Book Image

HashiCorp Packer in Production

By : John Boero
Book Image

HashiCorp Packer in Production

By: John Boero

Overview of this book

Creating machine images can be time-consuming and error-prone when done manually. HashiCorp Packer enables you to automate this process by defining the configuration in a simple, declarative syntax. This configuration is then used to create machine images for multiple environments and cloud providers. The book begins by showing you how to create your first manifest while helping you understand the available components. You’ll then configure the most common built-in builder options for Packer and use runtime provisioners to reconfigure a source image for desired tasks. You’ll also learn how to control logging for troubleshooting errors in complex builds and explore monitoring options for multiple logs at once. As you advance, you’ll build on your initial manifest for a local application that’ll easily migrate to another builder or cloud. The chapters also help you get to grips with basic container image options in different formats while scaling large builds in production. Finally, you’ll develop a life cycle and retention policy for images, automate packer builds, and protect your production environment from nefarious plugins. By the end of this book, you’ll be equipped to smoothen collaboration and reduce the risk of errors by creating machine images consistently and automatically based on your defined configuration.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Part 1: Packer’s Beginnings
Part 2: Managing Large Environments
Part 3: Advanced Customized Packer

Alternatives to Packer

Image management has been a challenge for years. Packer is certainly not the first tool to address these difficulties. Tools such as Solaris JumpStart or Red Hat Kickstart have been used to codify VM installation. These can be used in conjunction with Packer to build uniform images across platforms. Packer may use a kickstart to deploy a Linux platform from standard media but then use provisioners to deploy tooling identically across Linux and Windows environments. Docker Compose and Buildah are also modern tools for building specialized container images. Often, specialized community tools such as this can supplement Packer while letting Packer provide a more general-purpose building tool to bring complex mixed environments into one single template. Red Hat Enterprise Linux users have the option of leveraging Red Hat Satellite for platform standardization using a combination of Kickstart, Cobbler, and Puppet.

Historically, simple scripting has been used for early infrastructure as code strategies. If configuration can be scripted, it can be version controlled and used to build and test images captured with either virtualization tools or image tooling such as Norton Ghost.