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As a result, bundler comes with a --deployment flag that encapsulates the best practices for using bundler in a deployment environment. These practices are based on significant feedback we have received during the development of bundler, as well as a number of bug reports that mostly reflected a misunderstanding of how to best configure bundler for deployment. The --deployment flags adds the following defaults:
Instead of installing gems to the system location, bundler will install gems to vendor/bundle inside your application. Bundler will transparently remember this location when you invoke it inside your application (with Bundler.setup and Bundler.require).
Bundler will not use gems already installed to your system, even if they exist.
If you have run bundle pack, checked in the vendor/cache directory, and do not have any git gems, Bundler will not contact the internet while installing your bundle.
Bundler will require a Gemfile.lock snapshot, and fail if you did not provide one.
Bundler will not transparently update your Gemfile.lock if it is out of date with your Gemfile
If you use Capistrano, you should symlink vendor/bundle to shared/vendor_bundle so that bundler will share your installed gems between deployments (making things zippy if you didn't make any changes), but still give you the benefits of isolation from other applications.
By defaulting the bundle directory to vendor/bundle, and installing your bundle as part of your deployment process, you can be sure that the same Unix user that checked out your application also installed the third-party code your application needs. This means that if Passenger (or Unicorn) can see your application, it can also see its dependencies.
The --deployment flag requires an up-to-date Gemfile.lock to ensure that the testing you have done (in development and staging) actually reflects the code you put into production. You can run bundle check before deploying your application to make sure that your Gemfile.lock is up-to-date. Note that it will always be up-to-date if you have run bundle install, successfully booted your application (or run your tests) since the last time you changed your Gemfile.
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