In this fast world, technology is evolving at a quick pace. There are new languages, tools, and services introduced every day. So, like everyone, IT Professionals too, must be aware of the latest trends in their field. To keep up with the latest technological advancements, one will have to download and install dozens of software and bundles of packages and would have to build an environment.
It is not the best idea to download all these into your personal computer. For this, a virtual machine is the best choice. A virtual machine will help you to avoid hardware cost, it’s much more comfortable than setting up hardware and can easily be destroyed when it is not needed anymore.
But still, it takes time and effort to set it up. And more time is required to download and install it and deploy the necessary packages. Time will also be spent on configuring the installed environment before it is ready to be used. For example, to set up configuration file, it takes time. Another disadvantage is that if you are working in a team, each developer must need a slightly different environment, which will cause further wastage of time.
Will it not be awesome if you can download a complete development environment that is like an OS pre-packed with necessary tools, library services, etc. and which can enable you to start working immediately. It will be much comfortable if the same environment can be shared with different users and each of them gets a customized copy as per their needs. Will you love it if you realise that you can build your traditional machine and can also convert it into a machine that lets you do all of it as mentioned above. Let me tell you, it can be done and you will need the help of Vagrant to do it.
Before virtualization, the life of a developer was not very easy. When virtualisation was not available for desktop computers, they had to use their machine for the development tasks which meant storing the infrastructure needed for the software to run on your private network. The main problem with this was for that they require specific operating systems to run specific applications. If a Developer has to develop an application in his personal computer, he has to install the particular operating system which the application requires and that means he had to use that operating system for his other purposes too.
Another problem was that developers have to buy components like network switches, cables, other hosts, etc. physically if the application involves more than one host. This way it became more and more challenging to build multiple environments. The effort, time and money required were on a rise whereas the profits were comparatively low. Virtualisation was developed to solve all those problems and to enhance software development.
Why is Virtualisation So Significant?
Virtualisation is an outdated concept. It dates back to the early 60’s when the first computer was ever invented, but it hasn’t been used in desktop environments since the 90’s. Virtualisation is the ability of one machine to host multiple other devices and to run them even in different operating systems. The reason for calling them virtual is because these operating systems are not hosted on any physical hardware.
For example, when you are using a Windows operating system and installing Linux as a Virtual machine over the actual windows, it is using a separate hard disk, different CPU and a different chip of memory. These are not real but virtual. These are software abstractions of the actual hardware that exist on the host machine. With this, you can use any operating system on the same device for different tasks.
Vagrant: The Next Step
Virtualisation has been used for a while, and it has made the lives of developers much more manageable, but in this fast growing world, it isn’t enough.
Also, more work must be done these days building and deploying applications on the different environment. With the adoption of the new fast-growing DevOps trend, the boundaries between the developers, system administrators and operators have decreased. The developer could no longer rely on only the system administrators these days. Docker and Vagrant are the automation technologies which can augment Virtualisation. Just it could solve these problems.
Vagrant: Making the Lives of Developer Easier
The word ‘Vagrant’ refers to a person who wanders without any reason and one who has no permanent home or employment. Vagrant is exactly that. Vagrant has no home or a specific operating system. Vagrant can work on any operating system that it supports and it supports a lot of operating systems. A vagrant is a tool that uses virtualization to build complete development environments. Vagrant automates the infrastructure tasks that developers waste so much time on.
Vagrant has an easy-to-use workflow and it focuses mainly on automation. It helps the developers by providing easily configurable, reproducible and highly portable work environments all of which is built on the latest technology and controlled single-handedly which helps to maximize the output levels of developers. It is a great tool for developers as it supports all the possible OS’s that are prevalent in today’s market and are highly configurable.
How is Vagrant Helpful to Save Time and Effort?
- Since Vagrant can work on any operating system, it can create a virtual machine regardless of the underlying operating system.
- Vagrant configures the VM resources automatically. You don’t have to worry about setting them manually. Vagrant will pre-set CPU, memory, network, etc.
- Vagrant avails shared folders between the host machine and the Virtual Machine; as a result, we can work with the application, and we can have the changes we make directly reflect in the hosted application.
- Vagrant assigns the correct hostname to the machine. Nearly every software is relying somewhere on to re-correct the hostname. Vagrant also boots up the computer.
- Vagrant deploys the software on the machine using a script or a configuration management system just like Chef or Puppet.
To build a Virtual machine to host your works in the virtual box, you have to –
Click the new button, which will start the configuration wizard. Then choose a name for your virtual machine after which you have to select the operating system type that you are going to install. Then you have to assign a virtual hard disk, CPU, and Memory. Next step is to point the virtual CD-ROM of the virtual machine to the Virtual operating system that you want to install. Then start the installation process. After the installation, you have to download the open-SSL server package and fix it. This will grant access for you and other developers in the team to the machine remotely using SSH.
To build a machine to host your works in the Vagrant way, you have to do the following –
Type the following code in the command line to install a device with Ubuntu Virtual operating system –
- vagrant init bento/Ubuntu-16.04 –provider VirtualBox
- vagrant up
You have a fully functional SSH enabled Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Virtual Machine now. You also can gain immediate access to your machine using vagrant ssh/ command.
The fast-paced changes in the field of IT will bring about considerable changes in software development in the future that makes the life of developers and users easier. Tools like Vagrant are already doing it efficiently. The ever growing software field will continuously improve, and there will be more awesome tools like Vagrant in the Future.