Packer by HashiCorp : Second Steps?

In a previous post I mentioned my first steps with Packer by HashiCorp. This is a brief update to that post.

I’ve created a new box called “oracle-7” for Oracle Linux 7 + UEK. This will track the latest OL7 spin. You can find it on Vagrant Cloud here.

I’ve altered all my OL7 Vagrant builds to use this box now.

You will see a new sub-directory called “ol7” under the “packer” directory. This contains the Packer build for this new image.

Cheers

Tim…

Packer by HashiCorp : First Steps

A few days ago I wrote about some Vagrant Box Drama I was having. Martin Bach replied saying I should build my own Vagrant boxes. I’ve built Vagrant boxes manually before, as shown here.

The manual process is just boring, so I’ve tended to use other people’s Vagrant boxes, like “bento/oracle-8”, but then you are at the mercy of what they decide to include/exclude in their box. Martin replied again saying,

“Actually I thought the same until I finally managed to get around automating the whole lots with Packer and Ansible. Works like a dream now and with minimum effort”

Martin Bach

So that kind-of shamed me into taking a look at Packer. 🙂

I’d seen Packer before, but had not really spent any time playing with it, because I didn’t plan on being in the business of maintaining Vagrant box images. Recent events made me revisit that decision a little.

So over the weekend I spent some time playing with Packer. Packer can build all sorts of images, including Vagrant boxes (VirtualBox, VMware, Hyper-V etc.) and images for Cloud providers such as AWS, Azure and Oracle Cloud. I focused on trying to build a Vagrant box for Oracle Linux 8.2 + UEK, and only for a VirtualBox provider, as that’s what I needed.

The Packer docs are “functional”, but not that useful in my opinion. I got a lot more value from Google and digging around other people’s GitHub builds. As usual, you never find quite what you’re looking for, but there are pieces of interest, and ideas you can play with. I was kind-of hoping I could fork someone else’s repository and go from there, but it didn’t work out that way…

It was surprisingly easy to get something up and running. The biggest issue is time. You are doing a Kickstart installation for each test. Even for minimal installations that takes a while to complete, before you get to the point where you are testing your new “tweak”. If you can muscle your way through the boredom, you quickly get to something kind-of useful.

Eventually I got to something I was happy with and tested a bunch of my Vagrant builds against it, and it all seemed fine, so I then uploaded it to Vagrant Cloud.

I’ve already made some changes and uploaded a new version. 🙂

You will see a couple of older manually built boxes of mine under oraclebase. I’ll probably end up deleting those as they are possibly confusing, and definitely not maintained.

I’ve also altered all my OL8 Vagrant builds to use this box now.

You will also see a new sub-directory called “packer”. I think you can guess what’s in there. If I start to do more with this I may move it to its own repository, but for now this is fine.

I’m not really sure what else I will do with Packer from here. I will probably do an Oracle Linux 7 build, which will be very similar to what I already have. This first image is pretty large, as I’ve not paid much attention to reducing it’s size. I’ve looked at what some other builds do, and I’m not sure I agree with some of the stuff they remove. I’m sure I will alter my opinion on this over time.

I’m making no promises about these boxes. That same way I make no promised about any of my GitHub stuff. It’s stuff I’m playing around with, and I will mostly try to keep it up to date, but I’m not an expert and it’s not my job to maintain this. It’s just something that is useful for me, and if you like it, great. If not, there are lots of other places to look for inspiration. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Vagrant Box Drama

I had a little bit of VirtualBox and Vagrant drama today.

I was doing my normal thing of recreating some test VMs and I started to get errors like this during the first part of the VM build, before the config scripts ran.

==> default: Machine booted and ready!
Got different reports about installed GuestAdditions version:
Virtualbox on your host claims:
VBoxService inside the vm claims: 6.1.12
Going on, assuming VBoxService is correct…
[default] GuestAdditions seems to be installed (6.1.12) correctly, but not running.
Got different reports about installed GuestAdditions version:
Virtualbox on your host claims:
VBoxService inside the vm claims: 6.1.12
Going on, assuming VBoxService is correct…
Redirecting to /bin/systemctl start vboxadd.service
Job for vboxadd.service failed because the control process exited with error code.
See "systemctl status vboxadd.service" and "journalctl -xe" for details.
Redirecting to /bin/systemctl start vboxadd-service.service
Job for vboxadd-service.service failed because the control process exited with error code.
See "systemctl status vboxadd-service.service" and "journalctl -xe" for details.
Got different reports about installed GuestAdditions version:
Virtualbox on your host claims:
VBoxService inside the vm claims: 6.1.12
Going on, assuming VBoxService is correct…
VirtualBox Guest Additions: Starting.
VirtualBox Guest Additions: Building the VirtualBox Guest Additions kernel
modules. This may take a while.
VirtualBox Guest Additions: To build modules for other installed kernels, run
VirtualBox Guest Additions: /sbin/rcvboxadd quicksetup
VirtualBox Guest Additions: or
VirtualBox Guest Additions: /sbin/rcvboxadd quicksetup all
VirtualBox Guest Additions: Kernel headers not found for target kernel
5.4.17-2011.5.3.el8uek.x86_64. Please install them and execute
/sbin/rcvboxadd setup
ValueError: File context for /opt/VBoxGuestAdditions-6.1.12/other/mount.vboxsf already defined
modprobe vboxguest failed
The log file /var/log/vboxadd-setup.log may contain further information.
==> default: Checking for guest additions in VM…
default: No guest additions were detected on the base box for this VM! Guest
default: additions are required for forwarded ports, shared folders, host only
default: networking, and more. If SSH fails on this machine, please install
default: the guest additions and repackage the box to continue.
default:
default: This is not an error message; everything may continue to work properly,
default: in which case you may ignore this message.
The following SSH command responded with a non-zero exit status.
Vagrant assumes that this means the command failed!
/usr/sbin/rcvboxadd setup
Stdout from the command:
VirtualBox Guest Additions: Starting.
VirtualBox Guest Additions: Building the VirtualBox Guest Additions kernel
modules. This may take a while.
VirtualBox Guest Additions: To build modules for other installed kernels, run
VirtualBox Guest Additions: /sbin/rcvboxadd quicksetup
VirtualBox Guest Additions: or
VirtualBox Guest Additions: /sbin/rcvboxadd quicksetup all
VirtualBox Guest Additions: Kernel headers not found for target kernel
5.4.17-2011.5.3.el8uek.x86_64. Please install them and execute
/sbin/rcvboxadd setup
Stderr from the command:
ValueError: File context for /opt/VBoxGuestAdditions-6.1.12/other/mount.vboxsf already defined
modprobe vboxguest failed
The log file /var/log/vboxadd-setup.log may contain further information.

