Vagrant on Fedora with libvirt (reprise)

Vagrant has become the de facto tool for devops. Faster iterations, clean environments, and less overhead. This isn’t an article about why you should use Vagrant. This is an article about how to get up and running with Vagrant on Fedora with libvirt easily!


This article is an update of my original Vagrant on Fedora with libvirt article. There is still lots of good information in that article, but this one should be easier to follow and uses updated versions of Vagrant and vagrant-libvirt.

Why vagrant-libvirt?

Vagrant ships by default with support for virtualbox. This makes sense as a default since it is available on Windows, Mac, and GNU/Linux. Real hackers use GNU/Linux, and in my opinion the best tool for GNU/Linux is vagrant-libvirt. Proprietary, closed source platforms aren’t hackable and therefore aren’t cool!

Another advantage to using the vagrant-libvirt plugin is that it plays nicely with the existing ecosystem of libvirt tools. You can use virsh, virt-manager, and guestfish alongside Vagrant, and if your development work needs to go into production, you can be confident in knowing that it was already tested on the same awesome KVM virtualization platform that your servers run.


Let’s get going. What do you need?

  • A Fedora 20 machine

I recommend hardware that supports VT extensions. Most does these days. This should also work with other GNU/Linux distro’s, but I haven’t tested them.


I’m going to go through this in a logical hacking order. This means you could group all the yum install commands into a single execution at the beginning, but you would learn much less by doing so.

First install some of your favourite hacking dependencies. I did this on a minimal, headless F20 installation. You might want to add some of these too:

# yum install -y wget tree vim screen mtr nmap telnet tar git

Update the system to make sure it’s fresh:

# yum update -y

Update: I’m actually now using vagrant 1.6.5, and you should try that instead. It should work for you too. Modify the below to match the newer version.

Download Vagrant version 1.5.4. No, don’t use the latest version, it probably won’t work! Vagrant has new releases practically as often as there are sunsets, and they typically cause lots of breakages.

$ wget

and install it:

# yum install -y vagrant_1.5.4_x86_64.rpm

RVM installation:

In order to get vagrant-libvirt working, you’ll need some ruby dependencies. It turns out that RVM seems to be the best way to get exactly what you need. Use the sketchy RVM installer:

# \curl -sSL | bash -s stable

If you don’t know why that’s sketchy, then you probably shouldn’t be hacking! I did that as root, but it probably works when you run it as a normal user. At this point rvm should be installed. The last important thing you’ll need to do is to add yourself to the rvm group. This is only needed if you installed rvm as root:

# usermod -aG rvm <username>

You’ll probably need to logout and log back in for this to take effect. Run:

$ groups

to make sure you can see rvm in the list. If you ran rvm as root, you’ll want to source the file:

$ source /etc/profile.d/

or simply use a new terminal. If you ran it as a normal user, I think RVM adds something to your ~/.bashrc. You might want to reload it:

$ source ~/.bashrc

At this point RVM should be working. Let’s see which ruby’s it can install:

$ rvm list known

Ruby version ruby-2.0.0-p353 seems closest to what is available on my Fedora 20 machine, so I’ll use that:

$ rvm install ruby-2.0.0-p353

If the exact patch number isn’t available, choose what’s closest. Installing ruby requires a bunch of dependencies. The rvm install command will ask yum for a bunch of dependencies, but if you’d rather install them yourself, you can run:

# yum install -y patch libyaml-devel libffi-devel glibc-headers autoconf gcc-c++ glibc-devel patch readline-devel zlib-devel openssl-devel bzip2 automake libtool bison

GEM installation:

Now we need the GEM dependencies for the vagrant-libvirt plugin. These GEM’s happen to have their own build dependencies, but thankfully I’ve already figured those out for you:

# yum install -y libvirt-devel libxslt-devel libxml2-devel

Update: Typically we used to now have to install the nokogiri dependencies. With newer versions of vagrant-libvirt, this is no longer necessarily required. Consider skipping this step, and trying to install the vagrant-libvirt plugin without specifying a version. If it doesn’t work, try vagrant-libvirt version 0.0.20, if that doesn’t work, install nokogiri. Feel free to post your updated experiences in the comments!

Now, install the nokogiri gem that vagrant-libvirt needs:

$ gem install nokogiri -v '1.5.11'

and finally we can install the actual vagrant-libvirt plugin:

$ vagrant plugin install --plugin-version 0.0.16 vagrant-libvirt

You don’t have to specify the –plugin-version 0.0.16 part, but doing so will make sure that you get a version that I have tested to be compatible with Vagrant 1.5.4 should a newer vagrant-libvirt release not be compatible with the Vagrant version you’re using. If you’re feeling brave, please test newer versions, report bugs, and write patches!

