Boxbuilder builds boxes! Basic Bash scripts to bootstrap barebones-OS boxes with chef-solo. Tracker Project: http://www.pivotaltracker.com/projects/101913
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README.markdown

BOXBUILDER

Boxbuilder builds boxes! Basic Bash scripts to bootstrap barebones-OS boxes with chef-solo. It can also create EC2 AMIs. Currently it supports Debian/Ubuntu, CentOS (mostly), and OSX/Homebrew (mostly). Pull requests with support for new distros and package managers are welcome.

WARNING! BOXBUILDER INCURS EC2 RESOURCE CHARGES! The 'build_ami' scripts will automatically create EC2 instances, EBS volumes and EBS snapshots. Boxbuilder will ATTEMPT TO automatically terminate any EC2 instance it has automatically started, but if the scripts fail or are killed the might not be removed. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to confirm that any EC2 resources which boxbuilder creates are terminated even if boxbuilder fails to terminate them automatically. If you do not YOU WILL BE CHARGED BY AMAZON FOR ANY RESOURCES UNTIL THEY ARE TERMINATED. Learn how to delete any unused resources via the the EC2 AWS Management Console before using the 'build_ami' scripts: https://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/home . Resources which boxbuilder automatically starts will be identified by the string 'boxbuilder_temp_builder_instance_safe_to_terminate' in the resource's User Data instance attribute or Snapshot Description. The User Data instance attribute is not visible via the EC2 AWS Management Console, but can be seen using this command: 'ec2-describe-instance-attribute {instance id} --user-data'.


 

Instructions

Step 1. Run the script to create a default box or AMI

By default, boxbuilder runs using a example default config file at https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder/raw/master/boxbuilderrc_download_example, which in turn references example default chef repositories.

Your first step should be to run boxbuilder with the default config and ensure you can create a example test box or AMI. This will verify that your EC2 account and credentials are properly configured. All the default config does is touch some files in the home directory, to prove boxbuilder worked correctly.

To build a local box, download and run 'boxbuilder_bootstrap' on a clean Debian/Ubuntu, CentOS, or OSX box.

Here's example commands to build a local box with the default config by downloading and running boxbuilder_bootstrap using wget (installed default on linux) or curl (installed by default on OSX):

wget --no-check-certificate -O /tmp/boxbuilder_bootstrap https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder/raw/master/boxbuilder_bootstrap && chmod +x /tmp/boxbuilder_bootstrap && /tmp/boxbuilder_bootstrap

curl -L -o /tmp/boxbuilder_bootstrap https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder/raw/master/boxbuilder_bootstrap && chmod +x /tmp/boxbuilder_bootstrap && /tmp/boxbuilder_bootstrap

To build a remote box (which should be accessible via SSH via a private ssh key specified in 'boxbuilder_keypair'), download and run 'boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap' from your local shell to build a remote box.

Here example commands to build a remote box with the default config by downloading and running boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap using wget (installed default on linux) or curl (installed by default on OSX):

wget --no-check-certificate -O /tmp/boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder/raw/master/boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap && chmod +x /tmp/boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap && /tmp/boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap

curl -L -o /tmp/boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder/raw/master/boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap && chmod +x /tmp/boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap && /tmp/boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap

To build an AMI image (of a 'box' built by boxbuilder in a chroot jail on an EC2 box), download and run 'boxbuilder_build_ami' on a running AMI instance, or download and run 'boxbuilder_remote_build_ami' from your local shell.

You will be prompted to enter all required variables for the script you are running, such as your EC2 credentials, SSH keys, etc. See details on supported and required variables for each script in the sections below.

Check the output of the script for a success message, and/or any errors. Log into the newly-built box (or an instance started from your newly-built AMI), and verify everything worked. To verify, you can check that the example test chef recipes created touchfiles in the home directory: https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder_example_main_chef_repo/blob/master/cookbooks/boxbuilder_example_main_cookbook/recipes/touchfile.rb and https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder_example_dependency_chef_repo/blob/master/cookbooks/boxbuilder_example_dependency_cookbook/recipes/touchfile.rb

If you have problems, try setting 'boxbuilder_debug' to true.

