Recently at my job there has been an increasing amount of LAMP development going on. One part of the learning curve is getting developers set up with an LAMP environment to develop on. Currently this is done by developers using a shared environment. I wanted to explore the idea of developers being able to easily spin up a local LAMP environment using Vagrant and Puppet.

There are a large number of Vagrant base boxes available but people (like your boss) probably shy away from the idea of using a base box built by somebody else. Who knows what could be on it without doing some kind of audit? Luckily there is a tool called veewee that helps automate the process of building your own base boxes.

I thought it would be fun to try and automate the whole process using Jenkins and publish the box to Amazon S3. Later I’ll create a Vagrant project and reference the base box I created using vewee and work towards turning it into a LAMP box.

I’ll be using the following tools:


I’m assuming the following about you:

If you don’t know any of those things then Google is your best friend.

Prepare Host Machine

I’m doing this on my Mac so there were a few things I needed to set up before getting started.


Vagrant uses VirtualBox so I installed that first. You can download it from


veewee and Vagrant are both Ruby Gems so you’ll need to have Ruby and RubyGems installed. My recommended way of doing this is to use RVM.

Install Ruby 1.9.3

Once you have RVM installed you can install Ruby 1.9.3.

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>$ rvm install 1.9.3

Then switch to Ruby 1.9.3

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>$ rvm use 1.9.3

veewee Project

We’re going to make a veewee project that defines and builds the CentOS base box we want to use in Vagrant. Let’s start by making a directory for our veewee project:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>$ mkdir veewee-centos63
$ cd veewee-centos63

Define Gem Dependencies

Since we’re using veewee and Vagrant, we need to install those Gems for our project to work. The best way to do this is using a Gemfile which lists the version of each Gem we want to use. So create a Gemfile in your project’s directory with the following contents:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>source :rubygems

gem 'vagrant', '1.0.5'
gem 'veewee', '0.3.7'

Then to install the gems simple run:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>$ bundle

Create Base Box Definition

Now we create the definition files required for making a base box using veewee:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>$ bundle exec veewee vbox define 'centos63' 'CentOS-6.3-x86_64-minimal'

This will create a number of files in a definitions folder. You can tweak these to your liking but I’m leaving them as is for now.

FYI: The bundle exec makes sure we’re using the version of veewee defined in our Gemfile.

If you’re curious, you can see a full list of available templates by running:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>$ bundle exec veewee vbox templates

Build Base Box

Now it’s time to actually build, validate and export the base box:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>$ bundle exec veewee vbox build 'centos63'
$ bundle exec veewee vbox validate 'centos63'
$ bundle exec vagrant basebox export 'centos63'

This will create a file named in your veewee-centos63 directory.

To immediately add the box to the host machine’s Vagrant boxes:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>$ vagrant box add 'centos63' ''

If the box already exists you’ll need to first run the following:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>$ bundle exec vagrant box remove 'centos63'

Later on we’ll be pushing this box to Amazon S3 and referencing it from a Vagrant project to get it installed.

Automating the Build

Since we’ll be building this box using a CI server, we want to automate the process as much as possible, so let’s write a little script called to run the above for us:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>#!/bin/bash

bundle install

bundle exec veewee vbox build 'centos63' --force --auto --nogui
bundle exec veewee vbox validate 'centos63'

bundle exec vagrant basebox export 'centos63' --force

Make sure you allow executable permissions on that script so you can run it:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>$ chmod u+x

Then run the script to make sure it works:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>$ ./

Version Control

Finally it’s time to get this little project into version control. We’ll put it on GitHub so there’s a public place for our Jenkins server to access the code.

First let’s create a .gitignore file so we prevent the resulting box from getting checked into version control accidentally. Add the following at a minimum:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>

Now set up a local Git repo:

<span style="color:#0000ff;"><code>$ git init
$ git add definitions Gemfile Gemfile.lock
$ git commit -m "Initial project"

Set up a new GitHub repository and push you local repo to your GitHub one:

<code><span style="color:#0000ff;">$ git remote add origin
$ git push -u origin master</span> 

Automatic Box Building with Jenkins

Now it’s time to set up Jenkins to build your base box for you whenever there’s a change to it’s definition.


There’s a Jenkins native package for most operating systems, so I suggest you download it from The install package should automatically start Jenkins and you’ll be able to get to it from your browser using: http://localhost:8080/

Jenkins Plugins

You’ll need a few plugins to help build the project. From the main Jenkins screen choose Manage Jenkins, then click Manage Plugins. Click on the Available tab and in the Filter box search for the following:

Configure Git Plugin

From the main screen of Jenkins choose Manage Jenkins, then Configure System. Find the section titled Git plugin and enter values for Global Config and Global Config

Configure Amazon S3 Plugin

On the Configure System screen also look for the section titled Amazon S3. Click on the Add button and set up a new profile with you access key and secret key.

Creating a Jenkins Job

Now we need to create a job in Jekins that will check out your code from GitHub, run the build script we made, store the it generates and push that box to our Amazon S3 Bucket.

Note that it will take some time to download the CentOS ISO and Virtual Box extensions during the first build. It will download them to an iso directory in the job’s workspace so future builds won’t take as long.

Additionally, depending on the speed of your connection, uploading to Amazon S3 might take a while.