VMware vSphere provider for Vagrant
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Vagrant vSphere Provider

This is a Vagrant 1.6.4+ plugin that adds a vSphere provider to Vagrant, allowing Vagrant to control and provision machines using VMware. New machines are created from virtual machines or templates which must be configured prior to using this provider.

This provider is built on top of the RbVmomi Ruby interface to the vSphere API.


  • Vagrant 1.6.4+
  • VMware with vSphere API
  • Ruby 1.9+
  • libxml2, libxml2-dev, libxslt, libxslt-dev

Current Version

version: 1.13.3

vagrant-vsphere (version: 1.13.3) is available from RubyGems.org


Install using standard Vagrant plugin method:

vagrant plugin install vagrant-vsphere

This will install the plugin from RubyGems.org.

Alternatively, you can clone this repository and build the source with gem build vSphere.gemspec. After the gem is built, run the plugin install command from the build directory.

Potential Installation Problems

The requirements for Nokogiri must be installed before the plugin can be installed. See the Nokogiri tutorial for detailed instructions.

The plugin forces use of Nokogiri ~> 1.5 to prevent conflicts with older versions of system libraries, specifically zlib.


After installing the plugin, you must create a vSphere box. The example_box directory contains a metadata.json file that can be used to create a dummy box with the command:

tar cvzf dummy.box ./metadata.json

This can be installed using the standard Vagrant methods or specified in the Vagrantfile.

After creating the dummy box, make a Vagrantfile that looks like the following:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = 'dummy'
  config.vm.box_url = './example_box/dummy.box'

  config.vm.provider :vsphere do |vsphere|
    vsphere.compute_resource_name = 'YOUR COMPUTE RESOURCE'
    vsphere.resource_pool_name = 'YOUR RESOURCE POOL'
    vsphere.template_name = '/PATH/TO/YOUR VM TEMPLATE'
    vsphere.name = 'NEW VM NAME'
    vsphere.user = 'YOUR VMWARE USER'
    vsphere.password = 'YOUR VMWARE PASSWORD'

And then run vagrant up --provider=vsphere.

Custom Box

The bulk of this configuration can be included as part of a custom box. See the Vagrant documentation and the Vagrant AWS provider for more information and an example.

Supported Commands

Currently the only implemented actions are up, halt, reload, destroy, and ssh.

up supports provisioning of the new VM with the standard Vagrant provisioners.


This provider has the following settings, all are required unless noted:

  • host - IP or name for the vSphere API
  • insecure - Optional verify SSL certificate from the host
  • user - user name for connecting to vSphere
  • password - password for connecting to vSphere. If no value is given, or the value is set to :ask, the user will be prompted to enter the password on each invocation.
  • data_center_name - Optional datacenter containing the computed resource, the template and where the new VM will be created, if not specified the first datacenter found will be used
  • compute_resource_name - Required if cloning from template the name of the host or cluster containing the resource pool for the new VM
  • resource_pool_name - the resource pool for the new VM. If not supplied, and cloning from a template, uses the root resource pool
  • clone_from_vm - Optional use a virtual machine instead of a template as the source for the cloning operation
  • template_name - the VM or VM template to clone (including the full folder path)
  • vm_base_path - Optional path to folder where new VM should be created, if not specified template's parent folder will be used
  • name - Optional name of the new VM, if missing the name will be auto generated
  • customization_spec_name - Optional customization spec for the new VM
  • data_store_name - Optional the datastore where the VM will be located
  • linked_clone - Optional link the cloned VM to the parent to share virtual disks
  • proxy_host - Optional proxy host name for connecting to vSphere via proxy
  • proxy_port - Optional proxy port number for connecting to vSphere via proxy
  • vlan - Optional vlan to connect the first NIC to
  • memory_mb - Optional Configure the amount of memory (in MB) for the new VM
  • cpu_count - Optional Configure the number of CPUs for the new VM
  • mac - Optional Used to set the mac address of the new VM
  • cpu_reservation - Optional Configure the CPU time (in MHz) to reserve for this VM
  • mem_reservation - Optional Configure the memory (in MB) to reserve for this VM
  • addressType - Optional Configure the address type of the vSphere Virtual Ethernet Card
  • custom_attribute - Optional Add a custom attribute to the VM upon creation. This method takes a key/value pair, e.g. vsphere.custom_attribute('timestamp', Time.now.to_s), and may be called multiple times to set different attributes.
  • extra_config - Optional A hash of extra configuration values to add to the VM during creation. These are of the form {'guestinfo.some.variable' => 'somevalue'}, where the key must start with guestinfo.. VMs with VWware Tools installed can retrieve the value of these variables using the vmtoolsd command: vmtoolsd --cmd 'info-get guestinfo.some.variable'.
  • notes - Optional Add arbitrary notes to the VM
  • real_nic_ip - Optional true/false - Enable logic that forces the acquisition of the ssh IP address for a target VM to be retrieved from the list of vm adapters on the host and filtered for a single legitimate adapter with a defined interface. An error will be raised if this filter is enabled and multiple valid adapters exist on a host.
  • ip_address_timeout - Optional Maximum number of seconds to wait while an IP address is obtained
  • wait_for_sysprep - Optional Boolean. Enable waiting for Windows machines to reboot during the sysprep process (#199). Defaults to false.