Making Vagrant more useful:

Vagrant should basically work at this point, but it’s missing some awesome. I’m proud to say that I wrote this awesome. I recommend my bash function and alias additions. If you’d like to include them, you can run:

$ wget
$ echo '. ~/' >> ~/.bashrc
$ . ~/.bashrc    # reload

to pull in my most used Vagrant aliases and functions. I’ve written about them before. If you’re interested, please read:

KVM/QEMU installation:

As I mentioned earlier, I’m assuming you have a minimal Fedora 20 installation, so you might not have all the libvirt pieces installed! Here’s how to install any potentially missing pieces:

# yum install -y libvirt{,-daemon-kvm}

This should pull in a whole bunch of dependencies too. You will need to start and (optionally) enable the libvirtd service:

# systemctl start libvirtd.service
# systemctl enable libvirtd.service

You’ll notice that I’m using the systemd commands instead of the deprecated service command. My biggest (only?) gripe with systemd is that the command line tools aren’t as friendly as they could be! The systemctl equivalent requires more typing, and make it harder to start or stop the same service in quick succession, because it buries the action in the middle of the command instead of leaving it at the end!

The libvirtd service should finally be running. On my machine, it comes with a default network which got in the way of my vagrant-libvirt networking. If you want to get rid of it, you can run:

# virsh net-destroy default
# virsh net-undefine default

and it shouldn’t bother you anymore. One last hiccup. If it’s your first time installing KVM, you might run into bz#950436. To workaround this issue, I had to run:

# rmmod kvm_intel
# rmmod kvm
# modprobe kvm
# modprobe kvm_intel

Without this “module re-loading” you might see this error:

Call to virDomainCreateWithFlags failed: internal error: Process exited while reading console log output: char device redirected to /dev/pts/2 (label charserial0)
Could not access KVM kernel module: Permission denied
failed to initialize KVM: Permission denied

Additional installations:

To make your machine somewhat more palatable, you might want to consider installing bash-completion:

# yum install -y bash-completion

You’ll also probably want to add the PolicyKit (polkit) .pkla file that I recommend in my earlier article. Typically that means adding something like:

[Allow james libvirt management permissions]

as root to somewhere like:


Your machine should now be setup perfectly! The last thing you’ll need to do is to make sure that you get a Vagrantfile that does things properly! Here are some recommendations.

Shared folders:

Shared folders are a mechanism that Vagrant uses to pass data into (and sometimes out of) the virtual machines that it is managing. Typically you can use NFS, rsync, and some provider specific folder sharing like 9p. Using rsync is the simplest to set up, and works exceptionally well. Make sure you include the following line in your Vagrantfile:

config.vm.synced_folder './', '/vagrant', type: 'rsync'

If you want to see an example of this in action, you can have a look at my puppet-gluster Vagrantfile. If you are using the puppet apply provisioner, you will have to set it to use rsync as well:

puppet.synced_folder_type = 'rsync'

KVM performance:

Due to a regression in vagrant-libvirt, the default driver used for virtual machines is qemu. If you want to use the accelerated KVM domain type, you’ll have to set it:

libvirt.driver = 'kvm'

This typically gives me a 5x performance increase over plain qemu. This fix is available in the latest vagrant-libvirt version. The default has been set to KVM in the latest git master.

Dear internets!

I think this was fairly straightforward. You could probably even put all of these commands in a shell script and just run it to get it all going. What we really need is proper RPM packaging. If you can help out, that would be excellent!

If we had a version of vagrant-libvirt alongside a matching Vagrant version in Fedora, then developers and hackers could target that, and we could easily exchange dev environments, hackers could distribute product demos as full vagrant-libvirt clusters, and I could stop having to write these types of articles ;)

I hope this was helpful to you. Please let me know in the comments.

Happy hacking,



Vagrant on Fedora with libvirt

Apparently lots of people are using Vagrant these days, so I figured I’d try it out. I wanted to get it working on Fedora, and without Virtualbox. This is an intro article on Vagrant, and what I’ve done. I did this on Fedora 19. Feel free to suggest improvements.


Vagrant is a tool that easily provisions virtual machines, and then kicks off a configuration management deployment like Puppet. It’s often used for development. I’m planning on using it to test some Puppet-Gluster managed GlusterFS clusters.


You should already have the base libvirt/QEMU packages already installed (if they’re not already present) and be comfortable with basic virtual machine concepts. If not, come back when you’re ready.

