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Simple way to provision your server
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This is based on the work that brandonhilkert initally carried to automate EC2 instance provision with YAML and SHELL script. It tries to bring the good spirit: SIMPLE, and JUST WORK to the world of Digital Ocean.

If you own a Digital Ocean, here is my advice: Chef and Puppet is shitty thing that just create more problems than it solves. It will take you days even weeks just to get familar and put things in the right order.

With simple_provision, you get your hand dirty in a few minutes and we have the working provision profile in just half an hour. From that moment, provision another instance is just the matter of kicking off a command from the terminal.

I use simple_provision with mina in my Rails projects and the combination has been working really well for me.

Let's rock.

Recipes repo

Don't forget to also checkout the recipes collection

How it works

This gem carries the provision by uploading a set of scripts (and files) to the server and execute there.

It's up to you to choose the language you want. I often use a mix of SHELL and RUBY scripts to accomplish the task. SHELL for some simple stuff like install a package on the server and RUBY when I need to complete some tricky part of the configuration.

Just remember that you need to use a shell script to install ruby/python first, and then you can start use ruby/python. The install of ruby and python can be as simple as create a bash contains "yum install ruby(python) -y" and include it in the top of the scripts section in your server definition file.

Project Structure

As simple as it could: One or few servers definition written in YAML + setup scripts written in SHELL, RUBY and PYTHON + text files as resource. It's up to you to use ERB, HAML or any kind of template processors.

├── files
│   ├── keys
│   │   └── deploy_key
│   └── rails_config
│       └── database.yml
├── scripts
│   ├──
│   ├──
│   ├──
│   ├── redis.rb
│   ├──
│   ├──
│   ├──
│   ├──
│   └──
└── servers
    ├── defaults.yml
    └── search-service.yml

So: You put definition of each type of server in servers/type.yml. In files and scripts folder, you place files and scripts that will be uploaded to the Digital Ocean droplet and executed.


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'simple_provision'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install simple_provision

Servers Configuration

Server Definition

To define a server type, create a yaml file in the ./servers directory with the following format:


  - files/credentials.yml
  - scripts/
  - scripts/
  - scripts/
  - scripts/
  DBNAME: my_db_name
  WEBROOT: /var/www/app

Shared Definitions

You can share definitions across server types with ./servers/defaults.yml

private_key_path: /Users/bhilkert/.ssh/pd-app-server

Passing variables to scripts

Variables defined in env will be exposed to scripts during execution. That way you can use the same scripts for different type of server and still be able to produce different outcomes.

Provision your Digital Ocean server:

simpro my-awesome-server --droplet-name YOUR_DROPLET_NAME


  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
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