Cloning from a VM rather than a template

To clone from an existing VM rather than a template, set clone_from_vm to true. If this value is set, compute_resource_name and resource_pool_name are not required.


  • The template name includes the actual template name and the directory path containing the template.
  • For example: if the template is a directory called vagrant-templates and the template is called ubuntu-lucid-template the template_name setting would be:
vsphere.template_name = "vagrant-templates/ubuntu-lucid-template"

Vagrant Vsphere Screenshot


  • The new vagrant VM will be created in the same directory as the template it originated from.
  • To create the VM in a directory other than the one where the template was located, include the vm_base_path setting.
  • For example: if the machines will be stored in a directory called vagrant-machines the vm_base_path would be:
vsphere.vm_base_path = "vagrant-machines"

Vagrant Vsphere Screenshot

Setting a static IP address

To set a static IP, add a private network to your vagrant file:

config.vm.network 'private_network', ip: ''

The IP address will only be set if a customization spec name is given. The customization spec must have network adapter settings configured with a static IP address(just an unused address NOT the address you want the VM to be). The config.vm.network line will overwrite the ip in the customization spec with the one you set. For each private network specified, there needs to be a corresponding network adapter in the customization spec. An error will be thrown if there are more networks than adapters.

Auto name generation

The name for the new VM will be automagically generated from the Vagrant machine name, the current timestamp and a random number to allow for simultaneous executions.

This is useful if running Vagrant from multiple directories or if multiple machines are defined in the Vagrantfile.

Setting addressType for network adapter

This sets the addressType of the network adapter, for example 'Manual' to be able to set a manual mac address. This value may depend on the version of vSphere you use. It may be necessary to set this in combination with the mac field, in order to set a manual mac address. For valid values for this field see VirtualEthernetCard api documentation of vSphere.

vsphere.addressType = 'Manual'

Setting the MAC address

To set a static MAC address, add a vsphere.mac to your Vagrantfile. In some cases you must also set vsphere.addressType (see above) to make this work:

vsphere.mac = '00:50:56:XX:YY:ZZ'

Take care to avoid using invalid or duplicate VMware MAC addresses, as this can easily break networking.



ESXi is not supported. Make sure to connect to a vCenter server and not directly to an ESXi host. ESXi vs vCenter


If you have permission issues:

  1. give the connecting user read only access to everything, and full permission to a specific data center. Narrow the permissions down after a VM is created.
  2. Be sure the path to the VM is correct. see the "Template_Name" screenshots above for more information.

Example Usage

FILE: Vagrantfile

VAGRANT_INSTANCE_NAME   = "vagrant-vsphere"

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box     = 'vsphere'
  config.vm.box_url = 'https://vagrantcloud.com/ssx/boxes/vsphere-dummy/versions/0.0.1/providers/vsphere.box'

  config.vm.hostname = VAGRANT_INSTANCE_NAME
  config.vm.define VAGRANT_INSTANCE_NAME do |d|

  config.vm.provider :vsphere do |vsphere|
    vsphere.host                  = 'vsphere.local'
    vsphere.name                  = VAGRANT_INSTANCE_NAME
    vsphere.compute_resource_name = 'vagrant01.vsphere.local'
    vsphere.resource_pool_name    = 'vagrant'
    vsphere.template_name         = 'vagrant-templates/ubuntu14041'
    vsphere.vm_base_path          = "vagrant-machines"

    vsphere.user     = 'vagrant-user@vsphere'
    vsphere.password = '***************'
    vsphere.insecure = true

    vsphere.custom_attribute('timestamp', Time.now.to_s)

Vagrant Up

vagrant up --provider=vsphere

Vagrant SSH

vagrant ssh

Vagrant Destroy

vagrant destroy

Version History





The Vagrant vSphere Provider is licensed under the MIT license. See LICENSE.txt.


This software was developed by the National Snow and Ice Data Center with funding from multiple sources.