Chef-Resources Elementary ingredient..



Resources are the “elementary ingredient” of Chef house. Before mounting up on the spikes of chef’s elevations, it’s favorable to tailor your suit with basics. Combining common ingredients to make a new play substance is always thrilling!. I wish I had some magic secrets or shortcuts to share, but the truth is that you have to start with the ABC’s and then you can rule over the game.



Trigger a VM

Git clone our repository dedicated for this blog series.



Change directory to Chef/centos/chefResourceBackings. Here you find a Vagrantfile which spin up a centos7 machine with chefdk and other tools installed in it.

$ cat Vagrantfile

Launch a new vagrant machine and login.

$ vagrant up

$ vagrant ssh
Your learning environment is ready. Although in this blog we do not focus a lot on practicals, we try to clear our theoretical concepts.


Backings of Resources

Chef resources are the statements which define the configuration approach for any element. From the officials of chef, resources are


  • Describes the desired state for a configuration item
  • Declares the steps needed to bring that item to the desired state
  • Specifies a resource type—such as package, template, or service
  • Lists additional details (also known as resource properties), as necessary
  • Are grouped into recipes, which describe working configurations


Chef works with two basic parts, properties and actions.


Properties are the attributes and definitions for the target element of any resources. Some common properties for all resources without exception.


What to do when a resource is fail in its doings i.e. continue or stop. Default value is false or stop.


This is an optional property. You can explicitly define the correct provider for a resource. In common practices this is not mandatory to specified.


Number of attempts that a resource tries in chef-run. Default value is 0.


Time duration between two consecutive tries. Default value is 2.


This defines that the data in resource is sensitive and is not logged by chef-client. Default value is false. This property only applies to the execute, file and template resources.



Actions differ for distinct resources. A common action for every resource is :nothing. Nothing action stated that resource should not do anything until it is notified by any other resource.

Some Basic Resources

Lets took example of some of the basic resources.
  • Package
This resource manage packages. This install, uninstall and upgrade any package. This resource is also a platform for some other dependent package management resources such as apt_package, dpkg_package, gem_package, yum_package etc. Available actions are :install, :purge, :remove, :upgrade and :nothing.


package ‘tar’ do
 version ‘1.26-29.el7’
 action :install
package ‘tar’ do
 action :remove
  • File
This is responsible to manage files on a machine. Available actions are :create, :create_if_missing, :delete, :nothing and :touch.




file ‘/tmp/test.txt’ do
 content ‘This is testing file.’
 mode ‘0755’
 owner ‘root’
 group ‘root’


file ‘/tmp/test2.txt’ do
 action :create
This will create a test.txt file under /tmp directory and put the contents of string.txt file into it.


  • Service


Subjected to manage services. Available actions are :disable, :enable, :nothing, :reload, :restart, :start and :stop.


service ‘nginx’  do
 action :start



service ‘nginx’ do
 supports :status => true, :restart => true, :reload => true
 action [ :enable, :start ]
This will ensure enable then start options for nginx service. Before this, install nginx using package resource.
  • Template
This resource calls chef templates to dynamically generate static files. Templates are “.erb” files with some variables and placed under “/templates” directory of cookbook. Available actions are  :create, :create_if_missing, :delete, :nothing and :touch.  Template resource only available with cookbooks, you can not use this resource with chef-apply from command line.


template ‘/tmp/sshd_config’ do
 source ‘sshd_config.erb’
 owner ‘root’
 group ‘root’
 mode ‘0755’


template ‘/tmp/config.conf’ do
 source ‘config.conf.erb’
   :config_var => ‘mytext’
This will pass variables to config.conf.erb file to generate config.conf file.

Extended Resource

Have some attention towards less likely used but important resources.
  • Git

This resource manages git repository by interacting with source code management system. Git version 1.6.5 (or higher) is required. Available actions are :checkout, :export, :nothing and :sync.



git ‘/opt/mygit/’ do
 repository ‘’
 revision ‘master’
 action :sync
  • Link

Resource is responsible to manage soft and hard links. Available actions are :create, :delete and :nothing.


link ‘/tmp/myfile’ do
 to ‘/etc/ssh/sshd_config’


link ‘/tmp/myhardfile’ do
 to ‘/etc/ssh/sshd_config’
 link_type :hard
The default link_type is :symbolic.


