Creating a Vagrant Base Box with CentOS 6.5, Puppet and Virtual Box

Vagrant is a great tool for developers to use their favorite IDE, within their favorite OS, all while using their favorite VM.
Doing so lets you work in a development environment that is identical to where your application will be deployed.

Puppet is a popular provisioning tool used to duplicate the configuration of systems quickly. Automated system administration. 😀
This article will show how to create a Vagrant Base box with CentOS 6.5 (64-bit), install Puppet Agent and configure it to sync up to your Puppet Master.

Now if you’re thinking… Why would we want to do this when there are tons of base boxes already available?
There are and that’s true, however creating your own allows you to customize what you truly need and don’t need for your team, and also be certain on what’s really installed.

Note: This article assumes you’ve already installed CentOS 6.5 as a Virtual Box VM, the correct Guest Additions for your Virtual Box version, and are already running a Puppet Master.

This article will show you:

  • How to create a Vagrant CentOS 6.5 base box from an already installed CentOS 6.5 VM Image.
  • How to add your newly created base box to Vagrant in order to use it.
  • How to initially provision Vagrant to connect to your company’s Puppet Master.

First we need to install the right version of Vagrant for your OS distro.

Next, we need to boot up your already installed CentOS Virtual Box Virtual Machine.

Next, we’re going to install Puppet Agent on our freshly installed CentOS VM. Our goal (when we do our initial Vagrant provision) is to have Puppet Agent already installed on our base box. This way, we can use Puppet Agent to create our Vagrant environment according to what our dev team’s configuration “node(s) profile” on the Puppet Master is. Puppet Agent will sync up with our Puppet Master to tell us which packages and configurations are needed to install for the Vagrant environment.

Note: Configuring Puppet Master is beyond the scope of this article, but there are many tutorials out there to help.

OK, with our VM in Virtual Box running, login and install Puppet Agent.

Install Puppet Agent

# sudo yum install puppet

Next, we want to be able to use Puppet’s “file_line” function. We’re doing this in order to modify Puppet Agent’s config file with our Puppet Master server location.
We could of manually edited it on the VM before creating our Base Box, but this way gives much more flexibility. You could have more than one team, with each using different Puppet Masters that have different development configurations.

Note: Puppet’s “file_line” function is usually only used for minor file modifications. If you have config files that need to be modified according to a much more complex use case, then the tool you want to use is Augeas.

Install Puppet’s Stdlib module on the VM

# puppet module install puppetlabs-stdlib

Now that those are installed, make sure your VM has everything installed that you initially want (puppet agent, initial packages, hostname, specific dev user/group/permissions, etc), then it’s time to create a Vagrant Base Box from our VM. Don’t worry if you’ve forgot something, you can always go back to the original VM and modify it. Meaning, this won’t modify your VM, it just creates a copy.

Now shutdown your VM. On your host OS we’re going to create the base box.

Create a Vagrant Base Box from your CentOS Virtual Box VM

// --output: the name your base box will be
// --base: your CentOS VM name
# vagrant package --output --base CentOS-6.5-x86_64

This creates a Vagrant base box file in Vagrant’s box directory named

Next we need to add this base box to Vagrant so we can use it.

Add the Base Box to Vagrant

# vagrant box add CentOS-6.5-x86_64_puppet

We can view our base boxes by asking Vagrant.

List the current base boxes

# vagrant box list


Note: I’m storing my base boxes in a custom directory I created just for them that’s off of my SSD drive (since many base boxes can potentially take up a lot of room). Initially Vagrant stores them on the main drive. This can be changed by modifying the default path in your env variables.

Now it’s time to actually *use* Vagrant. 🙂

Create a project directory called “testvagrant” on your host machine and cd to it.

Create and cd to the “testvagrant” directory

# mkdir testvagrant
# cd testvagrant

Next, we’re going to initialize a vagrant environment.

Create Vagrant Env

# vagrant init

This will create a Vagrantfile in the “testvagrant” directory. We’re going to edit this file to setup Vagrant and do our provisioning with Puppet.

Inside our “testvagrant” directory we’re going to create Puppet’s standardized directory tree structure.

Note: This isn’t necessary, it’s just good habit. 🙂

Create the directories

-- puppet
 -- manifests
  -- site.pp
 -- modules
  -- init
   -- manifests
    -- init.pp

Now we want to edit init.pp and add

Add to init.pp

class init {
    # config Puppet Agent (preinstalled on BaseBox)
    # Chaining Arrows (ordering) to prevent race conditions
    file { '/etc/puppet/puppet.conf':
        ensure => 'present',
    } ->
    # server is the location of the Puppet Master domain
    file_line { 'Configure Agent - puppetmaster server':
        path   => '/etc/puppet/puppet.conf',
        ensure => 'present',
        line   => '    server = puppet.ltdev',        
    } ->
    file_line { 'Configure Agent - report':
        path   => '/etc/puppet/puppet.conf',
        ensure => 'present',
        line   => '    report = true',        
    } ->
    file_line { 'Configure Agent - plugin sync':
        path   => '/etc/puppet/puppet.conf',
        ensure => 'present',
        line   => '    pluginsync = true',        

Note: Rememeber, if you have a config use case that’s complicated, use Augeas.

Now we want to edit site.pp and add

Add to site.pp

node default {
    include init

Now that our Puppet Agent config files are ready to be modified we need to setup Vagrant and tell it how to provision. We do this by editing our Vagrantfile.

Edit Vagrantfile configuration

# This is the name of your base box = "CentOS-6.5-x86_64_puppet"

# Our VM will be running our web server on port 80 but forwarding to our host OS on port 8080 "forwarded_port", guest: 80, host: 8080

# This is the directory that will be in sync on your host with your guest (VM) default is 
# /vagrant which is the root directory for that vagrant init (where your Vagrantfile is located)
# Note: I am using Samba for performance reasons with Symfony 2, however try the default 
# sync first.
config.vm.synced_folder ".", "/vagrant", type: "smb"

# Provision with Puppet
config.vm.provision "puppet" do |puppet|
    puppet.manifests_path = "puppet/manifests"
    puppet.manifest_file  = "site.pp"
    puppet.module_path = "puppet/modules"

Now its time to fire Vagrant up and provision! *cough* If everything went correctly.. 🙂

Start Vagrant

# cd testvagrant
# vagrant up


And this is the modification Puppet did by using “file_line” to our /etc/puppet/puppet.conf


Note: Vagrant only provisions on the first “vagrant up”, however you can force it to provision again if you need to by

Force Vagrant Provision

# vagrant up --provision

That’s it. If you need to you can reference how to use Vagrant here.
Have fun! 😀