»Build a VirtualBox Image with Packer in TeamCity

This guide walks through the process of building a VirtualBox image using Packer on a new TeamCity Agent. Before getting started you should have access to a TeamCity Server.

The Packer VirtualBox builder requires access to VirtualBox. Virtualization is not universally supported on cloud instances, so we recommend you run these builds on either a bare metal server, or cloud instances which support nested virtualization, such as Azure or GCP. This is also true for the VMWare and the QEMU Packer builders.

We will use Chef's Bento boxes to provision an Ubuntu image on VirtualBox. For this example, we will use the repository directly, but you may also fork it for the same results.

»1. Provision a Bare-metal Machine

For the purposes of this example, we will run on a bare-metal instance from Packet. If you are a first time user of Packet, the Packet team has provided HashiCorp the coupon code hashi25 which you can use for $25 off to test out this guide and up to 30% if you decide to reserve ongoing servers (email help@packet.net for details). You can use a baremetal_0 server type for testing, but for regular use, the baremetal_1 instance may be a better option.

There is also a Packet Provider in Terraform you can use to provision the project and instance.

provider "packet" { }

resource "packet_project" "teamcity_agents" {
  name = "TeamCity"

resource "packet_device" "agent" {
  hostname         = "teamcity-agent"
  plan             = "baremetal_0"
  facility         = "ams1"
  operating_system = "ubuntu_16_04"
  billing_cycle    = "hourly"
  project_id       = "${packet_project.teamcity_project.id}"

»2. Install VirtualBox and TeamCity dependencies

VirtualBox must be installed on the new instance, and TeamCity requires the JDK prior to installation. This guide uses Ubuntu as the Linux distribution, so you may need to adjust these commands for your distribution of choice.

Install Teamcity Dependencies

$ apt-get upgrade
$ apt-get install -y zip linux-headers-generic linux-headers-4.13.0-16-generic build-essential openjdk-8-jdk

Install VirtualBox

$ curl -OL "https://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/5.2.2/virtualbox-5.2_5.2.2-119230~Ubuntu~xenial_amd64.deb"
$ dpkg -i virtualbox-5.2_5.2.2-119230~Ubuntu~xenial_amd64.deb

You can also use the remote-exec provisioner in your Terraform configuration to automatically run these commands when provisioning the new instance.

»3. Install Packer

The TeamCity Agent machine will also need Packer Installed. You can find the latest download link from the Packer Download page.

$ curl -OL "https://releases.hashicorp.com/packer/1.1.2/packer_1.1.2_linux_amd64.zip"
$ unzip ./packer_1.1.2_linux_amd64.zip

Packer is installed at the /root/packer path which is used in subsequent steps. If it is installed elsewhere, take note of the path.

»4. Install TeamCity Agent

This guide assume you already have a running instance of TeamCity Server. The new TeamCity Agent can be installed by downloading a zip file and installing manually, or using Agent Push. Once it is installed it should appear in TeamCity as a new Agent.

Create a new Agent Pool for agents responsible for VirtualBox Packer builds and assign the new Agent to it.

»5. Create a New Build in TeamCity

In TeamCity Server, create a new build. To use the upstream Bento repository, we'll choose From a repository URL, and enter https://github.com/chef/bento.git as the Repository URL.

TeamCity screenshot: New Build

Click Proceed.

TeamCity screenshot: New Build

And Proceed again.

We won't use the Auto-detected Build Steps. Instead, click configure build steps manually. For the runner type, pick Command Line, and enter the following values. Make sure to click Show advanced options, as we need to set the working directory.

TeamCity screenshot: Build Step

This will use the build command in Packer to build the image defined in ubuntu/ubuntu-16.04-amd64.json. It assumes that the VCS repository you're using is a fork of Chef/Bento. Packer defaults to building VirtualBox machines by launching a GUI that shows the console. Since this will run in CI/CD, use the headless variable to instruct Packer to start the machine without the console. Packer can build multiple image types, so the -only=virtualbox-iso option instructs Packer to only build the builds with the name virtualbox-iso.

»6. Run a build in TeamCity

The entire configuration is ready for a new build. Start a new run in TeamCity by pressing “Run”.

The new run should be triggered and the virtual box image will be built.

TeamCity screenshot: Build log

Once complete, the build status should be updated to complete and successful.

TeamCity screenshot: Build log complete