Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Environment Provisioning with Vagrant

Vagrant is an environment provisioning system created by Mitchell Hashimoto and supported by his company, HashiCorp. Vagrant can help you quickly bring up VMs according to a pattern defined in a template file known as a Vagrantfile. Vagrant can run on Windows, Linux, and OS X (Mac) operating systems and supports popular desktop hypervisors such as VMware Workstation Professional, VMware Fusion Professional, and VirtualBox. Cloud providers such as Rackspace and Amazon Web Services can be used as well for your test environment. The Vagrant examples in this book are based on the VMware Fusion plugin, but the examples we provide can, with a few modifications, be used for other hypervisors and for cloud platforms. If you will be following along with the examples in this chapter, make sure to create a new directory for each Vagrantfile that you create.

After installing Vagrant and the VMware Fusion or Workstation plugin, you need to find a Vagrant box to use with the system. A Vagrant box can be thought of as a VM template: a preinstalled operating system instance that can be modified according to the settings that you specify in your Vagrantfile. Vagrant boxes are minimal installations of your desired operating system with some boxes not being more than 300 MB. The idea is to present a bare-bones operating system that is completely configured by your automation tool of choice.

Some box creators opt to include the binaries for popular Vagrant-supported provisioners like Puppet, Chef, and so on, but other box creators do not, and users need to use the shell provisioner to deploy their favorite configuration management solution before it can be used. The box creation process is beyond the scope of this book. However, if you would like to develop your own boxes, there are tools like veewee and Packer (discussed later in this chapter) available that you can try out.

In previous versions of Vagrant, you had to specify the URL of the box file that you want to use when you initialized your vagrant environment:

vagrant init http://files.vagrantup.com/precise64_vmware.box

If the box file is located on your computer, you can specify the full path to the file instead of a URL.

Starting with Vagrant version 1.5, HashiCorp introduced the Atlas system (formerly known as Vagrant Cloud), an online repository that Vagrant will search for boxes if you use the account and box name of an image stored on its site:

vagrant init hashicorp/precise64

It is good to know both types of syntax because it will be necessary to use the old method for any boxes not hosted on Atlas. The online site is a great place to search for boxes for various operating systems instead of building your own.

The vagrant init command will automatically create a simple Vagrantfile that will reference the box that you specify. Listing 3-1 shows the default Vagrantfile that is generated with the command listed above.

Listing 3-1 Default Vagrantfile

# -*- mode: ruby -*-
# vi: set ft=ruby :

# Vagrantfile API/syntax version. Don't touch unless you know what you're doing!
VAGRANTFILE_API_VERSION = "2"

Vagrant.configure(VAGRANTFILE_API_VERSION) do |config|
  config.vm.box = "hashicorp/precise64"
end

You’ll notice that to save space I remove the comments that automatically get generated when you initialize your Vagrantfile. However, if you look in the comments, you’ll see some helpful tips for using configuration management technology to make automated changes to your VM when it boots. As of today, the available options for provisioning your VM include basic shell scripts and configuration management tools such as Puppet, Chef, and Ansible. This is an immense value because your development and test environment can be stood up with the exact same settings that are used in your production deployments. This should cut down on the “well, it worked on my laptop” discussions that may go back and forth during a deployment mishap. Docker support was also added so that the provisioner could install the Docker daemon automatically and download the containers that you specify for use.

With your Vagrantfile in place, you can now boot your first test environment by using the following command:

vagrant up --provider=vmware_fusion

You can now log in to the VM using the following command:

vagrant ssh

Take a look at a folder in your VM called /vagrant. You’ll see that it contains your Vagrantfile! It’s a shared folder that is automatically created for the VM so that you can easily transfer files to and from your desktop without having to use SCP, FTP, and so on.

If you examine the operating system resources, you’ll notice that you have one vCPU and 512 MB of RAM. This may not be sufficient for the application that you want to run. So, we will take a look at how to modify the resources allocated to your Vagrant VM.

First, let’s destroy this VM so that we can move on with the other configuration options. You can do this exiting the VM and then using the following command:

vagrant destroy

Vagrant will ask you to confirm that you really want to destroy this VM. Alternatively, you can use the -f option to skip that confirmation.

