Category Archives: Packer

Hashicorp Atlas workflow with Vagrant, Packer and Terraform

I have used and loved Vagrant for a long time and I recently used Consul and I was very impressed by both these Devops tools. Recently, I saw some of the videos of Hashiconf and I learnt that Hashicorp has an ecosystem of tools addressing Devops needs and that these tools can be chained together to create complete application delivery platform from development to production. Atlas is Hashicorp’s product that combines its open source tools into a platform and it has a commercial version as well. In this blog, I will cover a development to production workflow for a LAMP application stack using Atlas, Vagrant, Packer and Terraform.

Overview of Vagrant, Packer, Terraform and Atlas


Vagrant provides a repeatable VM development environment. Vagrant integrates well with major hypervisors like Virtualbox, VMWare, HyperV. “Vagrantfile” describes the VM settings as well as initial bootstrap provisioning that needs to be done on the VM. Vagrant also integrates well with other provisioning tools like Chef, Ruby and Ansible to describe the provisioning. Simply by doing “vagrant up”, the complete VM environment is exactly reproduced. The typical problems like “it does not work for me even though its working in your machine” goes away.


Packer is a tool to create machine images for providers like Virtualbox, VMWare, AWS, Google cloud. Packer configuration is described as a JSON file and images for multiple providers can be created in parallel. The typical workflow is for developer to create development environment in Vagrant and once it becomes stable, the production image can be built from Packer. Since the provisioning part is baked into the image, the deployment of production images becomes much faster. Following link describes how Vagrant and Packer fits well together.

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