Getting Started

Getting started with Elemental

Elemental toolkit provides a runtime and buildtime framework in order to boot containers in VMs, Baremetals and Cloud.

You can either choose to build a Elemental derivative or run Elemental to boostrap a new system.

Elemental vanilla images are published to allow to deploy user-built derivatives.

Elemental is designed to run, deploy and upgrade derivatives that can be built just as standard OCI container images. Elemental assets can be used to either drive unattended deployments of a derivative or used to create custom images (with packer).


Philosophy behind elemental-toolkit is simple: it allows you to create Linux derivatives from container images.

  • Container registry as a single source of truth
  • Hybrid way to access your image for different scopes (development, debugging, ..)
  • No more inconsistent states between nodes. A “Store” to keep your (tagged) shared states where you can rollback and upgrade into.
  • “Stateless”: Images with upgrades are rebuilt from scratch instead of applying upgrades.
  • A/B upgrades, immutable systems

The container image is booted as-is, encapsulating all the needed components (kernel, initrd included) and can be pulled locally for inspection, development and debugging. At the same time it can be used also to create installation medium as ISO, Raw images, OVA or Cloud specific images.

A derivative automatically inherits the following featureset:

Building Elemental derivatives

The starting point to use elemental-toolkit is to check out our examples and our creating bootable images section.

The only requirement to build derivatives with elemental-toolkit is Docker installed. If you are interested in building elemental-toolkit itself, see Development notes.

The toolkit itself is delivered as a set of standalone, re-usable OCI artifacts which are tagged and tracked as standard OCI images and it is installed inside the container image to provide the same featureset among derivatives, see how to create bootable images.

Vanilla images

Elemental releases are composed of vanilla images that are used internally for testing and can be used as a starting point to deploy derivatives in specific environments (e.g. AWS) or just to try out the Elemental featureset.

The vanilla images ships no specific business-logic aside serving as a base for testing and deploying other derivatives.

What to do next?

Check out how to create bootable images or download the Elemental vanilla images to give Elemental a try!

Here below you will find the common documentation that applies to any derivative built with Elemental and the Elemental vanilla images.


How to get Elemental Toolkit


Installing Elemental or a derivative locally


How to run upgrades in Elemental


How to use the recovery partition to reset the system or perform upgrades.


How to deploy derivatives images from Elemental vanilla images

Last modified August 9, 2022: rename master to main (#1587) (0d1833a04)