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Customizing Definitions

Definition overview

Definitions are stored under the definitions/ directory relative to the current directory.

├── definitions
│   └── myubuntubox
│       ├── <preseed.cfg, kickstart.cfg, ...>
│       ├──
│       ├──
│       ├──
│       ├──
│       ├──
│       ├──
│       └──

The file definition.rb contains all the parameters to define the machine to be build (see below):

  • memory size
  • number of CPUs
  • user account and password
  • sudo command
  • shutdown command
  • URL and checksum to download the ISO

When a new machine boots, it will typically fetch its initial configuration file over http from a kickstart file defined in kickstart_file. These files are usually named preseed.cfg or ks.cfg.

Postinstall scripts

You can define multiple postinstall files by providing an array of filenames within definition.rb, like so:

:postinstall_files => [ "",  "" ],

Once the initial installation is done, Veewee will execute each postinstall .sh file on the machine in chronologic order (order found in :postinstall_files array).

The main reason for splitting up the original script into multiple files is to make the post-install steps as reusable and portable as possible for different virtualization systems and/or operating systems. For example, there is no need to install the Virtualbox Guest Additions on KVM or VMware Fusion.

Postinstall barebones

A definition usually consists of at least these postinstall files:

Filename Description
preseed.cfg Default options for the installer. See
definition.rb Core definition of a box; like CPU, RAM, and the commands for the initial boot sequence Steps that run after installing the OS

Newer definitions contain of even more files (they have broken into multiple files) to get a finer separation of concerns for the installation.

Using ERB in files

Add .erb to your files in a definition and they will get parsed accordingly.

This is useful for generating kickstart, post-install at runtime.

Thanks to @mconigilaro for the contribution!

Configuring definition.rb

The definition.rb file is the core definition file of each box. All crucial properties and postinstall scripts are defined here.

The boot_cmd_sequence parameter allows you to override the initial commands (like keyboard layout) that are fired up in the first boot sequence.

All other settings are used internally by Veewee, the virtualization provider, or simply for choosing the proper ISO:

Veewee::Definition.declare( {
    :cpu_count => '1',
    :memory_size=> '256',
    :disk_size => '10140',
    :disk_format => 'VDI',
    :disk_variant => 'Standard',
    :os_type_id => 'Ubuntu',
    :iso_file => "ubuntu-12.10-server-i386.iso",
    :iso_src => "",
    :iso_md5 => "3daaa312833a7da1e85e2a02787e4b66",
    :iso_download_timeout => "1000",
    :boot_wait => "10",
    :boot_cmd_sequence => [
        '/install/vmlinuz noapic preseed/url=http://%IP%:%PORT%/preseed.cfg ',
        'debian-installer=en_US auto locale=en_US kbd-chooser/method=us ',
        'hostname=%NAME% ',
        'fb=false debconf/frontend=noninteractive ',
        'console-setup/ask_detect=false console-setup/modelcode=pc105 console-setup/layoutcode=us ',
        'initrd=/install/initrd.gz -- <Enter>'
    :kickstart_port => "7122",
    :kickstart_timeout => "60",
    :kickstart_file => "preseed.cfg",
    :ssh_login_timeout => "10000",
    :ssh_user => "vagrant",
    :ssh_password => "vagrant",
    :ssh_key => "",
    :ssh_host_port => "2222", :ssh_guest_port => "22",
    :sudo_cmd => "echo '%p'|sudo -S sh '%f'",
    :shutdown_cmd => "shutdown -H",
    :postinstall_files => [ ""],
    :postinstall_timeout => "10000"

Available definitions:

Definition Option Default Provider
:params empty core
:cpu_count 1 CPU kvm, parallels, virtualbox, vmfusion
:memory_size 256 MB of memory kvm, parallels, virtualbox, vmfusion
:video_memory_size 10 MB of video memory virtualbox
:iso_file no ISO file mounted core, kvm, parallels, virtualbox, vmfusion
:iso_download_timeout 1000 unused
:iso_src empty core
:iso_md5 empty core
:iso_sha1 empty core
:iso_sha256 empty core
:iso_download_instructions empty core
:disk_size 10240 kvm, virtualbox, vmfusion
:disk_format VDI kvm, virtualbox
:disk_variant Standard virtualbox
:disk_count 1 virtualbox
:os_type_id uninitialised core, kvm, parallels, virtualbox, vmfusion
:boot_wait uninitialised core
:boot_cmd_sequence empty core
:kickstart_port uninitialised core
:kickstart_timeout uninitialised core
:kickstart_file uninitialised core
:ssh_login_timeout uninitialised kvm, parallels, virtualbox, vmfusion
:ssh_user uninitialised core, kvm, parallels, virtualbox, vmfusion
:ssh_password uninitialised core, kvm, parallels, virtualbox, vmfusion
:ssh_key uninitialised core
:ssh_host_port 2222 core, virtualbox
:ssh_guest_port 22 virtualbox
:winrm_login_timeout 10000 virtualbox, vmfusion
:winrm_user uninitialised core, virtualbox, vmfusion
:winrm_password uninitialised core, virtualbox, vmfusion
:winrm_host_port 5985 core, virtualbox, vmfusion
:winrm_guest_port 5985 virtualbox
:sudo_cmd uninitialised core
:shutdown_cmd uninitialised core
:pre_postinstall_file empty core
:postinstall_files empty core
:postinstall_timeout 10000 unused
:floppy_files empty core, kvm, virtualbox, vmfusion
:use_hw_virt_ext unused unused
:use_pae unused unused
:hostiocache uninitialised virtualbox
:use_sata true virtualbox
:add_shares empty vmfusion
:vmdk_file uninitialised vmfusion
:skip_iso_transfer false core
:skip_nat_mapping false virtualbox
:force_ssh_port false core

IMPORTANT: If you change values directly in a template, be sure to run bundle exec veewee <provider> undefine to remove the old definition and then bundle exec veewee <provider> define again to copy the updated template files into the definition.

If you are an experienced devops veteran and have enhanced template settings, please let us know why. We are very interested in improving Veewee's templates.

Provider vm_options

Each provider can take options that are specific the provider; more details will be available in each provider doc but let's have a quick overview here:

    :cpu_count => '1',
    :memory_size => '256',
    :disk_size => '10140',
    :disk_format => 'VDI',
    :disk_variant => 'Standard',
    # […]
    :postinstall_files => [ "" ],
    :postinstall_timeout => "10000",
    :kvm => {
        :vm_options => [
            'network_type' => 'bridge',
            'network_bridge_name' => 'brlxc0'
    :virtualbox => {
        :vm_options => [
            'pae' => 'on',
            'ioapic' => 'one'

This box will have pae and ioapic enabled with VirtualBox, and will use the brlxc0 bridge with KVM (on libvirt).

Using Yaml for storing configuration

You can store definitions in *.yml files, loading them is as easy as:

Veewee::Definition.declare_yaml(filename1, filename2 ...)

For example given those 3 files:

├── definitions
│   └── myubuntubox
│       ├── definition.rb
│       ├── definition.yml
│       ├── 64bit.yml
│       ├── 32bit.yml
│       └── ...

And definition.rb with

Veewee::Definition.declare_yaml('definition.yml', '64bit.yml')

Then veewee will read first definition.yml and 64bit.yml, this way it is possible to mix multiple possible combinations of systems, versions, and architectures. All the configurations available in declare are also valid in *yml files.

You can also mix options with file names like:

  {:cpu_count => '1'},
  {:ssh_user => 'vagrant'},

Up Next

Veeweefile can be used to define your own paths.