Building VMs with packer

This guide describes how to set up your workstation to build VM images of IRIDA with packer.

General Requirements

You’re required to install a few different pieces of software on your machine before you can get started:

  1. packer (install guide:
  2. VirtualBox (install guide:

Building the VM

You can build the VM once you’ve got the prerequisites installed. From the packer/ directory in the root of the project folder, run:

packer build template.json

This will:

  1. Download a CentOS 7.1 ISO,
  2. Run an automated CentOS kickstart script in VirtualBox (VirtualBox should pop up on your screen),
  3. Install the VirtualBox tools,
  4. Run the customization scripts (importantly running and,
  5. Package the customized VirtualBox image as a VirtualBox appliance (found in packer/output-virtualbox-iso).

Using the VM

You can import the .ovf file in packer/output-virtualbox-iso into VirtualBox by double clicking it, or running something like:

cd output-virtualbox-iso
xdg-open packer-virtualbox-iso*.ovf


By default, the appliance is set up using NAT for networking. The appliance is configured to do port forwarding via localhost such that you can access IRIDA by navigating to http://localhost:48888/irida.

You can SSH into the virtual machine with:

ssh -p 42222 vagrant@localhost

The default password is vagrant.

You may also view the Galaxy interface at http://localhost:49999/. The default user accounts created in Galaxy are with password admin.

You may also change the machine to use bridged networking instead of NAT so that you can connect to the machine using an external IP address. Tomcat is configured to respond on port 80, so if you use bridged networking, you can navigate to http://{bridged-ip}/irida.

Log files

We’ve configured packer to build us an image of CentOS 7.1, which has migrated to systemd. Traditionally, tomcat logs are found at /var/log/tomcat/catalina.out, but you can’t find them there with systemd. Instead, you must use journalctl to inspect the logs of a service. To view tomcat logs, run:

sudo journalctl -u tomcat -f

You can view the Galaxy log files by running:

sudo docker logs -f galaxy