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Helper tool to build debian based virtual disks.

Project description

vdisk is a tool to create a debian system suitable for use by a virtualization technology such as kvm/qemu. The output image is is a sparse file holding a a partition table, the grub boot loader and a filesystem containing the base system.


vdisk is designed to run in Debian GNU/Linux and the standard configuration builds a Debian Squeeze image.

vdisk depends on a few packages being installed on the system where images are built. This can be accomplished by running the following command:

apt-get install kpartx parted lvm2 python-argparse


vdisk builds sparse images and mounts them to loopback devices for convenient access.

This allows for easy manipulation of these images inside of a chroot, effectively letting allow for setup of a virtual base system without having to run a virtual machine.


All of the following commands must be run as root on a linux host.

vdisk expects a configuration file in the current working directory called vdisk.yaml, an example should be distributed with this package.

Build a fresh image and bootstrap a base system to it.

bin/vdisk foo.img create bin/vdisk foo.img bootstrap

Install required packages, and prepare image for booting.

bin/vdisk foo.img install [selections]

Try it out.

bin/vdisk foo.img enter

When you have a successfully installed a system, try it out using a virtual machine or an emulator like qemu.

qemu-system-x86_64 -hda foo.img -monitor stdio


You must include /boot/grub/menu.lst it in your vdisk.yaml. Simple example:

default 0 timeout 3 title EC2 root (hd0,0) kernel /vmlinuz root=/dev/mapper/VolFoo-root ro initrd /initrd.img

Depending on your kernel you might also need to create /etc/initramfs-tools/modules with xenblk and xennet modules, vdisk will execute update-initramfs as the final step.

Important Files

vdisk.yaml - Contains configuration for how to create your virtual disk.

License & Credits

This software is released under the GNU GPL, see COPYING for details.

It is authored by John-John Tedro <>, Noa Resare <> and Lars-Erik Stenholm <>.

Copyright is held by Spotify AB.

Project details

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