Fedora 20 was supposed to include Vagrant, but I don’t think this happened. In the meantime, I installed the latest x86_64 RPM from the Vagrant download page.

$ mkdir ~/vagrant
$ wget
$ sudo yum install vagrant_1.3.5_x86_64.rpm

EDIT: Please use version 1.3.5 only! The 1.4 series breaks compatibility with a lot of the necessary plugins. You might have success with different versions, but I have not tested them yet.

You’ll probably need some dependencies for the next few steps. Ensure they’re present:

$ sudo yum install libvirt-devel libxslt-devel libxml2-devel

The virsh and virt-manager tools are especially helpful additions. Install those too.


Vagrant has a concept of default “boxes”. These are pre-built images that you download, and use as base images for the virtual machines that you’ll be building. Unfortunately, they are hypervisor specific, and the most commonly available images have been built for Virtualbox. Yuck! To get around this limitation, there is an easy solution.

First we’ll need to install a special Vagrant plugin:

$ sudo yum install qemu-img # depends on this
$ vagrant plugin install vagrant-mutate

EDIT: Note that there is a bug on Fedora 20 that breaks mutate! Feel free to skip over the mutate steps below on Fedora, and use this image instead. You can install it with:

$ vagrant box add centos-6 --provider=libvirt

You’ll have to replace the precise32 name in the below Vagrantfile with centos-6.


Now download an incompatible box. We’ll use the well-known example:

$ vagrant box add precise32

Finally, convert the box so that it’s libvirt compatible:

$ vagrant mutate precise32 libvirt

This plugin can also convert to KVM friendly boxes.

You’ll need to make a working directory for Vagrant and initialize it:

$ mkdir test1
$ cd test1
$ vagrant init precise32


I initially tried getting this working with the vagrant-kvm plugin that Fedora 20 will eventually include, but I did not succeed. Instead, I used the vagrant-libvirt plugin:

$ vagrant plugin install vagrant-libvirt

EDIT: I forgot to mention that you’ll need to specify the --provider argument when running vagrant commands. I wrote about how to do this in my second article. You can use --provider=libvirt for each command or include the:


line in your ~/.bashrc file.


I have found a number of issues with it, but I’ll show you which magic knobs I’ve used so that you can replicate my setup. Let me show you my Vagrantfile:

# -*- mode: ruby -*-
# vi: set ft=ruby :


# NOTE: vagrant-libvirt needs to run in series (not in parallel) to avoid
# trying to create the network twice... eg: vagrant up --no-parallel
# alternatively, you can just create the vm's one at a time manually...

Vagrant.configure(VAGRANTFILE_API_VERSION) do |config|

	# Every Vagrant virtual environment requires a box to build from = "precise32"			# choose your own!

	# List each virtual machine
	config.vm.define :vm1 do |vm1| :private_network,
			:ip => "",	# choose your own!
			:libvirt__network_name => "default"	# leave it

	config.vm.define :vm2 do |vm2| :private_network,
			:ip => "",	# choose your own!
			:libvirt__network_name => "default"	# leave it

	# Provider-specific configuration
	config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|
		libvirt.driver = "qemu"
		# leave out host to connect directly with qemu:///system = "localhost"
		libvirt.connect_via_ssh = false		# also needed
		libvirt.username = "root"
		libvirt.storage_pool_name = "default"

	# Enable provisioning with Puppet. You might want to use the agent!
	config.vm.provision :puppet do |puppet|
		puppet.module_path = "modules"
		puppet.manifests_path = "manifests"
		puppet.manifest_file = "site.pp"
		# custom fact
		puppet.facter = {
			"vagrant" => "1",

A few caveats:

  • The :libvirt__network_name => "default" needs to always be specified. If you don’t specify it, or if you specify a different name, you’ll get an error:
    Call to virDomainCreateWithFlags failed: Network not found: no network with matching name 'default'
  • With this Vagrantfile, you’ll get an IP address from DHCP, and a static IP address from the :ip definition. If you attempt to disable DHCP with :libvirt__dhcp_enabled => false you’ll see errors:
    grep: /var/lib/libvirt/dnsmasq/*.leases: No such file or directory

    As a result, each machine will have two IP addresses.

  • Running vagrant up caused some errors when more than one machine is defined. This was caused by duplicate attempts to create the same network. To work around this, you can either start each virtual machine manually, or use the –no-parallel option when the network is first created:
    $ vagrant up --no-parallel
    <magic awesome happens here>


The most common commands you’ll need are:

  • vagrant init – initialize a directory
  • vagrant up [machine] – start/build/deploy a machine
  • vagrant ssh <machine> – connect to a machine
  • vagrant halt [machine] – stop the machine
  • vagrant destroy [machine] – remove/erase/purge the entire machine

I won’t go into further details here, because this information is well documented.