  • Script

This resources is used to execute external script. The supported interpreters are Bash, csh, Perl, Python, or Ruby. Available actions are :run and :nothing.


script ‘extract_module’ do
 interpreter ‘bash’
 cwd ‘/tmp’
 code <<-EOH
   mkdir -p /tmp/mytest
   touch /tmp/mytest/file.txt
  • Cron


To manage your cron jobs use this resource. If a property is not specified then default ‘*’ value is taken. Available actions are :create, :delete and :nothing.


cron ‘noop’ do
 hour ‘5’
 minute ‘0’
 command ‘/bin/true’




cron ‘tuesdaycron’ do
 minute ’50’
 hour ’11’
 weekday ‘2’
 command ‘/bin/true’
 action :create
This will run the cron job only on tuesday 11:50am.


To test all resources available above, go to resource directory under “chefResourceBackings” directory.  All resources are available as bash script.

Custom Resources

It’s an extension of the initially available properties.  Chef allows you to create your own resources. These custom resources extend the basic definitions of the built-in resources. The custom resources resides in the “/resources” directory of any cookbook. Conventionally name of any custom resource is the name of cookbook and name of resource file separated by underscore (_).  Custom resource creation is not an initial task for us so we skip this for now.


This is difficult to cover all about the resource(every resource and their properties or actions) in this article. Refer to chef-resources for more information.


It’s hard to get this boring stuff exciting in any manner. But it’s a fact that every serious effort makes you closer towards the excellence.


“The Expert In Anything Was Once A Beginner. “
Wanna be an adroit of Chef then from now “practice like a devil play like an angel”.

Chef-Resources Easy as pie..


Resources are the basal element of chef’s heap. In all the functioning of chef, resources are in crux. These are a very first statement of any chef recipe or cookbook. In this blog we only intensify on the practical approach of  working with resources. This article will help you to compose a primitive awareness towards the execution of chef.

Pie Makes Everybody Happy!! L. H. Anderson


To follow this article you need a prior information about Git and Vagrant. This blog uses centos7   as platform.

Getting Started

Sooner, probably but it necessitous to talk about chef installation. For this and some of next blogs we use chef-standalone mode. Chef-standalone mode provides a basic learning environment for beginners. Chef-standalone mode allow you to configure a machine directly.
Chef cater a complete  package labeled as Chefdk (Chef Development Kit ). It encloses all the essential thing you need to start with chef.

Install Chefdk

Clone our git repo and spin up a vagrant box with it.

  • Go to chefResources directory. This directory contains a Vagrantfile, which can launch a centos7 vagrant machine with Chefdk and other essential tools installed.
$ cat Vagrantfile

  • Launch a new vagrant machine and login into it.
$ vagrant up

$ vagrant ssh

Your learning environment is ready. Let’s start with chef resources.


Lets took our first resource package. As in our blog series we go through a common problem statement of installing nginx and then setup nginx vhost. This time we are going to do this with chef resources only. Chef resource have basic two parts properties and action. We will discuss both of these in our next article. Till then we start playing with  chef resources.

  • Package resource
Package resource is used to manage packages. This is the base resource for other package management resources for different platforms.

    • Add nginx repo by installing epel-release.
$ sudo chef-apply -l info -e “package ‘epel-release'”

    • Install nginx using package resource
$ sudo chef-apply -l info -e “package ‘nginx'”

  • Directory resource
Directory resource is responsible to maintain the directory lane in target node.This resource have multiple attributes to classify the permissions, owner and group.

    • Create home directory for vhosts.
$ sudo chef-apply -l info -e “directory ‘/usr/share/nginx/blog'”
$ sudo chef-apply -l info -e “directory ‘/usr/share/nginx/chef'”

This will create two directories blog and chef under ‘/usr/share/nginx directory’.

  • File resource
This resource is answerable for the file management on the node. This resource holds mode, content, owner, group and path attributes with their respective meaning for a file.

    • Create index files for nginx vhosts.
$ sudo chef-apply -l info -e “file ‘/usr/share/nginx/blog/index.html’ do content ‘Hello from blog server’ end”

$ sudo chef-apply -l info -e “file ‘/usr/share/nginx/chef/index.html’ do content ‘Hello from chef server’ end”

File resource creates a index.html file under chef and blog directories with the respective content available in resource.   

    • Create  and into the /etc/nginx/conf.d directory with files available for this.
$ sudo chef-apply -l info -e “file ‘/etc/nginx/conf.d/’ do content‘/vagrant/resources/’) end”

$ sudo chef-apply -l info -e “file ‘/etc/nginx/conf.d/’ do content‘/vagrant/resources/’) end”

This file resource creates vhost configuration files for and This time file resource uses a ruby function to read the content of a sample file and paste them into target file.

