Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Maria C. Horton, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Tutorial

Building Vagrant Machines with Packer

Learn how to use Vagrant and Packer to build virtual machines for development

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:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 { "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:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 #!/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_amd64.deb 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:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 #!/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 script that makes it easy for you to get started

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 #!/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

1 2 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

Conclusion
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 Infrastructureand 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


Download Efficiency in Development Workflows: A free eBook for Software Developers. This book will save you a lot of time and make you and your development team happy.

Go ahead and try Codeship for Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment! Set up for your GitHub and BitBucket projects only takes 3 minutes. It's free!

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
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.