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Mark is a graph advocate and field engineer for Neo Technology, the company behind the Neo4j graph database. As a field engineer, Mark helps customers embrace graph data and Neo4j building sophisticated solutions to challenging data problems. When he's not with customers Mark is a developer on Neo4j and writes his experiences of being a graphista on a popular blog at He tweets at @markhneedham. Mark is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 553 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Vagrant: Multi (virtual) machine with Puppet roles

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I’ve been playing around with setting up a neo4j cluster using Vagrant and HAProxy and one thing I wanted to do was define two different roles for the HAProxy and neo4j machines.

When I was working at uSwitch Nathan had solved a similar problem, but with AWS VMs, by defining the role in an environment variable in the VM’s spin up script.

In retrospect I think I might have been able to do that by using the shell provisioner and calling that before the puppet provisioner but Nathan, Gareth Rushgrove and Gregor Russbuelt suggested that using facter might be better.

When I initially looked at the ‘Custom Facts’ section of the docs I thought it was only possible to set facts for the Vagrant file as a whole but you can actually do it on a per VM basis which is neat.

I added a method called ‘provision_as_role’ to the ‘Vagrant::Config::V2::Root’ class:

module Vagrant
  module Config
    module V2
      class Root
        def provision_as_role(role)
          vm.provision :puppet do |puppet|
            puppet.manifests_path = "puppet/manifests"
            puppet.module_path = "puppet/modules"
            puppet.manifest_file  = "base.pp"
            puppet.facter = { "role" => role.to_s }

and then passed in a role depending on the VM in my Vagrantfile:

require File.join(File.dirname(__FILE__), 'lib', 'root.rb')
Vagrant.configure("2") do |config| = "precise64"
  config.vm.box_url = ""
  config.vm.define :neo01 do |neo| 
    neo.vm.hostname = "neo01" :private_network, ip: ""    
    neo.provision_as_role :neo
  config.vm.define :lb01 do |lb|
    lb.vm.hostname = "lb01" :private_network, ip: ""    
    lb.provision_as_role :lb

We can now access the variable ‘$role’ in our puppet code which I used like so:


class all_the_things {
  exec { 'apt-get update': command => '/usr/bin/apt-get update'; }
  package { 'curl': ensure => '7.22.0-3ubuntu4', }
  class { 'apt': }
node default {
  class { 'all_the_things': }
  class { $role:
    require => Class['all_the_things']

The ‘neo’ and ‘lb’ classes look like this:

class neo {
  class { 'java': version => '7u25-0~webupd8~1', }
  class { 'neo4j': require     => Class['java'], }
class lb {
  class { 'haproxy':  }

The full code is on github but it’s behaving a bit weirdly in some scenarios so I’m still trying to get it properly working.

Published at DZone with permission of Mark Needham, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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