Vagrant is a tool for creating virtual development environments, allowing programmers to test and tweak software as they write it. The platform began as an open source project three years ago and in November 2012 morphed into a commercial endeavor under the auspices of HashiCorp.
As of last week, Canonical began offering cloud images with Vagrant preinstalled. Based on the generic Ubuntu Cloud Images, the Vagrant images are available for free downloads, and make deploying Vagrant environments in the cloud easier than ever
What makes the inclusion of Vagrant images within the official Ubuntu cloud library interesting is that Vagrant is based on VirtualBox. That's an interesting choice given that more enterprise-focused virtualization hypervisors, such as VMware and KVM, traditionally have predominated among developers, especially within the cloud.
To be clear, this doesn't mean VirtualBox will serve as the hypervisor for deploying the Vagrant images themselves. It simply lives inside them. Still, this move increases VirtualBox's profile within the Ubuntu cloud space while also, Canonical presumably hopes, helping to attract new segments of the developer community to the set of tools offered by the Ubuntu Cloud Images.
Of course, Vagrant deployment isn't limited to the cloud. It can also run on Windows, OS X and Linux as a standalone application. But for programmers interested in taking advantage of the scalability and flexibility of the cloud for writing code, the Vagrant cloud image will make development easier.
For Canonical, this is the latest move in a string of efforts to attract developers to Ubuntu. From the Ubuntu development portal to the "developer advocate" position at Canonical to pledges to put Ubuntu on the "App Development Map," engaging programmers from all segments of the developer community has been a central goal of Canonical for some time. The Vagrant images represent one more step on that path, and one which caters to cloud-oriented developers in particular.