PolicyKit (polkit):

At this point you’re probably getting annoyed by having to repeatedly type your password to interact with your VM through libvirt. You’re probably seeing a dialog like this:


This should look familiar if you’ve used virt-manager before. When you open virt-manager, and it tries to connect to qemu:///system, PolicyKit does the right thing and ensures that you’re allowed to get access to the resource first! The annoying part is that you get repeatedly prompted when you’re using Vagrant, because it is constantly opening up and closing new connections. If you’re comfortable allowing this permanently, you can add a policy file:

[Allow james libvirt management permissions]

Create this file (you’ll need root) as:


and then shouldn’t experience any more prompts when you try to manage libvirt! You’ll obviously want to replace the james string with whatever user account you’re using. For more information on the format of this file, and to learn other ways to do this read the pkla documentation.

If you want to avoid PolicyKit, you can connect to libvirtd over SSH, however I don’t have sshd running on my laptop, and I wanted to connect directly. The default vagrant-libvirt example demonstrates this method.


Provisioning machines without configuration management wouldn’t be very useful. Thankfully, Vagrant integrates nicely with Puppet. The documentation on this is fairly straightforward, so I won’t cover this part. I show a simple Puppet deployment in my Vagrantfile above, but a more complex setup involving puppet agent and puppetmasterd is possible too.


Hopefully this makes it easier for you to hack in GNU/Linux land. I look forward to seeing this supported natively in Fedora, but until then, hopefully I’ve helped out with the heavy lifting.

Happy hacking!


Clustering virtual machines with rgmanager and clusvcadm

This could be a post detailing how to host clustered virtual machines with rgmanager and clusvcadm, but that is a longer story and there is much work to do. For now, I will give you a short version including an informative “gotcha”.

With my cluster up and running, I added a virtual machine entry to my cluster.conf:

<vm name="test1" domain="somedomain" path="/shared/vm/" autostart="0" exclusive="0" recovery="restart" use_virsh="1" />

This goes inside the <rm> block. As a benchmark, please note that starting the machine with virsh worked perfectly:

[root@server1 ~]# virsh create /shared/vm/test1.xml --console
(...The operation worked perfectly!)

However, when I attempted to use the cluster aware tools, all I got was failure:

[root@server1 ~]# clusvcadm -e 'vm:test1' -m server1
Member server1 trying to enable vm:test1...Failure

Whenever I think I’ve done everything right, but something is still not working, I first check to see if I can blame someone else. Usually that someone is selinux. Make no mistake, selinux is a good thing, however it does still cause me pain.

The first clue is to remember that /var/log/ contains other files besides “messages“. Running a tail on /var/log/audit/audit.log while simultaneously running the above clusvcadm command revealed:

type=AVC msg=audit(1357202069.310:10904): avc:  denied  { read } for  pid=15675 comm="virsh" name="test1.xml" dev=drbd0 ino=198628 scontext=unconfined_u:system_r:xm_t:s0 tcontext=unconfined_u:object_r:default_t:s0 tclass=file
type=SYSCALL msg=audit(1357202069.310:10904): arch=c000003e syscall=2 success=no exit=-13 a0=24259e0 a1=0 a2=7ffff03af0d0 a3=7ffff03aee10 items=0 ppid=15609 pid=15675 auid=0 uid=0 gid=0 euid=0 suid=0 fsuid=0 egid=0 sgid=0 fsgid=0 tty=(none) ses=1 comm="virsh" exe="/usr/bin/virsh" subj=unconfined_u:system_r:xm_t:s0 key=(null)

I am not a magician, but if I was, I would probably understand what all of that means. For now, let’s pretend that we do. Closer inspection (or grep) will reveal:

  • test1.xml” (the definition for the virtual machine)


  • “/usr/bin/virsh” (the command that I expect rgmanager’s /usr/share/cluster/ script to run)

A quick:

[root@server1 ~]# selinuxenabled && echo t || echo f

to confirm that selinux is auditing away, and a short:

[root@server1 ~]# /bin/echo 0 > /selinux/enforce

to temporarily test my theory, and:

[root@server1 ~]# clusvcadm -e 'vm:test1' -m server1
Member server1 trying to enable vm:test1...Success
vm:test1 is now running on server1

Presto change-o, the diagnosis is complete. This is a development system, and so for the time being, I will accept defeat and workaround this problem by turning selinux off, but this is most definitely the wrong solution. If you’re an selinux guru who knows the proper fix, please let me know! Until then,

Happy Hacking,