  • Make entry in /etc/hosts
    • This is possible to make these entry with chef but it is a little complex for this time as we are not so proficient with chef. So we are doing this manually for now, but in our next article we will do this with chef.
$ sudo vim /etc/hosts

  • Service resource
Service resource is used to manage services. Use this resource to restart the nginx service.

    • Restart your nginx server to make changes effective.

$ sudo chef-apply  -e “service ‘nginx’ do action [:stop, :start] end”

This resource has two defied actions ie. stop and start which run in defined order to stop and then start nginx. You can use restart action of service resource but it is a good habit to use stop and start.

You can find all these resources in our git repo under “Chef/centos/chefResources/resources” directory. Just run the all “.sh” files to run our resources.

So now you start sensing the power of chef and also aware with the basics of resources. We will next come up with the theory behind the resources  and some new exciting examples in our blog.
The Good NEWS Is You’re The Pilot. Michael Altshuler
So stay great as Chef.

Snoopy + ELK : Exhibit sudo commands in Kibana Dashboard

Logging User Commands: Snoopy Logger

About Snoopy Logger

Snoopy logs all the commands that are ran by any user to a log file. This is helpful for auditing and keep an eye on user activities.

Automated Installation

For Automated Installation/Configuration of Snoopy we have created a Puppet module and Ansible Role.

Manual Installation

To install the latest STABLE version of Snoopy, use these commands:
rm -f
wget -O
chmod 755
./ stable


This is what typical Snoopy output looks like:
2015-02-11T19:05:10+00:00 labrat-1 snoopy[896]: [uid:0 sid:11679 tty:/dev/pts/2 cwd:/root filename:/usr/bin/cat]: cat /etc/fstab.BAK
2015-02-11T19:05:15+00:00 labrat-1 snoopy[896]: [uid:0 sid:11679 tty:/dev/pts/2 cwd:/root filename:/usr/bin/rm]: rm -f /etc/fstab.BAK
These are default output locations on various Linux distributions:

  • CentOS: /var/log/secure
  • Debian: /var/log/auth.log
  • Ubuntu: /var/log/auth.log
  • others: /var/log/messages (potentially, not necessarily)

For actual output destination check your syslog configuration.
Snoopy provides a configuration file “/etc/snoopy.ini” where you can configure snoopy to generate logs. By default snoopy logs only uid, but doesn’t logs username in logs, so we have to change configuration to get username in logs.You may also specify the log path where you want to generate the snoopy logs.
For getting username in logs edit “/etc/snoopy.ini” and under [snoopy] section add the following line:
message_format = “[username:%{username} uid:%{uid} sid:%{sid} tty:%{tty} cwd:%{cwd} filename:%{filename}]: %{cmdline}”
The output of logs is  shown below:
Feb 25 07:47:27 vagrant-ubuntu-trusty-64 snoopy[3163]: [username:root uid:0 sid:1828 tty:/dev/pts/0 cwd:/root filename:/usr/bin/vim]: vim /etc/snoopy.ini

Enable/Disable Snoopy

To enable snoopy, issue the following command:
To disable snoopy, issue the following command:

Using ELK to parse logs

Now that we have logs with suitable information we will write a grok pattern in logstash to parse these logs and generate required fields.
A sample grok pattern will be like this:

filter {

 if [type] == “snoopy” {
   grok {
     match => { “message” => “%{SYSLOGTIMESTAMP:date} %{HOSTNAME:hostname} %{WORD:logger}\[%{INT}\]\: \[%{WORD}\:%{USERNAME:username} %{DATA} %{DATA} %{DATA} %{WORD}\:%{DATA:cwd} %{DATA}\]\: %{GREEDYDATA:exe_command}” }
 if “_grokparsefailure” in [tags] {
   drop { }

Here we are generating these fields:
date: Timestamp at which log is generated
hostname: Name of host
logger: Name of logger which is generating logs in our case “snoopy”.
username: Name of user issuing the command
cwd: Absolute path of directory from where the command is executed
exe_command: Command that is executed by user with complete options

Place the above grok pattern in filter section of logstash configuration file which is at “/etc/logstash/conf.d/logstash.conf”. Also include logs from “/var/log/auth.log” to be shipped to logstash server from logstash agent at the client.