The VM had booted, but because the guest additions weren’t working it couldn’t mount the shared folders, so none of the setup scripts had run.

Reading the output I figured the kernel-uek-devel package was missing from the Vagrant box, so I did the following…

I connected to the VM, installed the “kernel-uek-devel” package and exited from the VM.

vagrant ssh

sudo dnf install -y kernel-uek-devel
exit

Then I restarted the VM.

vagrant halt
vagrant up

During this second startup of the VM the problem kernel module was rebuilt, and the rest of the configuration steps ran the way you would expect from a normal first-time startup.

One of the issues about using someone else’s Vagrant box is you are at the mercy of what they decide to do with it. In this case I was using the ‘bento/oracle-8’ Vagrant box, which was built using Oracle Linux 8.2 with UEK 6, but the installed guest additions were not happy, and the packages were not present to allow the kernel module to be rebuilt on the fly.

If you are trying to use my Vagrant builds, which mostly use the ‘bento/oracle-8’ Vagrant box, and you are getting this type of issue, now you know what to do about it. Hopefully the next release of this Vagrant box will be less problematic.

Cheers

Tim…

Update: I spent some time figuring out Packer, and now I’ve switched all my OL8 builds to use my own image called ‘oraclebase/oracle-8’.

VirtualBox 6.1.8

I’m in the middle of doing loads of Vagrant builds and I got a message to say VirtualBox 6.1.8 has been released. 🙂

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve installed it on Windows 10, macOS Catalina and Oracle Linux 7 hosts without any problems.

I’ve resumed with the Vagrant builds now. So far so good. 🙂

Happy upgrading!

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 6.1.6

Along with all the other Oracle quarterly patches comes VirtualBox 6.1.6.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve done the installation on Windows 10, macOS Catalina, and Oracle Linux 7 hosts. All worked fine.

I’ve done some Vagrant builds with it and they worked too.

We are probably due a bunch of new Oracle updates (APEX, ORDS, SQLcl) and it wouldn’t surprise me if we get Oracle 20c on-prem in the next few days, so I’m sure I’ll be doing loads of fresh builds in the coming days. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 6.1.4

VirtualBox 6.1.4 has been released.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve done the installation on my Windows 10 PC at work and all is good. I’ll probably do the installations on my Windows 10, macOS and Oracle Linux 7 hosts at home tonight and update this post.

Happy upgrading!

Cheers

Tim…

Update: I did the upgrades on my Windows 10, macOS and Oracle Linux 7 hosts at home. Everything went fine, and it all looks good for now.

Virtualbox 6.0.14

Virtualbox 6.0.14 was released recently.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve done the install on Windows 10, macOS Catalina and Oracle Linux 7 hosts with no drama.

If I’m being super picky, the scaling on Windows 10 is kind-of wacky.

Having said that, it seems loads of apps have weird issues when dealing with a laptop with a 4K panel, and a secondary monitor that’s not 4k (it’s 3440×1440).

I rarely open the gui, as I do most things with Vagrant, version 2.2.6 out now, so after this post I will probably forget this was even an issue… 😉

On macOS and Oracle Linux 7 hosts everything is visually fine.

The important bit is I’ve done a bunch of builds and not hit any issues. Happy days! 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Check out my Vagrant builds for Oracle 19c.

There is a video that shows you how they work here.

VirtualBox 6.0.12

I know I’ve been distracted with the lead up to OpenWorld and Code One 2019, but how did I miss this release? VirtualBox 6.0.12 arrived two weeks ago.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

Being a reckless type, I downloaded it and installed it on my Windows 10m laptop this morning. I’ve got a live demo in 2 hours!

The install was fine and my Vagrant VMs start with no problems. More extensive testing and installations on Oracle Linux and macOS hosts will happen when I get home, but so far so good!

Cheers

Tim…