Step 2. Create a custom box by using a custom config file and chef repos

To build a custom box, you must override the variables found in the example default config file. The easiest way to do this is to:

  1. Copy the example boxbuilderrc_download_example config file to boxbuilderrc_download and publish it in your own git repo (you can create one for free on github)
  2. (optional) Edit the variables in it to point to your own chef repositories, config path, and json path (and any other variables you want to add/override).
  3. (optional) Create or reuse custom chef cookbooks in your chef repositories at which you pointed. If you wish, you can fork or copy the default ones and customize them.
  4. Set/export the 'boxbuilderrc_download_url' variable to point to your custom boxbuilderrc_download you published in your own git repo. You can set/export boxbuilderrc_download_url in the following ways:
    • Directly on the command line (an error will be raised if an existing .boxbuilderrc exists and contains a different boxbuilderrc_download_url)
    • In $HOME/.boxbuilderrc if you are running 'boxbuilder_bootstrap' or 'boxbuilder'
    • In $HOME/.boxbuilder_remote_bootstraprc if you are running 'boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap'
    • In $HOME/.boxbuilder_build_amirc if you are running 'boxbuilder_build_ami'
    • In $HOME/.boxbuilder_remote_build_amirc if you are running 'boxbuilder_remote_build_ami'

Once you have your custom config file and (optionally) chef repos set up, run the script again and verify your chef cookbooks and recipes build your custom box/AMI as expected.

If you have problems, try setting 'boxbuilder_debug' to true.

Step 3. Test/Debug/Improve your custom chef repos

If you have built a box (not an AMI), you can log in to it and directly modify the cloned chef repos under $HOME/.chef, and re-run $HOME/.boxbuilder/boxbuilder, or run chef-solo directly with the proper options to specify your chef json and config files. If you add a writeable origin to your git repos under $HOME/.chef, you can check your changes in directly from the box.

AMI builds are more complex to create and test. Most importantly, you must be aware that the AMI build runs in a chroot jail. This means that some chef actions will not work as expected or at all. To work around this, you can have a "chroot" recipe which runs after all others, and prevents any actions which are not chroot-safe from running. For an example of this, see the Rails CI build (warning: incomplete and may move): https://github.com/thewoolleyman/railsci_chef_repo/blob/master/cookbooks/railsci/chroot/recipes/default.rb

The recommended way to work directly on a chef repo which builds an AMI is to run 'boxbuilder_remote_build_ami' with the 'boxbuilder_terminate_ec2_resources' variable set to 'false'. This will leave the EC2 builder instance running, and you can then log in and run $HOME/.boxbuilder/boxbuilder_build_ami repeatedly. WARNING: THIS MEANS YOU MUST TERMINATE ALL CREATED EC2 INSTANCES MANUALLY OR YOU WILL CONTINUE TO BE CHARGED FOR THEM! Also, be aware there are sometimes intermittent errors related to reusing the same chroot resources for multiple runs of 'boxbuilder_build_ami'.

If you suspect a problem with boxbuilder itself, you can set 'boxbuilder_debug' to true, and you will get verbose logging of script execution. This debug flag is propagated to all other boxbuilder scripts which are sourced locally or invoked remotely.


 

Overview

Boxbuilder consists of simple layered bash scripts which invoke each other locally or remotely, starting EC2 instances if required. Here's the invocation order of the scripts for the two main tasks (building a box or building an AMI). You can, of course, run and re-run any of these scripts directly by logging into the box being built or the EC2 image building the AMI.

Building a Box:

  1. 'boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap' (invoked from any Bash shell) issues SSH commands on the box being built to download and invoke...
  2. 'boxbuilder_bootstrap' (on the box being built), which clones a boxbuilder git repo, and invokes...
  3. 'boxbuilder' (on the box being built) from the cloned repo, which builds the box according to the config specified in boxbuilderrc_download_url.

Building an AMI Image:

  1. 'boxbuilder_remote_build_ami' (invoked from any Bash shell with Java) installs the EC2 tools, starts an EC2 instance, and issues SSH commands on it built to download and invoke...
  2. 'boxbuilder_build_ami' (on the EC2 instance), which creates a chroot jail, and runs commands in the chroot jail to download and invoke...
  3. 'boxbuilder_bootstrap' (in the chroot jail), which clones a boxbuilder git repo, and invokes...
  4. 'boxbuilder' (in the chroot jail) to build a 'box' in the chroot jail according to the config specified in boxbuilderrc_download_url, which then exits and returns control to...
  5. 'boxbuilder_bootstrap' (in the chroot jail), which exits and returns control to...
  6. 'boxbuilder_build_ami' (on the EC2 instance), which continues to create an AMI image of the chroot jail.

