Debian, virtualization

Vagrant: Make Virtualization Easier

Vagrant is a light weight virtualization tool, build over Oracle’s VirtualBox. It’s completely written in ruby and it’s very easy to install and configure. The only dependency is VirtualBox. Once VirtualBox is installed, we can either use RubyGems to install Vagrant or we can get the installer from Vagrant.

I prefer ruby gems, So

$ gem install vagrant

That’s it, it will install vagrant. Now we need to get the base box. Vagrant uses the base boxes to build the VM’s. We can download the base boxes from Vagrant Boxes. we can directly use the url to create the boxes, but it’s alwasy good if we have a downloaded copy of the base boxes.

Basically we need to follow just 3 steps. add,initialize,up. So once we have the base box just add the base box.

$ vagrant box add new_box_name our_downloaded_basebox_file

example,
$ vagrant box add mybox precise32.box

Now just do a vagrant init to create the Vagrantfile. This is the main configuration file. If we go through the Vagrantfile, we can see a bunch of options like port forward, provisioning, setting network and so on. If only one vm is required, then we just have to add the new_box name which we created at the config.vm.box= option int the Vagrantfile. And vagrant up will start the VM.

But one of the most important feature of Vagrant is it suports multiple VM’s over one single box. But we have to define those VM’s in the Vagrantfile. Below i’ve defined two VM’s in my Vagrantfile, also comment out config.vm.box=base

config.vm.define :ubuntu do |ubuntu_config|
	 ubuntu_config.vm.box = "precise32"
end
config.vm.define :puppet do |puppet_config|
	 puppet_config.vm.box = "precise32"
end

Where ubuntu and puppet are the name of the VM’s. And precise32 is the name of the the box which i’ve created. Now, vagrant up will start all the VM’s. But we can mention the name to start a specific VM. Like vagrant up ubuntu. It will start only the ubuntu VM.

Provisioning is another important feature of Vagrant. We can use puppet,chef and shell scripts to bootstrap the vm’s. I saw @mitchellh’s talk at PuppetConf 2012, in which he mentioned about how to create a Fully Automated Puppet Master using the shell provisioner. I’ve tried this out using a shell script that will install puppet master and genrate the ssl certificates. It’s working fine, soon i will post it here.

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