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The managed-chef-server cookbook has been deprecated

Author provided reason for deprecation:

The managed-chef-server cookbook has been deprecated and is no longer being maintained by its authors. Use of the managed-chef-server cookbook is no longer recommended.

You may find that the managed_chef_server cookbook is a suitable alternative.


managed-chef-server (5) Versions 0.12.0

Installs and configures a Chef server

cookbook 'managed-chef-server', '= 0.12.0', :supermarket
cookbook 'managed-chef-server', '= 0.12.0'
knife supermarket install managed-chef-server
knife supermarket download managed-chef-server
Quality 33%


Deploys and configures the Chef server in a relatively stateless model.



Install or restore the Chef Server in a new deployment, wrapping the Chef-Server cookbook. It looks for the existence of a knife-ec-backup tarball to restore from, configured with the node['mcs']['restore']['file'] attribute. It then creates a managed Chef organization and an org-managing admin user through the appropriate [attributes](attributes/default.rb#23).


Runs knife ec backup via cron. The default is 2:30am daily, but you may change the cron schedule via the following attributes.

node['mcs']['backup']['cron']['minute'] = '30'
node['mcs']['backup']['cron']['hour'] = '2'
node['mcs']['backup']['cron']['day'] = '*'


Installs the Chef server with the Chef client configured to run via cron. This may be set to use --local-mode, for when the Chef client has no other Chef server to contact. See the example [policyfiles/cron.rb](policyfile/cron.rb) and [kitchen.yml](kitchen.yml) for reference.


The node['mcs']['data_bags']['dir'] is compared against the existing data bags and creates and/or updates them as necessary. If the node['mcs']['data_bags']['prune'] attribute is true then the data bags and their items are deleted as necessary.


Takes the node['mcs']['cookbooks']['dir'], node['mcs']['environments']['dir'] and node['mcs']['roles']['dir'] directories and loads whatever content is found into the local Chef server. If you want to use the same directory for the roles and environments the recipe can distinguish between JSON files. The cookbooks are expected to be tarballs in a directory, they will all be attempted to load via their Berksfile or with knife. For legacy cookbooks with multiple dependencies it may take multiple runs to load everything.


Takes the node['mcs']['policyfile']['dir'] and parses any .lock.json files to determine which policyfile archives to load into the local Chef server. Policies will be assigned to the group designated by the node['mcs']['policyfile']['group'] attribute for the Chef server (_default is the default). If the policy itself sets the node['mcs']['policyfile']['group'] attribute, the policy will be assigned to that group.


There is a [kitchen.yml](kitchen.yml) that may be used for testing with Vagrant. The [kitchen.vagrant.yml](kitchen.vagrant.yml) may be symlinked as kitchen.local.yml and used with local caches to speed up testing. If you want to use Docker, [kitchen.dokken.yml](kitchen.dokken.yml) may be used but it does not persist changes between runs and is thus not significantly faster (it's slower than Vagrant with caching). The following Suites map to example [policyfiles](policyfiles) that may be repurposed as necessary:


Tests simple installation and creation of the managed Chef user and organization.


Restores the Chef server from a backup with policyfiles. kitchen verify restore ensures the policyfiles were restored properly.


Checks the chef-client is in the crontab


Checks the backup script is in the crontab and backup directories are available.


Adds loading data bags from the included [test](test) directory. It restores from a previous data bag backup to ensure pruning and updating work.


Adds loading policyfiles from the included [test](test) directory.


Adds loading cookbooks, environments and roles from the included [test](test) directory.


Installs the Chef server, restores from a backup, attempts to load policyfiles (which are included in the restored backup) and adds backup via cron.


The [default.rb](attributes/default.rb) attributes file documents available settings and tunings.

License and Authors

  • Author: Matt Ray
  • Copyright 2018-2019, Chef Software, Inc
Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.

Dependent cookbooks

chef-server ~> 5.5.2
chef-ingredient ~> 3.1.1

Contingent cookbooks

There are no cookbooks that are contingent upon this one.

managed-chef-server CHANGELOG

This file is used to list changes made in each version of the managed-chef-server cookbook.


  • Initial release.
  • Installation and recovery of Chef server.
  • Creation of managed organization and user for managing the server.
  • Skeleton of tests.


  • cookstyle cleanups
  • example policyfiles for testing
  • policyfile_loader recipe


  • restore from backup works
  • Chef 13.8.5 testing


  • switch to config.rb from knife.rb


  • refactor policyfiles for more straightforward testing
  • backup scheduled via cron and attributes
  • cron recipe for managing the chef-server with the chef-client under cron, with or without a policyfile archive


  • legacy loader for cookbooks, environments, roles
  • nginx as non-root (@chrisg-fastlane)


  • legacy loader recipe supports Berkshelf
  • fix some issues with the restore for the managed user


  • legacy loader skip an empty cookbook list


  • policyfile_loader now puts policyfiles in a _default policygroup as defined by an attribute.


  • data_bag_loader recipe and tests





  • Added support for policyfiles to set their policy group by setting the ['mcs']['policyfile']['group'] attribute


  • Skip existing policies to speed up loading
  • remove chefdk cookbook dependency in favor of directly using chef_ingredient


  • Added private performance tuning recipe [_tuning.rb](recipes/_tuning.rb)



maintenance recipe

Maintaining the Chef server may involve periodically cleaning up stale nodes and unused policies. This is likely to use knife-tidy and various chef commands. Scheduling and implementation TBD.

Collaborator Number Metric

0.12.0 failed this metric

Failure: Cookbook has 0 collaborators. A cookbook must have at least 2 collaborators to pass this metric.

Contributing File Metric

0.12.0 failed this metric

Failure: To pass this metric, your cookbook metadata must include a source url, the source url must be in the form of, and your repo must contain a file

Foodcritic Metric

0.12.0 passed this metric

No Binaries Metric

0.12.0 passed this metric

Testing File Metric

0.12.0 failed this metric

Failure: To pass this metric, your cookbook metadata must include a source url, the source url must be in the form of, and your repo must contain a file

Version Tag Metric

0.12.0 failed this metric

Failure: To pass this metric, your cookbook metadata must include a source url, the source url must be in the form of, and your repo must include a tag that matches this cookbook version number