Managing and provisioning VMs

Touch and Go

© Lead Image © adchariya chanpipat,

© Lead Image © adchariya chanpipat,

Article from Issue 235/2020

With Vagrant, you can automate the creation and management of consistent virtual machines that work across platforms.

Automation is the key ingredient for efficiency in any system administration strategy. If your job involves spinning virtual machines (VMs) regularly, you should familiarize yourself with Vagrant [1], which helps you make consistent virtual environments available to your users with a few keystrokes. Vagrant provides a simple and easy to use command-line interface (CLI) that helps automate the creation, editing, running, and deletion of VMs. Moreover, it supports all major virtual platforms, such as VirtualBox and VMware, and plays nicely with all the well-known software configuration tools, such as Chef, Puppet, Ansible, Fabric, and more.

Since VM hypervisors like VirtualBox and VMware have their own CLIs that can be used to automate provisioning, why should you choose Vagrant? Vagrant offers consistency and interoperability. With Vagrant you can define your virtual environment in code and then use it to provision VMs on top of any hypervisor running on any operating system. Additionally, anytime you make changes to the virtual environment, instead of sharing the complete VM that can be worth several gigabytes, you can share a simple text file that can then be used to provision VMs with the changes.

A Rolling Start

While Vagrant can provision VMs with various virtualization software, by default it uses the free and open source VirtualBox.


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