 

Configuration: Flexible, Automatically Downloaded, Auto-Updating, Easily Overridable, With Example Defaults

The configuration approach for boxbuilder is somewhat unorthodox, but it is designed to meet the following goals:

  • Flexible: Several different ways to specify configuration - in a manually edited file, in an auto-downloaded file which lives in source control, in a file on a shared drive, etc...
  • Automatically Downloaded: If you specify 'boxbuilderrc_download_url' with a URL to your 'boxbuilderrc_download' config file (which can be in a git repo), it will be automatically downloaded and used.
  • Auto-Updating: The first time boxbuilder is run on a box, it creates a config file which will automatically re-download your config file from 'boxbuilderrc_download_url' every time boxbuilder is run.
  • Easily Overridable: There are several different points at which you can set or override boxbuilder config environment variables, in the config files or on the command line.
  • Example Defaults: When run without specifying a custom config file url in 'boxbuilderrc_download_url', boxbuilder will default to using a simple example configuration file which points to example chef repositories. This makes it easy to see how boxbuilder works before you start creating custom configs and chef repos to build your own custom boxes.

Here's the main features and supported usage for the various boxbuilder config approaches:

  • The boxbuilder script itself and the other scripts which invoke it locally or remotely are controlled via configuration values set in environment variables. Some have overridable defaults. Others are required, and you will be prompted for them if they are not set.
  • Environment variables can also be specified in the config file $HOME/.boxbuilderrc, or files which it sources (executes).
  • If it does not already exist, $HOME/.boxbuilderrc will automatically be created with commands to automatically set, download and source (execute) $HOME/.boxbuilderrc_download from the url specified in the 'boxbuilderrc_download_url' environment variable. By default, it points to the 'boxbuilderrc_download_example' file at https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder/raw/master/boxbuilderrc_download_example
  • The auto-creation of a $HOME/.boxbuilderrc file is a simple "auto-update" mechanism, which will result in the latest version of the config at 'boxbuilderrc_download_url' to be automatically downloaded and used every time boxbuilder is run.
  • This simple config-file-based approach allows you to have standard config files for different machines stored in source control and ensure the latest version is always 'auto-updated' to $HOME/.boxbuilderrc_download. This means your config is always in source control.
  • Or, if you wish, you can add local overrides to the bottom of $HOME/.boxbuilderrc after it sources $HOME/.boxbuilderrc_download. This is useful if you want to test or debug by re-running the 'boxbuilder' script locally on the box being built.
  • If you prefer not to use the 'auto-update' functionality, you can are free to edit the $HOME/.boxbuilderrc file to not automatically download and source $HOME/.boxbuilderrc_download. With this approach, you can set all variables directly in $HOME/.boxbuilderrc, set them via 'boxbuilder_config' (see next bullet), or in some other way you choose.
  • Environment variables can also be set or overridden via the 'boxbuilder_config' variable. The contents of this variable will be evaluated as a line of bash scripting AFTER the $HOME/.boxbuilderrc config file is sourced. This provides another easy command-line-based approach to override environment variables when you are using the 'remote' scripts to set up a remote box or the 'boxbuilder' or 'boxbuilder_bootstrap' scripts directly.
  • Only the 'boxbuilder' (and 'boxbuilder_bootstrap') scripts directly source (execute) the $HOME/.boxbuilderrc file, because they are the only scripts which execute on the box (or AMI chroot jail image) being built. All the other scripts (boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap, boxbuilder_build_ami, and boxbuilder_remote_build_ami) read their own dedicated config files, named respectively .boxbuilder_remote_bootstraprc, .boxbuilder_build_amirc, and .boxbuilder_remote_build_amirc.

Here's an ordered summary of the process for reading configuration from various sources when the 'boxbuilder' script runs. You can add/override environment variables at any point:

  1. Any pre-existing variables are, naturally, already set before 'boxbuilder' is invoked
  2. If $HOME/.boxbuilderrc doesn't exist, it is created by default, with commands to automatically download and source $HOME/.boxbuilderrc_download from 'boxbuilderrc_download_url'. Then it is sourced (executed). If $HOME/.boxbuilderrc DOES exist, it is never touched or modified. You can always delete it and allow it to be recreated, or manually edit it.
  3. You can edit and re-publish the config file at the auto-updated 'boxbuilderrc_download_url' specified in $HOME/.boxbuilderrc
  4. You can add any manual, local overrides to the bottom of $HOME/.boxbuilderrc
  5. $HOME/.boxbuilderrc is sourced by the 'boxbuilder' script
  6. The contents of 'boxbuilder_config' are evaluated.
  7. Any environment variables not set by this point will either have a default value set, or will cause the script(s) to exit with a prompt if they are required.

