Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Pat Romanski, Amit Golander, Derek Weeks, Robert Reeves, Dana Gardner

Blog Feed Post

Building Vagrant Machines with Packer

Building Vagrant Machines with Packer

Sharing a common development environment with everyone on your team is important. It is really hard though to keep the same dependencies, database versions and other systems in sync between different machines.

Vagrant is a great tool that helps with this and manage the lifecycle of a virtual machine. As nice as Vagrant is, provisioning machines with it has always been a pain. A couple of months ago Mitchell Hashimoto, the creator of Vagrant, launched Packer.

Packer lets you build Virtual Machine Images for different providers from one json file. You can use the same file and commands to build an image on AWS, Digital Ocean or for virtualbox and vagrant. This makes it possible to use exactly the same system for development which you then create in production.

In this blog post we will show you how you can use Packer to build your vagrant machines. In a follow up post we will focus on how we use Packer for building all of our Continuous Deployment Infrastructure.

Prerequisites for building Vagrant Machines

You need Virtualbox and Packer installed. Virtualbox provides packages for different Operating systems. Packer is even easier, just download the right zip for your system and unzip it into your PATH

Building your Virtual Machine with Packer

We’ve collected all the files necessary to build a Vagrant Machine with Packer in our Packer Example repository.

Packer uses builders, provisioners and post-processors as the main configuraition attributes. A builder can for example be virtualbox or AWS. A provisioner can be used to run different scripts. Post-processors can be run after the machine image is done. For example converting a Virtualbox image into a suitable image for vagrant is done in a post-processor.

Here is the main packer.json file. You can see the builder, provisioner and post-processor defined:

{
  "provisioners": [
    {
      "type": "shell",
      "scripts": [
        "scripts/root_setup.sh"
      ],
      "override": {
        "virtualbox": {
          "execute_command": "echo 'vagrant' | sudo -S sh '{{ .Path }}'"
        }
      }
    },
    {
      "type": "shell",
      "scripts": [
        "scripts/setup.sh"
      ]
    }
  ],
  "builders": [
    {
      "type": "virtualbox",
      "boot_command": [
        "<esc><esc><enter><wait>",
        "/install/vmlinuz noapic preseed/url=http://{{ .HTTPIP }}:{{ .HTTPPort }}/preseed.cfg <wait>",
        "debian-installer=en_US auto locale=en_US kbd-chooser/method=us <wait>",
        "hostname={{ .Name }} <wait>",
        "fb=false debconf/frontend=noninteractive <wait>",
        "keyboard-configuration/modelcode=SKIP keyboard-configuration/layout=USA keyboard-configuration/variant=USA console-setup/ask_detect=false <wait>",
        "initrd=/install/initrd.gz -- <enter><wait>"
      ],
      "boot_wait": "4s",
      "guest_os_type": "Ubuntu_64",
      "http_directory": "http",
      "iso_checksum": "4d1a8b720cdd14b76ed9410c63a00d0e",
      "iso_checksum_type": "md5",
      "iso_url": "http://releases.ubuntu.com/13.10/ubuntu-13.10-server-amd64.iso",
      "ssh_username": "vagrant",
      "ssh_password": "vagrant",
      "ssh_port": 22,
      "ssh_wait_timeout": "10000s",
      "shutdown_command": "echo 'shutdown -P now' > shutdown.sh; echo 'vagrant'|sudo -S sh 'shutdown.sh'",
      "guest_additions_path": "VBoxGuestAdditions_{{.Version}}.iso",
      "headless": false,
      "virtualbox_version_file": ".vbox_version",
      "vboxmanage": [
        [
          "modifyvm",
          "{{.Name}}",
          "--memory",
          "2048"
        ],
        [
          "modifyvm",
          "{{.Name}}",
          "--cpus",
          "4"
        ]
      ]
    }
  ],
  "post-processors": ["vagrant"]
}

It builds for virtualbox and then exports it into vagrant. The http folder contains a preseed.cfg file that is necessary to set up Ubuntu.

In the scripts folder you can find a root_setup.sh and setup.sh scripts.