Creating Dashboard in Kibana

After that you can see these logs in kibana in “Discover” tab as shown in screenshot:


In the left sidebar you can see all the fields via which you can filter including the fields we set in our grok pattern.Now in the search bar you can search according to specific field and its value. For example to search logs for vagrant user and all sudo commands executed by it, you will write the following query in search bar:
username:vagrant AND exe_command:sudo*
Then from the left sidebar add the fields you want to see, for example add “username”, “exe_command” and “cwd”, which will result to a table as shown below:


Now save this search from the icon that is just adjacent to left bar with a suitable name. Then go to “Dashboard” menu and click on “plus” icon to add a dashboard. A screen will appear as shown:


Click on “Searches” tab and find your saved search and click over it. A resulting screen will appear which will be added to your dashboard as shown below:


Here you can view tabular data for the sudo commands executed by vagrant user. Similarly you can add more searches by clicking on “plus icon” and add it to the same dashboard.Now save this dashboard by clicking on the “save” icon adjacent to search bar with a suitable name.After that you can easily load this dashboard by clicking on “load” icon adjacent to search bar.

Snoopy : Get, Set and log

Recently we got a requirement to log each and every command executed by the users. Upon googling we found a tool that is  exclusively contrived to accomplish this ambition.

This tool was “Snoopy”. This is a open source project whose microscopic documentation is available at their github page:


You can find all installation and configuration doc at their github README.

Why snoopy?

We choose snoopy because it is a very lightweight  tool that is just built with the intention  of logging each and every command executed by user. It consists of only a tiny library which does all the logging.

Use cases:

1). Log each executed command by any user with its arguments
2). Configure the pattern of logs according to requirement using a simple configuration file
3). The logs generated by snoopy can be sent to a central logging server and then can be parsed to get useful information. For example: To get all sudo commands executed by a user.

About Snoopy:

Snoopy logger is a majestic utility which makes the admin work more effortless by providing a log of commands with its arguments executed via shell by any user. It comes with a configuration file “/etc/snoopy.ini” where you can configure how the logs are generated and the information in the logs you want to have.

Automating Snoopy                            installation/configuration:

We will make the procedure easy for installation and configuration of snoopy by creating puppet module and ansible role. We’ll soon be launching a puppet module and an ansible role for it.


Also we’ll showcase a useful example of snoopy logger with centralized logging using ELK.

Setup of Nginx Vhost



This is an ancient way of setting up Vhost with nginx. As  we have Chef to automate everything. But before a kickoff with automation using chef, it’s crucial to interpret our problem statement by dealing with it manually.
“Choose Older Eggs For Hard Cooking Maria Simmons”

Problem Statement

NGINX is a free, open-source, high-performance HTTP server. Install nginx manually using package manager, and configure virtual host for,


This exercise considers that you have a basic understanding of Git, and Vagrant. This blog deal with centos7.

Install Nginx

Clone our github repository and spin up a bare centos7 vagrant machine.
Go to nginxVhost directory.
$ cd  Chef/centos/nginxVhost
  • This directory have a Vagrantfile. Which can initiate a centos7 vagrant box with 512mb ram.
$ cat Vagrantfile
This file update and install some basic tools in your vagrant machine using vagrant shell provisioning.
  • Launch new vagrant machine and login into it via ssh.
$ vagrant up
$ vagrant ssh
  • Add nginx repo
As nginx is not available in default list of centos7, we add nginx repo to it.
$ sudo yum install -y epel-release
  • Install nginx
Install nginx using package manager “yum”.
$ sudo yum install -y nginx
  • Start nginx
Nginx do not start on its own. Type following to start it.
$ sudo service nginx start

Setup Vhost

Let’s go ahead with our problem statement of setting up vhost with nginx. This leads some dull steps to serve our webpages with and
  • Replace nginx.conf file with given nginx.conf file.
$ sudo cp /vagrant/nginx.conf /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
  • Copy and into the /etc/nginx/conf.d directory
$ sudo cp /vagrant/ /etc/nginx/conf.d/
$ sudo cp /vagrant/ /etc/nginx/conf.d/
  • Create home directory for vhost.
$ sudo mkdir /usr/share/nginx/blog
$ sudo mkdir /usr/share/nginx/chef
  • Create index files.
$ sudo su -c “echo \”Welcome, this is\” > /usr/share/nginx/blog/index.html”
$ sudo su -c “echo \”Welcome, this is\” > /usr/share/nginx/chef/index.html”
  • Make entry in /etc/hosts
$ sudo vim /etc/hosts
  • Restart nginx server
$ sudo service nginx restart
  • Access and test your  Vhost
$ curl
$ curl
You have done all the tiring stuff to set up Nginx Vhost. 
“Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.”
We understand your hard labor, so in next blog we go ahead to automate all the stuff.