 

boxbuilder_bootstrap script

'boxbuilder_bootstrap' is a single downloadable helper script which will check out the boxbuilder project to $HOME/.boxbuilder, and run the main '$HOME/.boxbuilder/boxbuilder' script. It is intended to be easily invoked on a clean box via wget --no-check-certificate or curl with a bash one-liner.

For example, log in or SSH to the box being built, and paste the following:

wget --no-check-certificate -O /tmp/boxbuilder_bootstrap https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder/raw/master/boxbuilder_bootstrap && chmod +x /tmp/boxbuilder_bootstrap && /tmp/boxbuilder_bootstrap
# Be sure to log out or source $HOME/.bashrc after the first build

boxbuilder_bootstrap environment variables

The 'boxbuilder_repo', 'boxbuilder_branch', and 'boxbuilder_dir' are intended to make it easy to use and hack on your fork of boxbuilder. They let you specify the Git repository, branch, and directory to use when cloning and running the boxbuilder project. If the 'boxbuilder_dir' directory has already been cloned, nothing will be downloaded or overwritten, but 'git pull' will automatically be run with 'boxbuilder_repo' and 'boxbuilder_branch'.

boxbuilder_repo=git://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder.git
boxbuilder_branch=master
boxbuilder_dir=$HOME/.boxbuilder/

The contents of the 'boxbuilder_config' variable should be Bash commands to export and override boxbuilder config variables from their default values or values which were loaded from $HOME/.boxbuilderrc. They will be evaluated by the 'boxbuilder_bootstrap' script, which means they are also available when the 'boxbuilder' script is sourced by 'boxbuilder_bootstrap'

boxbuilder_config="export override_variable1=value; export override_variable2=value"

 

boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap script

'boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap' is run from any Bash shell. It allows you to run 'boxbuilder_bootstrap' on a remote box without logging in to it. It issues remote SSH commands to automatically download and run 'boxbuilder_bootstrap' on the box being built. This also makes it easy to hook boxbuilder into other tools or processes to automatically build/update multiple boxes.

For example, run the following from a Bash shell on your workstation. You will be prompted to set required variables which you can export from your shell, or set in $HOME/.boxbuilder_remote_bootstraprc:

wget --no-check-certificate -O /tmp/boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder/raw/master/boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap && chmod +x /tmp/boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap && /tmp/boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap

Note that the config file is $HOME/.boxbuilder_remote_bootstraprc, NOT $HOME/.boxbuilderrc (which is the config for the current box, not the remote box being built).


boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap environment variables

(REQUIRED to log into the remote box being built) Set 'boxbuilder_keypair' to the path of your private key which will allow you to log in to the box being built (you should already have your public key in $HOME/.ssh/authorized_keys). Set 'boxbuilder_user' to the user, and 'boxbuilder_host' to the hostname or IP address of the box being built.

boxbuilder_keypair=path_to_private_key
boxbuilder_user=user_for_box_to_build
boxbuilder_host=hostname_or_ip_of_box_to_build

The contents of the 'boxbuilder_config' variable should be Bash commands to export and override boxbuilder config variables from their default values or values which will be loaded from $HOME/.boxbuilderrc on the box build built. It will be evaluated by the 'boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap' script; AND also passed on to the 'boxbuilder_bootstrap' script when it is invoked via SSH on the remote box which is being built.

boxbuilder_config="export override_variable1=value; export override_variable2=value"

'boxbuilder_bootstrap_url' is the location from which the boxbuilder_bootstrap script will be downloaded onto the remote box being built. Override it to use your custom boxbuilder_bootstrap script instead of the default.

boxbuilder_bootstrap_url=https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder/raw/master/boxbuilder_bootstrap

 

boxbuilder script

'boxbuilder' is the main script which does the work of building a box - specifically, preparing a box to run your custom chef cookbooks, downloading and running them. When run on a barebones box with a newly installed OS, it will do the following:

  • Process all configuration variables (see configuration section above)
  • Install basic packages required for next steps (which you can override/augment with chef)
  • Install Ruby via RVM
  • Install chef-solo
  • Download Chef repositories you specify which contain custom cookbooks, config, and JSON attributes.
  • Create and run a script which executes chef-solo with the config and JSON attributes you specify

boxbuilder environment variables

'boxbuilderrc_download_url' is the URL to a boxbuilder config script. If $HOME/.boxbuilderrc does not exist, it will be created with commands to automatically download 'boxbuilderrc_download_url' to $HOME/.boxbuilderrc_download on the box which is being built and source (execute) it.

