Oct 21, 2015

chef-base repo and workstation cookbook

A "chef-base" or "chef-repo" is a git repository which maps 1:1 to Chef organization hosted on the Chef server.  An organization in Chef server 12 is analogous to a single Chef server. Each of these "chef-base" Git repositories becomes the system of record for the global Chef objects (Environments, Roles, Data Bags) in a given organization.  This Git repository typically* does not contain cookbooks.

To setup chef-base a user should first create an empty git repository on VSO / GitHub / GitLab / etc..
It makes things slightly easier if none of the files are initialized, including readme and gitignore.

Next, user should execute "chef generate repo <name of github repo>" command. This will generate the skeleton for the repo.
The resulting skeleton folder should be pushed it its entirety to git repo.

Workstation cookbook

* One exception to not having cookbooks in chef-base is the workstation cookbook. 
The workstation cookbook is a shared cookbook for anyone using chef in an organization and provides a standardized way to work with chef. It also allows rapid on-boarding of new team members and ability to safely experiment with a new tools. 
It works well in Vagrant, but there is a major limitation, you can't run Test Kitchen inside a Vagrant. For best results, encourage teams to leverage internal or external cloud VM, where kitchen runs will create additional VMs in the same cloud.
A Vagrantfile can be placed in the root of the cookbook. This vagrant file has a couple of purposes:
  • responsible for creating / destroying the workstation VM
  • kicking off chef-client run
  • easy access into the box via vagrant login
  • mounting the local chef-base as a folder in a VM
.gitignore file should be modified to exclude all cookbooks with exception of the workstation cookbook.

Places to learn more:
<add yours here> or in the comments.

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