Internal Files: data

Cloud-init uses the filesystem to store its own internal state. These files are not intended for user consumption, but may prove helpful to debug unexpected cloud-init failures.

Data files

Inside the /var/lib/cloud/ directory there are two important subdirectories:


The /var/lib/cloud/instance directory is a symbolic link that points to the most recently used instance-id directory. This folder contains the information cloud-init received from datasources, including vendor and user data. This can help to determine that the correct data was passed.

It also contains the datasource file that contains the full information about which datasource was identified and used to set up the system.

Finally, the boot-finished file is the last thing that cloud-init creates.


The /var/lib/cloud/data directory contains information related to the previous boot:

  • instance-id: ID of the instance as discovered by cloud-init. Changing this file has no effect.

  • result.json: JSON file showing both the datasource used to set up the instance, and whether any errors occurred.

  • status.json: JSON file showing the datasource used, a breakdown of all four stages, whether any errors occurred, and the start and stop times of the stages.