Vagrant node definitions for GOV.UK
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The contents of this repository were merged into the alphagov/govuk-puppet repository.

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Vagrant node definitions for GOV.UK


You will need access to the repos:

  • govuk-puppet for configuration management of the nodes
  • govuk-provisioning for node definitions


The above repos should be cloned in parallel to this one. Either alphagov/gds-boxen or gds/ can do this for you.

It is recommended that you use Vagrant > 1.4 from a binary/system install. alphagov/gds-boxen can set this up for you.


You need only bring up the subset of nodes that you're working on. For example, to bring up a frontend and backend:

vagrant up frontend-1.frontend backend-1.backend

Vagrant will run the Puppet provisioner against the node when it boots up. Nodes should look almost identical to that of our real production/staging/preview environments, including network addresses. To access a node's services like HTTP/HTTPS you can point your hosts file to the host-only IP address (eth1).

Physical attributes like memory and num_cores will be ignored because they don't scale appropriately to local VMs, but can still be customised as described below.


Node definitions can be overridden with a nodes.local.yaml file in the vagrant-govuk directory. This is merged on top of all other node definitions. The following keys are currently available for customisation:

  • box_dist Ubuntu distribution. Currently "precise".
  • box_version Internal version number of the GDS basebox.
  • memory Amount of RAM. Default is "384".
  • ip IP address for hostonly networking. Currently all subnets are /16.
  • class Name of the Puppet class/role.

For example to increase the amount of RAM on a PuppetMaster:

  memory: 768


Some errors that you might encounter..

NFS failed mounts

[frontend-1.frontend] Mounting NFS shared folders...
Mounting NFS shared folders failed. This is most often caused by the NFS
client software not being installed on the guest machine. Please verify
that the NFS client software is properly installed, and consult any resources
specific to the linux distro you're using for more information on how to do this.

This seems to be caused by a combination of OSX, VirtualBox, and Cisco AnyConnect. Try temporarily disconnecting from the VPN when bringing up a new node. You can also set VAGRANT_GOVUK_NFS=no as an environment variable to disable the use of NFS. This is less perfomant but fine for checking puppet runs.