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How does openstack qcow2 image differ from ISO


In a normal machine we use the iso and install the OS. During the installation time we will specify the HDD partition to be used .

But when this comes to cloud aws/openstack we just pick up the image from glance and choose the flavor the VM gets sniped up and there is no instillation time required here .

Please explain me the full process how this actually happens in-depth. (Or provide me few links to understand this concept)