platform as “Oracle Linux 7”. And then click the Create button.

On creation of the template click on “Configure Software” button.

Select Docker from the list of software bundles available for configuration and click on the + sign to add it to the template. Then click on “Done” to complete the Software configuration.

Click on the Virtual Machines tab, then click on “+New VM” button and enter the number of VM you want to create and select the VM Template you just created, which would be “DockerTemplate” for our blog.


Build Job Configuration

Click on the “+ New Job” button and in the dialog which pops up, give the build job a name of your choice and then select the build template (DockerTemplate) from the dropdown, that we had created earlier in the blog. 

As part of the build configuration, add Git from the “Add Source Control” dropdown. And now select the repository and the branch that you have selected. You may select the checkbox to configure automatic build trigger on SCM commits.

In the Builders tab Docker Builder -> Docker Build from the Add Builder dropdown. You just need to give the Image name in the form that gets added and you are all done with the Build Job configuration. Now Click on Save to save the build job configuration.

On execution of the build job, the image gets created in the OCI instance in the defined compartment as shown in the below screenshot.

So now you can easily automate custom image creation on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure using Packer as part of your continuous integration & continuous delivery pipeline on Oracle Developer Cloud.

Happy Packing!

 **The views expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle

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