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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Creating Images with Packer

Packer is another HashiCorp product that helps you to develop your own boxes for multiple platforms. Let’s say you wanted to develop a VM image for Workstation/Fusion and ESXi from the same base box. Packer makes that possible.

Packer uses a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) file format for you to specify how your Vagrant box will be configured (disk size, memory, and so on), and it will perform the initial OS deployment on your behalf once you specify the relevant automation parameters (for example, Ubuntu preseed files).

Packer is not just useful for creating Vagrant boxes; its main purpose is to produce image files that are compatible with popular cloud provider formats (OpenStack, AWS, and so forth). However, Packer includes a builder capability to automatically output Vagrant boxes that are compatible with VMware Fusion/Workstation and VirtualBox. Just like with Vagrant, popular configuration management technologies like Puppet and Chef can be used to customize the image that is produced.

Although we will not be discussing Packer in depth, we wanted you to be aware of it if you would like to experiment on your own with building custom Vagrant boxes. You can find more information about Packer at http://www.packer.io. If you would like to see examples of Packer definition files that you can use to develop your own VMs, the Chef team maintains a repository called bento on their Github account. https://github.com/chef/bento

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