Table Of Contents

All about Chef ...

Chef is a systems and cloud infrastructure automation framework that makes it easy to deploy servers and applications to any physical, virtual, or cloud location, no matter the size of the infrastructure. Each organization is comprised of one (or more) workstations, a single server, and every node that will be configured and maintained by the chef-client. Cookbooks (and recipes) are used to tell the chef-client how each node in your organization should be configured. The chef-client (which is installed on every node) does the actual configuration.

The Community

The community is one of the best features of Chef because it is populated by all of the people who use Chef. This also means that the community is a great place to bounce ideas around, ask questions, and to find ways to help make Chef better.

Workflow: Berkshelf | Librarian | Spiceweasel

Development tools: Kitchen | Foodcritic | cucumber-chef | chef-workflow | ChefSpec | yard-chef | Supermarket | Jenkins Plugin | chef-zero

Discussion: Guidelines | | Food Fight Show

Books about Chef: Test-Driven Infrastructure with Chef, 2nd Edition | Instant Chef Starter | Chef Infrastructure Automation Cookbook | Learning Chef (A Guide to Configuration Management and Automation) [O’Reilly] | Customizing Chef (Getting the Most Out of Your Infrastructure Automation) | Learning Chef [Packt Publishing] | Chef Essentials | Managing Windows Servers with Chef

Plugins: chef-client | Knife | Ohai | Handlers | Ridley

Chef for OpenStack: Overview | knife-openstack

Contributions: Contribute to Chef | Contribute to the Documentation | Send Feedback to chef-docs | Style Guide

The Workstation

The Basics: About the Workstation | The chef-repo | Knife | Debug Recipes

Install: Install the chef-client on a Workstation | Bootstrap a Node | Create and Sync the chef-repo

Knife: About Knife | Common Options | Working with KnifeCommands: bootstrap | client | configure | cookbook | cookbook site | data bag | delete | deps | diff | download | edit | environment | exec | list | node | raw | recipe list | role | search | serve | show | ssh | ssl check | ssl fetch | status | tag | upload | user | xargsSingle Page: Knife Reference | Knife Quick Reference (image)

Plugins: About Plugins | Common Options | Custom Plugins | Authenticated RequestsCommands: azure | bluebox | ec2 | eucalyptus | google | hp | linode | openstack | rackspace | terremark | windows

Settings: knife.rb | metadata.rb

Tools: chef-shell (executable) | chef-apply (executable)

Chef DK

The Chef development kit defines a common workflow for cookbook development, including unit and integration testing, identifying lint-like behavior, dedicated tooling, and more:

Install: Install the chef-dk

Components: Kitchen | ChefSpec | Foodcritic | Berkshelf | chef-vault

Tools: kitchen (executable) | chef (executable)

Settings: kitchen.yml

The Chef Server

The Chef server acts as a hub for configuration data. The Chef server stores cookbooks, the policies that are applied to nodes, and metadata that describes each registered node that is being managed by the chef-client. Nodes use the chef-client to ask the Chef server for configuration details, such as recipes, templates, and file distributions. The chef-client then does as much of the configuration work as possible on the nodes themselves (and not on the Chef server). This scalable approach distributes the configuration effort throughout the organization.


Chef server 12 is the new Chef server! The documentation for Open Source Chef and Enterprise Chef is still available.

Install Scenarios: Installs | Upgrades

Features: Chef Manage | Reporting | Push Jobs | Chef Analytics | Replication | High Availability

Manage Server: Runbook (all manage tasks in a single topic) — Shorter topics: Backup and Restore | Firewalls and Ports | High Availability | Logs | Active Directory and LDAP | Monitor | Organizations, Groups, and Users | Replication | Security | Services | Server Tuning

Chef Manage Webui: Clients | Cookbooks | Data Bags | Environments | Nodes | Reports | Roles

Settings and Tools: chef-server.rb | chef-server-ctl | manage.rb | chef-sync.rb | chef-sync-ctl | opscode-expander-ctl | opscode-reporting-ctl

APIs: Chef Server API | Cookbooks Site API | Push Jobs API

Server Essentials

The server acts as a repository for all of the data that may be needed by the chef-client while it configures a node:

Chef Analytics

Chef Analytics is an add-on for the Chef server that provides visibility into what is happening on the server. It runs on separate hardware from the Chef server and consists of several components, initially built around Chef Actions.

Install Chef Analytics: Install Chef Analytics

Settings and Tools: Web user interface | opscode-analytics.rb | opscode-analytics-ctl


The Basics: About Cookbooks | About Recipes | About Attribute Files | Handlers | Popular Cookbooks

Custom Resources: About Custom Resources | Lightweight Resources | Lightweight Providers w/Chef Resources | Lightweight Providers w/Custom Ruby

Other Cookbook Components: About Definitions | About Files | About Libraries | About Cookbook Metadata | About Templates | About Versions

The Recipe DSL: About the Recipe DSLMethods: attribute? | cookbook_name | data_bag | data_bag_item | platform? | platform_family? | recipe_name | registry_data_exists? | registry_get_subkeys | registry_get_values | registry_has_subkeys? | registry_key_exists? | registry_value_exists? | resources | search | tag | tagged? | untag | value_for_platform | value_for_platform_family | Windows Platform Helper MethodsSingle Page: Recipe DSL

Resources: About Resources | Common FunctionalityResources: apt_package | bash | batch | breakpoint | chef_gem | chef_handler | cookbook_file | cron | deploy | directory | dpkg_package | dsc_script | easy_install_package | env | erl_call | execute | file | gem_package | git | group | http_request | ifconfig | link | log | mdadm | mount | ohai | package | powershell_script | registry_key | remote_directory | remote_file | route | rpm_package | ruby_block | script | service | subversion | template | user | yum_package | windows_packageSingle Page: Resources and Providers

Community Resources (LWRPs): About LWRPs | Chef-maintained Cookbooks | Supermarket