Speed-up your Vagrant environment for Symfony2

This is my first post in english and probably not the last one for this new year. First of all, I’m really happy to say that I’ve joined the awesome KNP Labs team! I’ve just met all these cool guys during a hackathon in the north of France. It was a really nice experience.

On this post I want to share with you some tips about Symfony2 development on a Virtual Machine. I know that Docker is really trendy and cool nowadays and we used it a lot during the KNP hackathon but for project virtualization I’m still using Vagrant for now because it’s a stable solution, multi-platform and easy to provision.

There was a lot of articles about how to optimize your Vagrant environment, especially for Symfony2. Some of them date back to 2013:

And one more recent:

All these articles point the slow filesystem performance of shared folders in Virtual Machines, but the related techniques/tips to boost performance have a big drawback to me. You need to modify the source files of your project…

They advice to update the composer.json file, or even the autoload.php, AppKernel.php. And the idea is to move some directories, like vendor/ or app/{cache,logs}, outside of the shared folder to prevent too much I/O. I don’t really like this technique because it makes your code coupled to Vagrant, and in my opinion Vagrant is only a development platform for your project, it should not be required to adapt your code to this platform.

A better way should be to add some symbolic links of these folders to a destination inside of the Virtual Machine.

Hopefully there’s a Vagrant plugin that handle this kind of problem. His name is vagrant-cachier. This plugin creates some “cache buckets” that you can use in the Virtual Machine and they are also symlinked to the host machine. Initially this plugin was created to share some folders between Virtual Machines, especially for packages in common (like APT packages or Ruby, npm, etc.). But you can use it for any kind of packages or files, so it can be used for cache, logs and vendors files of Symfony2!

Finally, it speeds-up the Virtual Machine performance through symbolic links, and you can also access to these files from your host machine. It can be very useful for your text editor or your IDE to be able to access all the vendor files :-)

The plugin installation process is very easy (make sure you have Vagrant 1.4+):

$ vagrant plugin install vagrant-cachier

You can see below a configuration example for Vagrant and with the vagrant-cachier plugin configured for Symfony2 with vendor/ or app/{cache,logs} folders into cache buckets.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  # Configure the box
  config.vm.box = "your-box"

  # Example of shared folder
  config.vm.synced_folder ".", "/var/www", id: "application", :nfs => true

  # ...

  if Vagrant.has_plugin?("vagrant-cachier")
    config.cache.scope = :machine

    config.cache.synced_folder_opts = {
      type: :nfs,
      mount_options: ['rw', 'vers=3', 'tcp', 'nolock']

    config.cache.enable :generic, {
      "cache"  => { cache_dir: "/var/www/app/cache" },
      "logs"   => { cache_dir: "/var/www/app/logs" },
      "vendor" => { cache_dir: "/var/www/vendor" },

I hope this Vagrant tip could help ;-)