Ansible Role - Packer Debian/Ubuntu Configuration for Vagrant VirtualBox

Ansible Role: Packer Debian/Ubuntu Configuration for Vagrant VirtualBox

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This role configures Debian/Ubuntu (either minimal or full install) in preparation for it to be packaged as part of a .box file for Vagrant/VirtualBox deployment using Packer.

The role may be made more flexible in the future, so it could work with other Linux flavors and/or other Packer builders besides VirtualBox, but I’m currently only focused on VirtualBox, since the main use case right now is developer VMs.


Prior to running this role via Packer, you need to make sure Ansible is installed via a shell provisioner, and that preliminary VM configuration (like adding a vagrant user to the appropriate group and the sudoers file) is complete, generally by using a Kickstart installation file (e.g. ks.cfg) with Packer. An example array of provisioners for your Packer .json template would be something like:

"provisioners": [
    "type": "shell",
    "execute_command": "echo 'vagrant' | {{.Vars}} sudo -S -E bash '{{.Path}}'",
    "script": "scripts/"
    "type": "ansible-local",
    "playbook_file": "ansible/main.yml",
    "role_paths": [

The files should contain, at a minimum:


#!/bin/bash -eux
# Install Ansible repository and Ansible.
apt-add-repository ppa:rquillo/ansible
apt-get update
apt-get install ansible


- hosts: all
  sudo: yes
  gather_facts: yes
    - geerlingguy.packer-debian

You might also want to add another shell provisioner to run cleanup, erasing free space using dd, but this is not required (it will just save a little disk space in the Packer-produced .box file).

If you’d like to add additional roles, make sure you add them to the role_paths array in the template .json file, and then you can include them in main.yml as you normally would. The Ansible configuration will be run over a local connection from within the Linux environment, so all relevant files need to be copied over to the VM; configuratin for this is in the template .json file. Read more: Ansible Local Provisioner.

Role Variables




Example Playbook

- hosts: all
    - geerlingguy.packer-debian



Author Information

This role was created in 2014 by Jeff Geerling, author of Ansible for DevOps.

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Ansible Role - Packer Debian/Ubuntu Configuration for Vagrant VirtualBox ...