Salted-Rails: Provision a vagrant machine for rails using salt.

This gem inspects your rails app configuration to work out what needs to be installed in the virtual machine.

This gem reflects my personal preferences in setting up a virtual machine for rails projects, and will change over time as I refine it for use with other projects.

It inspects:

  • .ruby-version / .rvmrc to control the version of ruby installed (using rbenv)
  • config/database.yml to create users and databases
  • Gemfile and Gemfile.lock to preload gems into the system, and trigger the installation of packages required by gems

This configures vagrant in the way that I personally like:

  • ubunutu 12.04 (LTS) 32bit from (up to date packages and more memory free for systems < 4GB memory)
  • forward ssh agent
  • digital ocean default to 'San Francisco 1'
  • salt provisioning with 0.16.4 version (to avoid problems with 0.17.0) and /etc/hostname fix
  • forward post 3000, 80, 443
  • Include fix vbguest fix for upgrading virtualbox additions with ubunutu cloud

I am currently investigating ansible and alternative approaches, so this project is currently on hold


Packages and plugins

Download script and run:

$ wget
$ sh

This will:

  • prompt you to install vagrant (1.3.3 not 1.3.4) if not already present
  • prompt you to install virtualbox (4.2.18 or later) if not already present
  • install this (salted-rails) vagrant plugin as well as the following other plugins:
    • deep_merge vagrant-digitalocean vagrant-vbguest
  • If your project has a Vagrantfile.example, it will copy it to Vagrantfile
  • Prompt for and setup ~/.vagrant.d/Vagrantfile with your digital ocean client and api keys (if not already present)

Add as a vagrant plugin

vagrant plugin add salted-rails


Adjust your Vagrantfile as follows (example of accepting all the defaults, one default machine):

Vagrant.configure(VAGRANTFILE_API_VERSION) do |config|

if defined? SaltedRails::Config
  salted_config =

# .... etc ....


Or for a more complicated example:

Vagrant.configure(VAGRANTFILE_API_VERSION) do |config|

  if defined? SaltedRails::Config
    salted_config =

    # On the guest run the following to copy all these files/firectories to vagrant home directory
    # cd /srv/salt/generated/home ; cp -R .[a-z]* ~vagrant
    # note .ssh/known_hosts and .ssh/authorized_hosts are renamed with .copy_from_home appended
    salted_config.copy_from_home = %w{ .vim .vimrc .gitconfig .ssh .tmux .tmux.conf }

    # if you have multiple ssh keys, you can select which one
    salted_config.private_key_path = '~/.ssh/id_rsa_project' if File.exist? '~/.ssh/id_rsa_project'

    # override default domain
    salted_config.domain = ''

    # load packages specified in a file (eg generated from your production system)
    # use `dpkg --get-selections "*" > my_packages-datestamp` to generate the list
    #salted_config.packages = 'config/my_packages-datestamp'

    # Define a machine  dev
    salted_config.define('dev') do |machine_config|

    salted_config.define('qa') do |machine_config|
      # use my ISP's mirror 
      salted_config.mirror = 'internode'

      # explicitly specify memory
      machine_config.memory = 1024

      # add extra roles, which will install extra packages and increase teh defsault memory allocation

      # two continuous integration packages
      # browse http://localhost:8111
      machine_config.roles <<= 'teamcity'

      # browse http://localhost:3333
      machine_config.roles <<= 'curisecontrolrb'

      # gui also configures virtualbox for standard rather than headless mode
      machine_config.roles <<= 'gui'

      # Disable the syncing to /vagrant in digital_ocean (useful for development that is independent of local machine)
      machine_config.sync_vagrant = false


You can add configuration that applies to all your projects to ~/.vagrant.d/Vagrantfile, eg:

Vagrant.configure('2') do |config|
  config.vm.provider :digital_ocean do |provider|
    provider.client_id = 'your id'
    provider.api_key = 'your key'

The mirror value can also be:

  • 'mirror' - Configures mirror: option to auto select from
  • 'internode' - an australian ISP (mine ;)
  • a country code - eg 'au', 'uk', 'us' etc
  • url of mirror - specify the full url (in the same format as mirrors.txt above)

Updating virtualbox guest additions

Use vagrant vbguest --do install to update the virtualbox guest additions (required for shared folders to work with OS/X)


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'salted-rails'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install salted-rails

TODO: write the helper and then configure capistrano to use it ...


TODO: Write usage instructions here

This gem generates pillar and salt files in RAILS_ROOT/tmp/salt and RAILS_ROOT/tmp/pillar respectively from your application configuration files. The files it generates are based on .ruby-version, config/database.yml and Gemfile as well


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request