Vagrant is a tool for building complete development environments, sandboxed in a virtual machine. It helps enforce good practices by encouraging the use of automation so that development environments are as close to production as possible.
Vagrant allows developers to use their preferred tools and operating system for development regardless of the deployment configuration. It also ensures new developers are able to get up and running in an identical environment as their colleagues. Furthermore, since all developers are working in the same environment, with the same dependencies and configurations there are no longer any cases of "works on my machine".
…for operations engineers
Vagrant provides a disposable environment and consistent workflow for developing and testing infrastructure management scripts. It provides an environment for quickly testing shell scripts, Chef cookbooks and Puppet modules. Once tested these same scripts can be used to configure machines in production environments both on and off premise.
Designers can use Vagrant to ensure that their web application environment is the same as the developers without having to track changes in the dev environment.
The preface to the book "Vagrant: Up and Running" discusses Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) loop originally described by John Boyd. The idea of the OODA loop is that to be successful one needs to react and respond to change more quickly than everyone else.
Vagrant is a tool that allows you to manage your software development environments in such a way as to tighten their OODA Loop and thus enable faster reactions to a changing environment.
Windows and Azure Plugins
There are many plugins available. Microsoft Open Technologies have created a Windows Hyper-V provider which provides windows guest support for the Hyper-V provider included in Vagrant 1.5.0 and later.
We also provide a Vagrant Azure plugin which allows users to control and provision machines in Microsoft Azure.