Listing 3-2 shows that Vagrant can modify the VM’s VMX file to make the changes that we need. We use the config.vm.provider block of code to achieve this. By the way, the memsize attribute’s units are megabytes. Notice that we are creating an object named v enclosed in vertical lines to change settings just for this VM. This object name has local scope only to this config.vm.provider statement, and it can be used again when defining other VMs, as you’ll see in later examples. After executing vagrant up, the VM will be created with the desired attributes. At the time of this writing, the size and number of virtual disks cannot be controlled, but your Vagrant VMs will start with 40 GB of thin-provisioned storage.

Listing 3-2 Changing Default Vagrantfile

# -*- mode: ruby -*-
# vi: set ft=ruby :

# Vagrantfile API/syntax version. Don't touch unless you know what you're doing!
VAGRANTFILE_API_VERSION = "2"

Vagrant.configure(VAGRANTFILE_API_VERSION) do |config|
  config.vm.box = "hashicorp/precise64"
  config.vm.provider :vmware_fusion do |v|
    v.vmx["memsize"] = 1024
    v.vmx["numvcpus"] = 2
  end
end

It is great that we can modify the VM’s resources. What about a more complex setup, like multiple VMs? Vagrant supports such a topology as well. Of course, make sure that you have sufficient CPU cores and RAM to support the topology that you want to use! Multi-VM setups would be useful for testing realistic deployments with a separate database server and front-end server, for example. Listing 3-3 shows an example of a multi-VM Vagrantfile setup.

Listing 3-3 Multimachine Vagrantfile

# -*- mode: ruby -*-
# vi: set ft=ruby :

# Vagrantfile API/syntax version. Don't touch unless you know what you're doing!
VAGRANTFILE_API_VERSION = "2"

Vagrant.configure(VAGRANTFILE_API_VERSION) do |config|
  config.vm.define :first do |vm1|
    vm1.vm.box = "hashicorp/precise64"
    vm1.vm.hostname = "devops"
    vm1.vm.provider :vmware_fusion do |v|
      v.vmx["memsize"] = 1024
      v.vmx["numvcpus"] = 2
    end
  end

  config.vm.define :second do |vm2|
    vm2.vm.box = "hashicorp/precise64"
    vm2.vm.hostname = "vmware"
    vm2.vm.provider :vmware_fusion do |v|
      v.vmx["memsize"] = 1024
      v.vmx["numvcpus"] = 2
    end
  end
end

The deployment utilizes multiple config.vm.define blocks of code: one for each VM that we are creating. :first and :second are labels that Vagrant will use to identify the two VMs when you run commands like vagrant status. These labels will also be used to connect to the VMs via Secure Shell (SSH)—for example, vagrant ssh first. If you’re familiar with Ruby, you’ll notice that these labels are Ruby symbols. The names in the enclosed pipe symbols (for example, |vm1|) denote the object whose information that vagrant is using to build and define your VM. The object name can be the same as the symbol (for example, first.vm.box...), but it doesn’t have to be.

Using this syntax can be a bit tedious when you want to deploy more than two VMs. Thankfully, because Vagrant is written in Ruby, you can use the language’s features such as lists, loops, and variables to optimize your Vagrantfile code. Listing 3-4 shows some optimization tips that I learned from Cody Bunch and Kevin Jackson in their OpenStack Cloud Computing book

Listing 3-4 Optimized Multimachine Vagrantfile

# -*- mode: ruby -*-
# vi: set ft=ruby :
servers = ['first','second']

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = "hashicorp/precise64"
  servers.each do |hostname|
    config.vm.define "#{hostname}" do |box|
      box.vm.hostname = "#{hostname}.devops.vmware.com"
      box.vm.provider :vmware_fusion do |v|
        v.vmx["memsize"] = 1024
        v.vmx["numvcpus"] = 2
      end
    end
  end
end

At the top of the file, I create a Ruby list called servers whose elements are the names of the VMs that I want to create. Then I use the Ruby list iterator called each to loop the execution of the VM definition for each element in the servers list. If we ever want to increase the number of VMs that are deployed, we just add more entries to the list. Not every VM needs to have the same set of resources, and we can use if statements within the box.vm.provider code block to be selective:

if hostname == "first"
  v.vmx["memsize"] = 3128
  v.vmx["numvcpus"] = 4
elsif hostname == "second"
  v.vmx["memsize"] = 1024
end

There are many more features in Vagrant that we will not be covering in this book, but with just these simple commands, you can build the test environment setups that we will be using in this book. If you’d like to learn more about Vagrant, be sure to check out the Vagrant website (http://www.vagrantup.com) and Mitchell’s book, Vagrant: Up and Running.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020