Creating a Base Box

As with every Vagrant provider, the Vagrant Hyper-V provider has a custom box format that affects how base boxes are made.

Prior to reading this, you should read the general guide to creating base boxes. Actually, it would probably be most useful to keep this open in a separate tab as you may be referencing it frequently while creating a base box. That page contains important information about common software to install on the box.

Additionally, it is helpful to understand the basics of the box file format.

Advanced topic! This is a reasonably advanced topic that a beginning user of Vagrant does not need to understand. If you are just getting started with Vagrant, skip this and use an available box. If you are an experienced user of Vagrant and want to create your own custom boxes, this is for you.

Additional Software

In addition to the software that should be installed based on the general guide to creating base boxes, Hyper-V base boxes require some additional software.

Hyper-V Kernel Modules

You will need to install Hyper-V kernel modules. While this improves performance, it also enables necessary features such as reporting its IP address so that Vagrant can access it.

You can verify Hyper-V kernel modules are properly installed by running lsmod on Linux machines and looking for modules prefixed with hv_. Additionally, you will need to verify that the "Network" tab for your virtual machine in the Hyper-V manager is reporting an IP address. If it is not reporting an IP address, Vagrant will not be able to access it.

For most newer Linux distributions, the Hyper-V modules will be available out of the box.

Ubuntu 12.04 requires some special steps to make networking work. These are reproduced here in case similar steps are needed with other distributions. Without these commands, Ubuntu 12.04 will not report an IP address to Hyper-V:

$ sudo apt-get install linux-tools-3.11.0-15-generic
$ sudo apt-get install hv-kvp-daemon-init
$ sudo cp /usr/lib/linux-tools/3.11.0-15/hv_* /usr/sbin/

Packaging the Box

To package a Hyper-V box, export the virtual machine from the Hyper-V Manager using the "Export" feature. This will create a directory with a structure similar to the following:

|-- Snapshots
|-- Virtual Hard drives
|-- Virtual Machines

Delete the "Snapshots" folder. It is of no use to the Vagrant Hyper-V provider and can only add to the size of the box if there are snapshots in that folder.

Then, create the "metadata.json" file necessary for the box, as documented in basics of the box file format. The proper provider value to use for the metadata is "hyperv".

Finally, create an archive of those contents (but not the parent folder) using a tool such as tar:

$ tar cvzf ~/custom.box ./*

A common mistake is to also package the parent folder by accident. Vagrant will not work in this case. To verify you've packaged it properly, add the box to Vagrant and try to bring up the machine.

Additional Help

There is also some less structured help available from the experience of other users. These are not official documentation but if you are running into trouble they may help you:

© 2010–2017 Mitchell Hashimoto
Licensed under the MPL 2.0 License.