Chef Solo an Introduction


Chef Solo is simple way to begin working with Chef. It is an open source version of the chef-client that allows using cookbooks with nodes without requiring access to a server. Chef Solo runs locally and requires that a cookbook (and any of its dependencies) be on the same physical disk as the node. It is a limited-functionality version of the chef-client and does not support the following:

  • Node data storage
  • Search indexes
  • Centralized distribution of cookbooks
  • A centralized API that interacts with and integrates infrastructure components
  • Authentication or authorization
  • Persistent attributes  

Installing chef-client  (Pre-requisite : curl )
Login to your box and run the following command to install the chef. Make sure that curl program is available on your box.

 curl -L | bash  
To check if the installation was successful check the version of the installed chef-solo by:
 chef-solo -v  


Making Chef Repository
Next step is to setup a file structure that will help organize various Chef files. Opscode, the makers of Chef provide one sample structure. They call it simply the Chef Repository.

 tar zxf master 
 mv opscode-chef-repo-**** chef-repo/ 
Assign cookbook’s path to the newly created cookbook directory inside the Chef Repository which will hold the cookbook

  mkdir .chef  
  echo "cookbook_path ['/root/chef-repo/cookbooks' ]" > .chef/knife.rb   
  knife cookbook site download apt  
.Chef folder

For Chef Solo this directory generally contains only knife.rb file. A knife.rb file is used to specify the chef-repo-specific configuration details for Knife. This file is the default configuration file and is loaded every time this executable is run. The configuration file is located at: ~/.chef/knife.rb. If a
knife.rb file is present in the . chef/knife.rb directory in the chef-repo, the settings contained within that file will override the default configuration settings. Sample content of knife.rb file can be:
 cookbook_path [ '/root/chef-repo/cookbooks' ]  
 role_path [ '/root/chef-repo/roles' ]  
 environment_path [ ' /root/chef-repo/environments ' ]  
 data_bag_path [ ' /root/chef-repo/data_bags ' ]  
Getting Started with Chef Solo
Before we’re able to run Chef Solo on our servers, we will need to add two files to our local Chef repository: solo.rb and node.json.
The solo.rb file tells Chef Solo where to find the cookbooks, roles, and data bags.

The node.json file sets the run list (and any other node-specific attributes if required).

     Create a solo.rb file inside our Chef repository with the following contents:
       current_dir = File.expand_path(File.dirname(__FILE__))  
       file_cache_path "#{current_dir}"  
       cookbook_path "#{current_dir}/cookbooks"  
       role_path "#{current_dir}/roles"  
       data_bag_path "#{current_dir}/data_bags"  
      Create a file called node.json inside your Chef repository with the following contents:
            "run_list": [ "recipe[]" ]  

      In this example i am going to install apt cookbook and the recipe which i am going to use is apt and here is my solo.rb and node.json files looks like
      Our first Chef run  Goto chef-repo folder and execute following command

       chef-solo -c solo.rb -j node.json  

      How it works:

      1. solo.rb configures Chef Solo to look for its cookbooks, roles, and data bags   inside the current directory: the Chef repository.
           2. Chef Solo takes its node configuration from a JSON file, in our example we simply        called it node.json. If we’re going to manage multiple servers, we’ll need a separate    &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp file.
      1. Then, Chef Solo just executes a Chef run based on the configuration data found in
                 solo.rb and node.json

      Author: saurabhvajpayee

      Devops Engineer

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