To build a custom box, you can override 'boxbuilderrc_download_url' to point to a custom configuration file which exports variables for your custom chef repo locations and config.

See more details in the instruction and configuration sections above.

boxbuilderrc_download_url=https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder/raw/master/boxbuilderrc_download_example

'boxbuilder_prerequisite_packages' is a space-separated list of packages which will be installed on the box being built. By default, it is the minimal set of packages required for RVM and Ruby on a clean Debian/Ubuntu, CentOS, or OSX Homebrew install. Other packages which will be used to other applications on the box should be installed via chef, as part of the application setup cookbooks. On Debian, you can specify an exact version with {packagename}={packageversion}. See the prerequisite_packages_{platform}() functions in the boxbuilder script for the latest default packages.

boxbuilder_prerequisite_packages={See the prerequisite_packages_<platform>() function in the boxbuilder script for the latest default packages}

'boxbuilder_rvm_version' is the version of RVM to use. By default, it will be the latest stable version, listed at http://rvm.beginrescueend.com/releases/stable-version.txt.

boxbuilder_rvm_version=$(curl -s http://rvm.beginrescueend.com/releases/stable-version.txt)

'boxbuilder_default_ruby' is the version of the Ruby interpreter which will be installed as the RVM default, and used to install and run chef.

boxbuilder_default_ruby=$(curl -s http://rvm.beginrescueend.com/releases/stable-version.txt)

'boxbuilder_chef_dir' is the directory under which all chef-related files will be downloaded and created.

boxbuilder_chef_dir=$HOME/.chef

(REQUIRED to specify your chef repos) 'boxbuilder_chef_repos' is a space-delimited list of Chef Git repositories which will be automatically downloaded by boxbuilder. They will be checked out under $boxbuilder_chef_dir ($HOME/.chef) on the box which is being built.

You must override this variable to point to custom chef repo(s) in order for boxbuilder to build a custom box.

boxbuilder_chef_repos=git://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder_example_main_chef_repo.git[ git://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder_example_dependency_chef_repo.git[ ...]]

(REQUIRED to specify your chef config) 'boxbuilder_chef_config_path' is the path of the Chef config file. boxbuilder will use this as the '--config' parameter when it automatically creates and runs a chef-solo script on the box which is being built. This should be a path to a file in one of your 'boxbuilder_chef_repos'.

You must override this variable to point to a custom chef config path in one of the repos specified in 'boxbuilder_chef_repos'.

boxbuilder_chef_config_path=$boxbuilder_chef_dir/boxbuilder_chef_repo/config/solo.rb

(REQUIRED to specify your chef config) 'boxbuilder_chef_json_path' is the path of the Chef JSON attributes file. boxbuilder will use this as the '--json-attributes' parameter when it automatically creates and runs a chef-solo script on the box which is being built. This should be a path to a file in one of your 'boxbuilder_chef_repos'.

You must override this variable to point to a custom chef json path in one of the repos specified in 'boxbuilder_chef_repos'.

boxbuilder_chef_json_path=$boxbuilder_chef_dir/boxbuilder_chef_repo/config/node.json

'boxbuilder_chef_gem_install_options' allows you to pass custom options when installing the chef gem. This can be used to install the gem with a different version, source, etc.

boxbuilder_chef_gem_install_options="--no-ri --no-rdoc"

 

boxbuilder_build_ami script

'boxbuilder_build_ami' creates an EC2 EBS-backed AMI when run from an EC2 instance. It does the following:

  • Creates a chroot jail
  • Executes the 'boxbuilder_bootstrap' script while re-rooted within the chroot jail (which builds your image, see documentation for 'boxbuilder_bootstrap')
  • Creates and publishes an EBS-backed AMI from the image which was created in the chroot jail

Environment variables can be set in $HOME/.boxbuilder_build_amirc (not $HOME/.boxbuilderrc, that is the config for the current box, not the AMI being built in the chroot jail).


boxbuilder_build_ami environment variables

The contents of the 'boxbuilder_config' variable should be Bash commands to export and override boxbuilder config variables. It is directly evaluated by the 'boxbuilder_build_ami' script; and is also passed on to be evaluated before 'boxbuilder_bootstrap' is run in the chroot jail. See the documentation of the config options and the other scripts for more details on 'boxbuilder_config'.

boxbuilder_config="export override_variable1=value; export override_variable2=value"

(REQUIRED by EC2 tools) 'EC2_CERT' is the path to your EC2 X509 certificate file. It is directly required by the EC2 tools executables (which is why it is not named 'boxbuilder_...) to create and manage EC2 resources. If it is not set, it will default to the first file matching $HOME/.ec2/cert-*.pem. See http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AWSSecurityCredentials/1.0/AboutAWSCredentials.html#X509Credentials for documentation, and https://aws-portal.amazon.com/gp/aws/developer/account/index.html?ie=UTF8&action=access-key#access_credentials to create a cert and private key.

