David Hutchison

Vagrant Setup

For development purposes I use Virtual Machines in VirtualBox, usually using the Ubuntu Server OS and are manually configured. Vagrant provides a mechanism to easily script the creation of these virtual machines so they can be torn down and rebuilt easily.

From the Vagrant site:

Vagrant provides easy to configure, reproducible, and portable work environments built on top of industry-standard technology and controlled by a single consistent workflow to help maximize the productivity and flexibility of you and your team

This is largely a quick start guide for my purposes, as I started experimenting with Vagrant. All this information is based on this getting started guide.

Getting Started

Vagrant works by creating instances of a base VM image. While you can create your own base box, in my case I am going to use a pre-made one from Vagrant Cloud. My existing VM setup would use an ubuntu server setup, vagrant init hashicorp/precise64, but I want to move to CentOS.

mm:dhutchison.github.io david$ vagrant init chef/centos-6.5
A `Vagrantfile` has been placed in this directory. You are now ready to `vagrant up` your first virtual environment! Please read the comments in the Vagrantfile as well as documentation on `vagrantup.com` for more information on using Vagrant.

This command creates a new Vagrantfile with a template configuration for this base box.

Before we can start the virtual machine, we need to download the base VM image (only if this has not been done before). Depending on the base box which was chosen this may prompt for the provider to use, in my case this is VirtualBox.

mm:dhutchison.github.io david$ vagrant box add chef/centos-6.5
==> box: Loading metadata for box 'chef/centos-6.5'
    box: URL: https://vagrantcloud.com/chef/centos-6.5
This box can work with multiple providers! The providers that it
can work with are listed below. Please review the list and choose
the provider you will be working with.

1) virtualbox
2) vmware_desktop

Enter your choice: 1
==> box: Adding box 'chef/centos-6.5' (v1.0.0) for provider: virtualbox
    box: Downloading: https://vagrantcloud.com/chef/boxes/centos-6.5/versions/1/providers/virtualbox.box
==> box: Successfully added box 'chef/centos-6.5' (v1.0.0) for 'virtualbox'!

Now we have enough to start the VM.

mm:dhutchison.github.io david$ vagrant up
Bringing machine 'default' up with 'virtualbox' provider...
==> default: Importing base box 'chef/centos-6.5'...
==> default: Matching MAC address for NAT networking...
==> default: Checking if box 'chef/centos-6.5' is up to date...
==> default: Setting the name of the VM: dhutchisongithubio_default_1412714089269_91734
==> default: Clearing any previously set network interfaces...
==> default: Preparing network interfaces based on configuration...
    default: Adapter 1: nat
==> default: Forwarding ports...
    default: 22 => 2222 (adapter 1)
==> default: Booting VM...
==> default: Waiting for machine to boot. This may take a few minutes...
    default: SSH address:
    default: SSH username: vagrant
    default: SSH auth method: private key
    default: Warning: Connection timeout. Retrying...
    default: Warning: Connection timeout. Retrying...
==> default: Machine booted and ready!
==> default: Checking for guest additions in VM...
==> default: Mounting shared folders...
    default: /vagrant => /Users/david/Sites/dhutchison.github.io

To remote into this box, and test we can connect, ssh into the virtual machine.

vagrant ssh

Now we have confirmed the basics work we will destroy this instance. We still need to configure it appropriately for our needs.

mm:dhutchison.github.io david$ vagrant destroy
    default: Are you sure you want to destroy the 'default' VM? [y/N] y
==> default: Forcing shutdown of VM...
==> default: Destroying VM and associated drives...

I will be configuring this as a basic Apache setup for testing this web site. In order to view the site content I need to share the build directory of the web site with the VM. Alternatively I could use SCP or RSYNC to do a copy over SSH, but for testing purposes a direct filesystem share is certainly simpler.

config.vm.synced_folder "../dwi_built_site/", "/vagrant_data", create: true

More information on the configuration options which can be applied to synced folders is available in the documentation.

The next step is to create a script to install any pre-requisite packages into the VM. We will call this Vagrant_bootstrap.sh. This will install a stock Apache 2 and create a symlink between our synced folder and the default apache wwwroot. If Apache is already installed (i.e. if doing a re-provision via vagrant up --provision), this will attempt to update the package.

#!/usr/bin/env bash
yum update -y # Not strictly necessary, but nice to make sure up to date linux when provisioning.
if  yum info httpd | grep installed ; then
  service httpd stop
  yum update httpd
  yum install -y httpd.x86_64
  echo "EnableSendfile off" >> /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf
rm -rf /var/www/html
ln -fs /vagrant_data /var/www/html
chkconfig httpd on
service httpd start


There are a variety of different ways to configure the network setup of the virtual machine. The simple option is to expose a single port on the local host.

config.vm.network :forwarded_port, host: 8080, guest: 80

Alternatively, the VM can be configured to use a bridged network with a fixed IP.

config.vm.network "public_network", bridge: 'en1: Wi-Fi (AirPort)', ip: ""

Not including the IP parameter results in the host using DHCP to get an IP address. Unfortunately this does not output the IP on startup, so some program like Avahi would be required to advertise the hostname. It is a bit of a pain to have to SSH into the host to find it’s IP address. If the bridge parameter is ommitted, you will be prompted to pick an interface when the VM is brought up:

==> default: Available bridged network interfaces:
1) en1: Wi-Fi (AirPort)
2) en0: Ethernet
3) bridge100
    default: What interface should the network bridge to? 


And there we go! A working CentOS setup using Apache with a shared folder.

The complete Vagrantfile:

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

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

Vagrant.configure(VAGRANTFILE_API_VERSION) do |config|
  # All Vagrant configuration is done here. The most common configuration
  # options are documented and commented below. For a complete reference,
  # please see the online documentation at vagrantup.com.

  # Every Vagrant virtual environment requires a box to build off of.
  config.vm.box = "chef/centos-6.5"

  # Create a forwarded port mapping which allows access to a specific port
  # within the machine from a port on the host machine. In the example below,
  # accessing "localhost:8080" will access port 80 on the guest machine.
  # config.vm.network :forwarded_port, host: 8080, guest: 80

  # Alternatively to the above, we can set up the VM as a bridged network with a fixed IP
  config.vm.network "public_network", bridge: 'en1: Wi-Fi (AirPort)', ip: ""

  # Share an additional folder to the guest VM. The first argument is
  # the path on the host to the actual folder. The second argument is
  # the path on the guest to mount the folder. And the optional third
  # argument is a set of non-required options.
  config.vm.synced_folder "../dwi_built_site/", "/vagrant_data", create: true

  # Disable the default share. 
  config.vm.synced_folder '.', '/vagrant', disabled: true

  # Provision the VM using a shell script
  config.vm.provision :shell, path: "Vagrant_bootstrap.sh"


There is a VirtualBox bug related to sendfile which can result in corrupted or non-updating files. You should deactivate sendfile in any web servers you may be running.

In Nginx:

sendfile off;

In Apache:

EnableSendfile Off