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Manage SmartOS local zones in Vagrant
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Manage SmartOS zones using Vagrant.


This plugin depends on using a SmartOS global zone built to be vagrant compatible. = "livinginthepast/smartos"

See Vagrant Cloud for some boxes.

This plugin also depends on Vagrant recognizing the SmartOS guest. This is available in Vagrant 1.5.3 or newer.

Any outstanding issues with SmartOS integration in the current released version of Vagrant can be hacked into shape with the vagrant-smartos/vagrant-smartos-guest plugin. This tracks fixes that have been submitted as pull requests to Vagrant but may have not been yet released.

Quick Start Installation

vagrant plugin install vagrant-smartos-zones
mkdir <directory_name>
cd <directory_name>
curl -sO
vagrant up
vagrant ssh

Slow Start Installation

vagrant plugin install vagrant-smartos-zones

If you are using a development version of vagrant, or would like to use an unreleased version of this plugin, add the following to your Gemfile.

group :plugins do
  gem 'vagrant-smartos-zones', github: 'vagrant-smartos/vagrant-smartos-zones'

In a local checkout of this repository, the following will work:

gem install bundler
bundle exec vagrant up
bundle exec vagrant ssh

Please note that this will install vagrant into your local ruby environment, which may overwrite or conflict with the normal vagrant version installed in your system.


Vagrant.configure('2') do |config|
  config.vm.provider "virtualbox" do |v|
    v.memory = 3072

  config.ssh.insert_key = false

  # See for SmartOS boxes = "livinginthepast/smartos"
  config.vm.synced_folder ".", "/vagrant", disabled: true

  # This is required for the commands that talk to the global zone
  config.vm.communicator = 'smartos'

  # livinginthepast boxes include a default platform_image. Set
  # here to download/use a different image.
  # config.global_zone.platform_image = 'latest'
  # config.global_zone.platform_image = '20140312T071408Z' = 'base64' = 'joyent' = 'c353c568-69ad-11e3-a248-db288786ea63' = 2048 = 5 ".", "/vagrant", type: 'rsync'

Download or interact with SmartOS platform images:

vagrant smartos latest
vagrant smartos list
vagrant smartos install [platform_image]

Interact with zones running in a box:

vagrant zones config
vagrant zones list
vagrant zones show [name]
vagrant zones start [name]
vagrant zones stop [name]

Export a running zone as a dataset (image) in the local file system:

vagrant dataset create [zone] [identifier]
vagrant dataset delete [identifier]
vagrant dataset list

Single zone usage

When a single zone is configured (currently the only configuration possible), a zonegate service is enabled in the global zone. This makes it so that inbound packets in the global zone are forwarded to the zone.

vagrant ssh

When zonegate is disabled or when a zone is not running, then vagrant ssh will access the global zone. When a zone is running while zonegate is enabled, then vagrant ssh will access the zone.

vagrant ssh

vagrant global-zone ssh

A secondary port forward is installed in VirtualBox, which allows us to access the global zone even when zonegate forwards normal ssh to the zone.

vagrant global-zone ssh

vagrant zlogin [name]

This command accesses the zone, but through the global zone. It uses the global zone ssh port to connect to the global zone, then runs zlogin to access the zone.

This can by handy when, for instance, SSH becomes broken in the zone.

vagrant zlogin [name]

Platform images

This plugin expects the Vagrant box to boot SmartOS from a mounted ISO file, known as a platform image. To facilitate updates to the platform image without having to continually create new boxes, the plugin downloads platform image into a user's .vagrant.d directory, and then swaps out the ISO mounted in the Vagrant box with the one configured in the Vagrantfile.

To help with this, vagrant-smartos-zones provides the vagrant smartos subcommand.

Show the name of the most up-to-date platform version hosted by Joyent:

vagrant smartos latest

List all locally-installed platform images:

vagrant smartos list

Download a new platform image:

vagrant smartos install [platform-image]

Using an arbitrary platform image url

An arbitrary URL can be used to download SmartOS platform images. When doing so, no checksum validation is performed (so if the image is interrupted when downloading, you may end up with a corrupt ISO file).

When using an arbitrary URL for the platform image, make sure you set both platform_image and platform_image_url and include the full URL to the ISO file. In this case, platform_image will be used to name (and find) the file in the local file system.

config.global_zone.platform_image = 'omglol-2131234'
config.global_zone.platform_image_url = ''

Synced Folders

Vagrant allows synced folders into any SmartOS guest. When the guest is a global zone, be aware that the root partition is a RAM disk of a little more than 256M.

VirtualBox guest additions

Shared folders using VirtualBox guest additions currently do not work.


In single-zone environments, synced folders of type rsync work as normal. zonegate forwards all packets into the zone, and the built-in synced folders code in Vagrant runs after the zone is configured.

# Vagrantfile
config.vm.synced_folder ".", "/vagrant", type: "rsync"



User management

The vagrant box with the global zone requires a vagrant user and group with which to connect. This user should have Primary Administrator privileges. When creating a local zone, a vagrant user and group are also created in the zone.

Plugin configuration

The plugin allows for local configuration through the vagrant zones config command. This can be used for local overrides of zone configuration.

vagrant zones config
vagrant zones config key value
vagrant zones config --delete key


Networks conflict, particularly when assumptions are made about local networks. For this reason, the network chosen by the plugin when configuring the Global Zone and its local zone can be globally overridden.

Since this is a facet of your current location and not of the box itself, this is configured in the plugin rather than in the Vagrantfile.

vagrant zones config network

What can go wrong? Well... basically, what can go wrong is that the Global Zone port forwarding will break, and we won't actually be able to create zones. It should be pretty obvious when this is the case.

  • Does your network overlap with VirtualBox's local network space?

Using local zone images

When running vagrant from a location far away from where SmartOS images are hosted (anywhere other than the east coast of the USA, basically), setting up a zone can be very slow.

Zones can be modified in Vagrant, then exported locally to save time on repeated tasks. After modifying a zone, for instance by installing build tools, you can export the zone as follows (warning: this will take a while):

# vagrant dataset create [zone] [identifier]
vagrant dataset create base64 base64-15.1.1-build-essential

The vagrant-smartos-zones plugin can be configured to use a local zone image in place of a remote one as follows:

vagrant zones config dataset.0edf00aa-0562-11e5-b92f-879647d45790 base64-15.1.1-build-essential

Now any Vagrantfile configured to use a local zone with the image 0edf00aa-0562-11e5-b92f-879647d45790 will instead install and use the local image.

Pkgsrc mirror

vagrant zones config local.pkgsrc

This will replace the protocol and domain of the pkgsrc mirror used by pkgin in a SmartOS zone.


There is a basic test suite that uses test-kitchen to converge different brands of zones. Although it might not be comprehensive, it should be ran after new features or after any significant refactoring to ensure that nothing breaks the ability to stand up a zone.

bundle exec kitchen test

This may take a while...

References / Alternatives

Any success of this project depends heavily on the work of others, which I've either learned from or pulled in directly.

Please forgive any lapses of acknowledgment. I've read so many blog posts and so much source code in the course of working on this, many references have fallen by the wayside.


  • Only one local zone per box. Working on it.
  • Usage may change with each prerelease version until I get it right. Until a non .pre version is released, check commit logs.


See the Contributing page for guidelines/recommendations on contributions.

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