EC2_CERT=$HOME/.ec2/cert-*.pem

(REQUIRED by EC2 tools) 'EC2_PRIVATE_KEY' is the path to your EC2 X509 private key file. It is directly required by the EC2 tools executables (which is why it is not named 'boxbuilder_...) to create and manage EC2 resources. If it is not set, it will default to the first file matching $HOME/.ec2/pk-*.pem. See http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AWSSecurityCredentials/1.0/AboutAWSCredentials.html#X509Credentials for documentation, and https://aws-portal.amazon.com/gp/aws/developer/account/index.html?ie=UTF8&action=access-key#access_credentials to create a cert and private key.

EC2_PRIVATE_KEY=$HOME/.ec2/pk-*.pem

(NOT REQUIRED but you probably want to set it) 'boxbuilder_ami_prefix' is a string which will be prepended to the name of the AMI being created. This should be some string which describes the purpose of the AMI. It will be prepended to the following info to create the complete AMI name: "-ubuntu-{release}-{codename}-{tag}-{arch}-{timestamp}"

boxbuilder_ami_prefix="built-by-boxbuilder"

'boxbuilder_bootstrap_url' is the location from which the boxbuilder_bootstrap script will be downloaded into the AMI chroot jail being built. Override it to use your custom boxbuilder_bootstrap script instead of the default.

boxbuilder_bootstrap_url=https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder/raw/master/boxbuilder_bootstrap

 

boxbuilder_remote_build_ami script

WARNING: It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that any EC2 resources which boxbuilder creates are automatically shut down. If you do not YOU WILL BE CHARGED BY AMAZON UNTIL THEY ARE SHUT DOWN. See the detailed warning at the top of this README.

'boxbuilder_remote_build_ami' is run from any bash shell. It allows you to run 'boxbuilder_build_ami' on a remote box without logging in to it. You will be prompted to set required variables which you can export from your shell, or set in $HOME/.boxbuilder_remote_build_amirc:

  • Download the Amazon EC2 API tools to your local filesystem
  • Automatically start an EC2 instance (called the 'builder instance') using your EC2 account and credentials (which you are required to obtain and specify)
  • Upload your credentials to the builder instance
  • Issue remote SSH commands to download and run 'boxbuilder_remote_build_ami' on the builder instance (which then builds your AMI, see documentation for 'boxbuilder_build_ami')

Note that the config file is $HOME/.boxbuilder_remote_build_amirc, NOT $HOME/.boxbuilderrc (which is the config for the current box, not the remote AMI being built).


The contents of the 'boxbuilder_config' variable should be Bash commands to export and override boxbuilder config variables. It is directly evaluated by the 'boxbuilder_remote_build_ami' script; and is also passed on to be evaluated before 'boxbuilder_build_ami' is run in on the remote EC2 builder instance. See the documentation of the config options and other scripts for more details on 'boxbuilder_config'.

boxbuilder_config="export override_variable1=value; export override_variable2=value"

(REQUIRED by EC2 tools) 'EC2_CERT' is the path to your EC2 X509 certificate file. It is directly required by the EC2 tools executables (which is why it is not named 'boxbuilder_...) to create and manage EC2 resources. If it is not set, it will default to the first file matching $HOME/.ec2/cert-*.pem. See http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AWSSecurityCredentials/1.0/AboutAWSCredentials.html#X509Credentials for documentation, and https://aws-portal.amazon.com/gp/aws/developer/account/index.html?ie=UTF8&action=access-key#access_credentials to create a cert and private key.

EC2_CERT=$HOME/.ec2/cert-*.pem

(REQUIRED by EC2 tools) 'EC2_PRIVATE_KEY' is the path to your EC2 X509 private key file. It is directly required by the EC2 tools executables (which is why it is not named 'boxbuilder_...) to create and manage EC2 resources. If it is not set, it will default to the first file matching $HOME/.ec2/pk-*.pem. See http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AWSSecurityCredentials/1.0/AboutAWSCredentials.html#X509Credentials for documentation, and https://aws-portal.amazon.com/gp/aws/developer/account/index.html?ie=UTF8&action=access-key#access_credentials to create a cert and private key.

