CloudCaptain vs Packer

Packer vs CloudCaptain

CloudCaptain is a simple, fast and robust alternative to Packer for creating AWS AMIs for JVM and Node.js apps.
Here's why you should consider switching...

Thinking of making the switch to CloudCaptain to produce AWS AMIs for your JVM and Node.js apps?

We want to make the decision as easy as possible, so we’ve put together some info that'll help you decide which option is best for you.

Below, you'll find information to help you compare CloudCaptain and Packer, including features, pricing and thoughts from current CloudCaptain customers who have made the switch.

1. CloudCaptain is easier and more robust than Packer

CloudCaptain is all about making you productive so you can focus on delighting your customers instead dealing with infrastructure issues. We made sure CloudCaptain is a joy to use by making building AWS AMIs for JVM application absolutely trivial. There are no lengthy complicated descriptors and no tedious OS provisioning. Instead all you need is a single command, boxfuse convert, which will take you all the way from JVM application to fully-baked AMI with no configuration required:

> boxfuse convert myapp-1.0.jar

Fusing Image for myapp-1.0.jar ...
Image fused in 00:06.525s (55362 K) -> myuser/myapp:1.0
Pushing myuser/myapp:1.0 ...
Verifying myuser/myapp:1.0 ...
Waiting for AWS to create an AMI for myuser/myapp:1.0 in eu-central-1 (this may take up to 50 seconds) ...
AMI created in 00:19.777s -> ami-e66264fb

CloudCaptain does this by first analysing your application and then using that information to automatically generate an image with a minimal Linux-based OS on-the-fly. CloudCaptain then uploads your new image to AWS and converts it to an AMI in the region of your choice.

CloudCaptain runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and comes with special optimizations for popular tools and frameworks like Spring Boot, Dropwizard, Grails, Play, Executable Jars, Tomcat and TomEE.

2. CloudCaptain is faster and images are smaller

At CloudCaptain we strongly believe that being able to iterate quickly is a must. And that's why we've built the industry's fastest AMI creation process. You can literally go from a jar or war file on your local machine to a fully baked AMI in well under 60 seconds and sometimes even under 30 if AWS isn't under too much load.

Part of the reason why we manage to do that is size of our images. The minimal OS we generate is less than 1% of the size of a general purpose OS like Ubuntu. This results in much smaller AMI sizes which directly translates to faster instance boot times.

In fact this graph doesn't even do it justice as CloudCaptain images are usually measured in the tens of MBs, but AWS shows them as 1 GB as this is their smallest supported EBS volume size.

We replaced Packer with CloudCaptain which not only streamlined our deploy process, but also made it 2x faster. The CloudCaptain Maven plugin made the integration extremely easy.

Tim Bart, CTO, Hello Inc.

3. CloudCaptain is built for Continuous Deployment

Continuous Deployment is critically important for many companies today, allowing them to innovate and iterate faster.

CloudCaptain fully embraces this by treating build tool plugins as first-class citizens, making it effortless to integrate AMI building into your pipeline. In addition to its command-line client, CloudCaptain comes with both Maven and Gradle plugins which can be readily integrated through the usual means:

Gradle: build.gradle

plugins {
    id "com.boxfuse.client" version ""

Maven: pom.xml


For rapid turnarounds and fast feedback, CloudCaptain also lets you run your images on VirtualBox. This is a great way to run your integration tests locally before creating an AMI. And unlike Packer, CloudCaptain's image are only created once and can be run unchanged on both VirtualBox and AWS, giving you perfect environment parity.

4. CloudCaptain is affordable

We get it, Packer is free.

And free is a great price, especially for small businesses.

But we believe that the value you’ll get from CloudCaptain far outweighs the cost. And our customers agree.

If our zero configuration AMI building features can save your team just 30 minutes per month, then CloudCaptain will more than pay for itself.

Our pricing is simple: your first application is on us and after that plans start at just $25 per month.

5. CloudCaptain is here to help

We're committed to making sure that you have the best experience you possibly can using CloudCaptain.

That's why our customer success team checks in with every single customer to proactively answer any questions you may have.

We're here for you with personal support, all day, every day, via email, GitHub and social media, no matter what you need.

Ready to give CloudCaptain a try?

We hope this comparison guide was useful to you.

Making the switch is easy; you can get set up on CloudCaptain in just a few minutes.

To sign up for your free, no-risk trial (no credit card required), just click here.

Still have questions? Simply send us an email at

We hope to see you in CloudCaptain.