Being a slow adopter of some things tech (still no Docker or any other container thingy), I’ve started moving my development stack to virtual machines using Vagrant. Yes, I know everyone is using it now (I’ve actually started a year and a half ago), but I’m now creating my own local machines tailored to the tools I use instead of just pooling the latest packaged distro from Atlas/HashiCorp. So, if you want to build your own development boxes here are a few rough steps.
I’m using Debian as my development/deployment distro, so my box will have the latest Debian 8, 64bit, with Apache Webserver, Oracle Java JRE/JDK, xDebug, MySQL and PHP 7. You can change the installed software to anything you like, this is based on what I’m using at work.
Software/tools being used and setup:
The outline of the process is:
On VirtualBox create a new virtual machine with the following settings:
version: Debian (64-bit)
Change the machine settings to boot from a CD-ROM first, pointing device should be PS/2 Mouse, add the Debian ISO and start the virtual machine to install Debian. The only change you need is that the first user should be named “vagrant”, password “vagrant”. You can use whatever password you need on root, your development box has no company secrets right?
Boot the machine and login as root (all following commands assume you’re running as root).
Update and upgrade your new virtual server, add install VirtualBox Guest Additions. You’ll need linux-headers-amd64, build-essential and linux-kbuild package for you’re kernel version. Add the Guest Additions CD to the virtual machine (Devices > Insert Guest Additions CD Image …), mount the CD and run the VBoxLinuxAdditions.run script as root and when done reboot.
PHP 7 is not officially in Debian 8.6 yet, but you can install it by using DotDeb, https://www.dotdeb.org/instructions/. Include all the modules you usually need, setup apache, mysql and any other software as you require.
Edit /etc/php/7.9/apache2/conf.d/20-xdebug.ini and add:
In the standard LAMP install, xdebug is already setup to listen to requests on local machines, and when using your IDE to debug a project all requests are local. In this setup we’re running our project on a remote server (even if it is just a virtual machine) and we need to tell xdebug to accept requests from external machines (our host). VirtualBox will, most of the time, route your network traffic through address 10.0.2.2 (check with the netstat -rn command).
If you’re using NetBeans IDE you need to map your local project paths to the remote paths (on the virtual server) so that it can show you breakpoints and step-by-step execution. To do this, in your project’s advanced run configuration add a new path mapping.
Project Properties > Run Configuration > Advanced
Debug URL: default
Path Mapping: /vagrant -> /<full path to project root>
When installing Debian you should have created one user besides the default root one. This user should be named vagrant as this is the account that Vagrant expects to find. Debian doesn’t ship with sudo by default so you’ll need to install it.
After installing sudo, add the vagrant user to the sudoers list and make sure it can run commands without being asked for a password (this is required by Vagrant).
visudo -f /etc/sudoers.d/vagrant
vagrant ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD:ALL
We now need to add an SSH key in order for the Vagrant commands to be executed in the guest (virtual server) machine. This key is insecure, everyone uses the same key.
mkdir -p /home/vagrant/.ssh
chmod 0700 /home/vagrant/.ssh
wget –no-check-certificate \
chmod 0600 /home/vagrant/.ssh/authorized_keys
chown -R vagrant /home/vagrant/.ssh
Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config and uncomment the AuthorizedKeysFile setting.
Restart the ssh service.
I usually change a few settings on the virtual machine to make it simpler/performant. These are:
In order to reuse this virtual machine we need to package it into a format that Vagrant understands. Before powering off the machine, we’ll “zero out” de virtual HDD.
dd if=/dev/zero of=/EMPTY bs=1M
rm -f /EMPTY
On the host system, create a folder to hold your Vagrant boxes, package the new virtual machine, and add it to the list of known boxes.
vagrant package –base Debian-vagrant-base –output debian-webbase
vagrant box add debian-base debian-base
And we’re done! On your Vagrantfile use the name of the local box and and any bootstrap you need. You can add the boxes to a remove server, shared hosting, etc., so the same box is available to all developers of your team.