EC2_PRIVATE_KEY=$HOME/.ec2/pk-*.pem

(REQUIRED for EC2 tools) 'EC2_KEYPAIR' is the path to your EC2 'keypair' file. Amazon refers to this as a 'keypair', but it is actually just the private key. You don't ever need to directly use the public key; Amazon manages it for you - but you can always generate it using the '-y' option of 'ssh-keygen'. 'EC2_KEYPAIR' is used by 'boxbuilder_remote_build_ami' for SSH access to the EC2 builder instance it creates to run 'boxbuilder_build_ami'. If it is not set, it will default to the first file matching $HOME/.ec2/keypair-*.pem. NOTE: I don't think this variable is ever used directly by the EC2 tools, but it is named like the other EC2-required credential variables for consistency. See http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AWSSecurityCredentials/1.0/AboutAWSCredentials.html#EC2KeyPairs for documentation, and https://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/home#c=EC2&s=KeyPairs to create a keypair.

EC2_KEYPAIR=$HOME/.ec2/keypair-*.pem

(REQUIRED for EC2 tools) 'EC2_KEYPAIR_NAME' is the name of your EC2 'keypair'. It is used by 'boxbuilder_remote_build_ami' when starting the EC2 builder instance it creates to run 'boxbuilder_build_ami'. You must set this to the name which matches the keypair file specified in 'EC2_KEYPAIR'. NOTE: I don't think this variable is ever used directly by the EC2 tools, but it is named like the other EC2-required credential variables for consistency. See http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AWSSecurityCredentials/1.0/AboutAWSCredentials.html#EC2KeyPairs for documentation, and https://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/home#c=EC2&s=KeyPairs to create a keypair.

EC2_KEYPAIR_NAME=$HOME/.ec2/keypair-*.pem

'boxbuilder_builder_instance_instance_type' is the type of EC2 builder instance you wish to use or start. It must match the type of AMI you wish to build (32-bit or 64-bit). Use 'm1.small' if you are building a 32-bit AMI, and 'm1.large' if you are building a 64-bit AMI. The default value is 'm1.large' (64-bit). See http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/instance-types

boxbuilder_builder_instance_instance_type=m1.large

'boxbuilder_builder_instance_ami_id' is the AMI which you wish to use to start the EC2 builder instance. It must match the type of AMI you wish to build (32-bit or 64-bit). See the 'EC2 Info' section below for current 32-bit and 64-bit AMI IDs, as well as the CentOS AMIs. The default value is 'ami-4b4ba522' (64-bit Ubuntu).

boxbuilder_builder_instance_ami_id=ami-4b4ba522

(REQUIRED to match default ssh-able user for builder instance) 'boxbuilder_user' is the username which is used to log into the EC2 builder instance and perform the remote AMI build via SSH. It must match a user which is ssh-able by default on the builder instance which is started from the AMI specified in 'boxbuilder_builder_instance_ami_id'.

Set it to 'ubuntu' if you are using the standard Ubuntu EC2 AMIs to start a builder instance (more distros will be supported in the future).

boxbuilder_user={required to be exported directly or in .boxbuilderrc}

'boxbuilder_builder_instance_id' is the instance id of the EC2 builder instance. If it is not set, an instance will automatically be created for you. Boxbuilder will ATTEMPT to terminate the instance after the AMI is built, but this is not guaranteed.

boxbuilder_builder_instance_id="i-abcdef12"

'boxbuilder_build_ami_url' is the location from which the 'boxbuilder_remote_build_ami' script will be downloaded onto the EC2 builder instance. Override it to use your custom 'boxbuilder_build_ami' script instead of the default.

boxbuilder_build_ami_url=https://github.com/thewoolleyman/boxbuilder/raw/master/boxbuilder_build_ami

'boxbuilder_ec2_api_tools_url' is the location from which the Amazon EC2 API Tools will be downloaded and extracted to $HOME/.boxbuilder_ec2_tools/ec2-api-tools on your local filesystem. Override it to use a custom location to download the Amazon EC2 API Tools.

boxbuilder_ec2_api_tools=http://s3.amazonaws.com/ec2-downloads/ec2-api-tools.zip

'boxbuilder_terminate_ec2_resources' is a boolean flag indicating whether a NON-GUARANTEED ATTEMPT should be made to automatically terminate ALL EC2 builder instances which boxbuilder automatically started. Resources which boxbuilder automatically started will be identified by the string 'boxbuilder_temp_builder_instance_safe_to_terminate' in the resource's User Data instance attribute or Snapshot Description. The User Data instance attribute is not visible via the EC2 AWS Management Console, but can be seen using this command: 'ec2-describe-instance-attribute {instance id} --user-data'.