The root_setup.sh script sets up necessary packages and parameters for Vagrant:

#!/bin/bash

set -e

# Updating and Upgrading dependencies
sudo apt-get update -y -qq > /dev/null
sudo apt-get upgrade -y -qq > /dev/null

# Install necessary libraries for guest additions and Vagrant NFS Share
sudo apt-get -y -q install linux-headers-$(uname -r) build-essential dkms nfs-common

# Install necessary dependencies
sudo apt-get -y -q install curl wget git tmux firefox xvfb vim

# Setup sudo to allow no-password sudo for "admin"
groupadd -r admin
usermod -a -G admin vagrant
cp /etc/sudoers /etc/sudoers.orig
sed -i -e '/Defaults\s\+env_reset/a Defaults\texempt_group=admin' /etc/sudoers
sed -i -e 's/%admin ALL=(ALL) ALL/%admin ALL=NOPASSWD:ALL/g' /etc/sudoers

#Install Redis
sudo apt-get -y -q install libjemalloc1
wget -q http://d7jrzzvab3wte.cloudfront.net/checkbot/deb/redis-server_2.6.13-1_a...
sha1sum redis-server_2.6.13-1_amd64.deb | grep 'ab50cf037fd63e160946f8946b6d318cdf11800d'
dpkg -i redis-server_2.6.13-1_amd64.deb
rm redis-server_2.6.13-1_amd64.deb

# Install required libraries for RVM and Ruby
sudo apt-get -y -q install gawk libreadline6-dev zlib1g-dev libssl-dev libyaml-dev libsqlite3-dev sqlite3 autoconf libgdbm-dev libncurses5-dev automake libtool bison pkg-config libffi-dev libxml2-dev libxslt-dev libxml2


# Install Postgresql
sudo apt-get -y -q install postgresql libpq-dev postgresql-contrib

# Set Password to test for user postgres
sudo -u postgres psql -c "ALTER USER postgres WITH PASSWORD 'test';"

The setup.sh script install different dependencies like ruby or redis to set up the virtual machine exactly how you need it:

#!/bin/bash

set -e

echo "Instaling for rof"

# Installing vagrant keys
mkdir ~/.ssh
chmod 700 ~/.ssh
cd ~/.ssh
wget --no-check-certificate 'https://raw.github.com/mitchellh/vagrant/master/keys/vagrant.pub' -O authorized_keys
chmod 600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
chown -R vagrant ~/.ssh

# Node.js Setup
wget --retry-connrefused -q -O - https://raw.github.com/creationix/nvm/master/install.sh | sh
source ~/.nvm/nvm.sh

nvm install 0.10.18
nvm alias default 0.10.18

echo "source ~/.nvm/nvm.sh" >> ~/.bash_profile

# RVM Install
wget --retry-connrefused -q -O - https://get.rvm.io | bash -s stable
source /home/vagrant/.rvm/scripts/rvm

rvm autolibs read-fail

rvm install 2.0.0-p195

gem install bundler zeus

You don’t have any limits what you can run in your virtual machine through these scripts.

Building the Machine

We’ve added a create_box.sh script that makes it easy for you to get started

#!/bin/bash

set -e

#export PACKER_LOG=1
rm packer_virtualbox_virtualbox.box || true
packer build -only=virtualbox packer.json
vagrant box remove vagrant_machine || true
vagrant box add vagrant_machine packer/packer_virtualbox_virtualbox.box

You will then see Virtualbox start up and build the machine

Packer Virtualbox

Run the script and it will create the packer machine and import it into vagrant. Then all you have to do is run

vagrant destroy
vagrant up

And you have your development environment set up.

You can now get into the machine with vagrant ssh and start coding.

Codeship – A hosted Continuous Deployment platform for web applications

Conclusions

Vagrant is an incredibly powerful tool and together with Packer it is easy to build development environments for your whole team.

But this is only the beginning. Packer can go much further than just providing your development environment. We are currently implementing Packer as the tool to build all of our test infrastructure servers. This new set of tools is great for Immutable Infrastructure and Continuous Deployment so you can build more stable, secure and easy to change infrastructure than ever before.

Let us know in the comments how you use Packer and Vagrant. We are excited to hear your thoughts!

Additional Links

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Manuel Weiss

I am the cofounder of Codeship – a hosted Continuous Integration and Deployment platform for web applications. On the Codeship blog we love to write about Software Testing, Continuos Integration and Deployment. Also check out our weekly screencast series 'Testing Tuesday'!

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, will discuss how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technol...
Join IBM June 8 at 18th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn how to innovate like a startup and scale for the enterprise. You need to deliver quality applications faster and cheaper, attract and retain customers with an engaging experience across devices, and seamlessly integrate your enterprise systems. And you can't take 12 months to do it.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, will discuss how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to im...
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.
IoT device adoption is growing at staggering rates, and with it comes opportunity for developers to meet consumer demand for an ever more connected world. Wireless communication is the key part of the encompassing components of any IoT device. Wireless connectivity enhances the device utility at the expense of ease of use and deployment challenges. Since connectivity is fundamental for IoT device development, engineers must understand how to overcome the hurdles inherent in incorporating multipl...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
The paradigm has shifted. A Gartner survey shows that 43% of organizations are using or plan to implement the Internet of Things in 2016. However, not just a handful of companies are still using the old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways, unaware of the critical barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can you become a winner? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan will present a methodical approach to guide the holistic adoption and enablement of IoT implementations. This ov...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.