Node on Ubuntu on Vagrant on Hyper-V
The following is how I got NodeJS running on Ubuntu using Vagrant in Windows with Hyper-V.
Paying for VMWare goes against my open-source leanings, and I’m a lone dev so any expenses have to be seriously considered.
Virtualbox is a great product and I’ve used it a lot in the past but I never liked the networking stuff it added to my system. I’ve tried using Vagrant with Virtualbox on Windows before and always come against folder and file permissions and syncing problems. I have problems with Oracle too.
Hyper-V on the other hand is baked natively in to Windows 8.1 and higher (I’m using Windows 10). It’s straightforward to enable, configure and plays nicely with the Windows filesystem and networking stack.
I’ve used it more than any other Linux distribution. I’m very familiar with configuring it and running it in production. I dare say the steps I outline below are fairly ‘box’ agnostic though.
Step 1. Install Vagrant
Head on over to https://www.vagrantup.com/downloads.html to download the installer, run it and wait for it to finish.
Step 2. Enable Hyper-V
Go to Uninstall or change a program, you can find this in the toolbar on This PC, via the control panel, or just search for it.
Next click on Turn Windows features on or off on the left side of the screen. And make sure Hyper-V is checked.
You might have to reboot to fully enable Hyper-V but once it’s enabled you can check it under the performance tab in the task scheduler
Step 3. Create Hyper-V network switch
This step is really important. If you do not do this, Vagrant will not be able to connect to the box. So hit your Start button and search for Hyper-V Manager. Once in, find Virtual Switch Manager…
In the ‘Virtual Switch Manager’ select New virtual network switch, now you have three choices:
External creates a network switch that is connected to your system’s physical network. This will allow your Vagrant box to connect to the outside world, and vice versa.
Internal creates a network switch that allows your host system and the virtual machines in Hyper-V to talk to each other. If you select this option, your Vagrant will not have internet access.
Private creates a network switch that can only be used by the virtual machines. This is useless for Vagrant.
I suggest using External as it means I can use
apt-get etc. So select External and hit Create Virtual Switch. All you need do now is give your virtual switch a name. Hit ‘OK’ and close the Hyper-V Manager.
Step 4. The Vagrantfile
Now we have the host operating system set up and Vagrant installed it’s time to actually create a Vagrant box.
In the directory your project with be in type the following command:
This will create a single file called
Vagrantfile in your directory. This file is all you need and is where you’ll put your instructions for setting up your Vagrant box.
Ignoring all the comments and remmed out statements, the basic
Vagrantfile looks like this:
That’s it. The
base box is the default and is all well and good, but I want 64bit Ubuntu. So change
"hashicorp/precise64". If you want a different base system, you can find more pre-built boxes at https://atlas.hashicorp.com/boxes/search
Next we have to tell Vagrant to use Hyper-V as I think it defaults to ‘Virtualbox’, so add the following line:
Finally, we want to make sure the Vagrant box has access to the public network (the internet) so we can grab
apt packages and the like. So add the following line:
This is the absolute basics we need. Save your
Vagrantfile and we’re ready to fire it up.
Step 5. vagrant up
One quirk of Vagrant on Hyper-V is that it must be run as Administrator. So whether you’re using Command Prompt, Powershell, Cygwin, or Git Bash, you need to make sure you run it as Administrator.
So to get things going open your CLI window, navigate to your project folder and type:
If you see an error regarding the provider, you may need to force the use of Hyper-V:
If all goes well, you should see something along the lines of the following. It might take a while as it has to download the virtual hard drive for the Ubuntu version we selected. Also, because we’re using Linux with Windows, Vagrant needs to set up a Samba share. So you’ll need to enter your Windows credentials.
If you see something like above then everything ran fine. You can SSH in to your box by typing
Some useful Vagrant commands are:
|vagrant up||Create a box or start from halt|
|vagrant halt||Graceful shutdown|
|vagrant destroy||Remove the box|
|vagrant suspend||Pause box at exact state|
|vagrant resume||Resume from suspend|
|vagrant reload||Reboot, maybe after a config change|
|vagrant provision||Re-run the provisioning stuff|
|vagrant ssh||SSH in to your box|
More can be found on the Vagrant website
Step 6. Provisioning and NodeJS
Every time you create a box from a
vagrant up after a
vagrant destroy, Vagrant will create your box from scratch. While we could install all the software we need each time, it makes sense to tell Vagrant to do it for us. This is known as provisioning.
To get started with provisioning NodeJS, create a new file called
bootstrap.sh. This is a bash script where we’ll put in the commands we need to run. I’m going to install NVM, the node version manager. This is because NodeJS release new versions very fast so I’m happy to actually select my NodeJS version manually.
Now in your
Vagrantfile add the following line. The important part here is at the end,
priveleged: false. By default provisioning scripts run as
sudo but we want NVM installed as the
So now your whole
Vagrantfile should look like this:
bootstrap.sh you would also put anything else you want run automatically. Such as setting environment variables, pulling from a remote repository, or even installing a database system like Redis.
This is just basic steps to get NodeJS running in Ubuntu with Vagrant using Hyper-V on Windows. There is a lot more to Vagrant than I can cover here, so I suggest you start with their Getting Started guide.