It is true by default. This is an attempt to prevent old builder instances from persisting after boxbuilder runs and incurring charges on your EC2 account (see the warning at the top of this README).

Set it to false if you want leave the build instance running in order to rerun or debug boxbuilder (you must set 'boxbuilder_builder_instance_id' to prevent a build instance from automatically starting).

boxbuilder_terminate_ec2_resources=true

 

EC2 Info



 

Known Issues

  • Boxbuilder was developed and tested on OSX and Ubuntu. It is intended to be portable across all Bash platforms, but there may be differences in Bash implementations. Please report bugs!

  • Boxbuilder is opinionated and focused. It assumes you are going to install Ruby and Chef via RVM as a non-root user with no-password sudo priviliges via membership in the 'admin' group. It gives you as much control as possible over these tasks, and leaves everything else up to your Chef recipes. It is written in Bash, and tries to be as portable as possible across platforms and distros. If there's something you think boxbuilder should do but doesn't, please speak up!


 

Testing

CI

Continuous Integration for Boxbuilder is at http://ci.pivotallabs.com:3333/builds/boxbuilder

Test Suite

Boxbuilder has an integration test suite in test/boxbuilder_test. By default, it tests everything including AMI creation, using your EC2 account. If you only want to test boxbuilder's ability to build remote boxes, and are not interested in using EC2 or testing AMI creation, you can specify an existing 'boxbuilder_host' which is running. This will disable tests which access EC2 and test AMI building.

AMI Testing:

  • Runs boxbuilder_remote_build_ami to create an AMI with the default example configuration and chef repos
  • Starts a new EC2 instance from the newly-built AMI
  • Verifies the AMI was built correctly by performing assertions on the instance via SSH
  • Terminates/deletes all EC2 test resources (instance, AMI, and snapshot)
  • Repeats entire process for both Ubuntu (green) and Centos (soon)

Existing boxbuilder_host testing:

  • Runs boxbuilder_remote_bootstrap to create an AMI with the default example configuration and chef repos
  • Verifies the box was built correctly by performing assertions on the instance via SSH
  • Repeats entire process for both Ubuntu (green) and Centos (soon)

$HOME/.boxbuilder_testrc - The test suite will execute $HOME/.boxbuilder_testrc before running tests.

AMI/EC2 Testing - When testing AMIs which requires EC2 access, test/boxbuilder_test requires the same variables to be set as does the 'boxbuilder_remote_build_ami' script. It will prompt with an error if any required variable is unset.

NON-EC2 Testing against a boxbuilder_host - If you don't want to enter EC2 credentials, specify an existing 'boxbuilder_host' to build.

The tests take several minutes to run, because that is how long it takes boxbuilder_remote_build_ami to run. Be patient. At some points, the terminal will also be locked and prevent input while boxbuilder_remote_build_ami is running (because of pseudo-tty).

Debugging

'boxbuilder_debug' - If you are hacking boxbuilder, and the test fails, try setting boxbuilder_debug to true. This will give a very verbose output to help you find the failure.

'boxbuilder_branch' - You can work on a topic branch of boxbuilder (this story will eliminate the need to use boxbuilder_config):

export boxbuilder_branch='centos' && \
export boxbuilder_config="export boxbuilder_branch='centos'" && \
test/boxbuilder_test

'boxbuilder_terminate_ec2_resources' - You can disable automatic termination of EC2 instances, to inspect and manually run any failing commands:

export boxbuilder_terminate_ec2_resources=false && \
test/boxbuilder_test

'boxbuilder_ami_no_password_ssh_debug_access' - This option opens a GAPING SECURITY HOLE on your box, by allowing no-password ssh authentication to 'boxbuilder_user'. However, it is very handy if EC2 key-based ssh authentication is broken on your newly-built AMI:

export boxbuilder_ami_no_password_ssh_debug_access=false && \
test/boxbuilder_test

'test_ubuntu_ami' and 'test_centos_ami' - These options allow you to enable or disable tests for Ubuntu or Centos. Here's an example running Centos tests only::

export test_ubuntu_ami=false && export test_centos_ami=true && \
test/boxbuilder_test

 

Credits

AMI-building code is based on Eric Hammond's tutorial at http://alestic.com/2010/01/ec2-ebs-boot-ubuntu

Props to the folks on the ec2ubuntu mailing list and the bash irc channel/wiki; they helped me a lot.


 

Who to Blame

Boxbuilder was designed and written by Chad Woolley: thewoolleyman@gmail.com