Managing Chef Cookbooks the Berkshelf way


Chef cookbooks can become hard to handle; let’s talk about Berkshelf management tool

Chef is a configuration management tool written in Ruby. With Chef, you can build servers quickly and reliably using cookbooks (which are basically recipes, that can perform tasks like installing webservers, updating SSL’s, or configuring HA proxy servers). Cookbooks themselves can be managed through a tool called Berkshelf. If you noticed our title on your way in, you’ll know that Berkshelf is going to be the subject of this post.

Until now, you might have been managing your servers with growing numbers of scripts, perhaps spread across multiple directories or even multiple machines. As the need to deliver products to market quickly and the sheer numbers of servers we’ll use to do that continue to grow, we need a consistent, reliable, and secure way to manage it all. More importantly: the solution we choose should be simple and intuitive.

More often than not, Chef will fit those needs. It is an infrastructure automation framework that simplifies server and application deployments to any physical, virtual, or cloud location, no matter the size of the infrastructure.

Since your infrastructure will be managed with code, it can be automated, tested, and reproduced with ease. Chef itself is built from many moving parts, including knife, Chef client, Chef server, cookbooks, and nodes. Here, we will talk about cookbooks and how they can be efficiently managed using Berkshelf.

Just what is Berkshelf?

You often won’t need to actually write your cookbooks from scratch, as the community has all kinds of them – often ready to use in your environment without modification – available from the Opscode supermarket. To use a cookbook, you’ll need to download it and save it on your Chef workstation. To download each external cookbook from inside Global cookbook, this is what you would have to run:

knife cookbook site download apache2

 

Before Berkshelf
Chef Repo: before Berkshelf

As terrific as Chef is, Berkshelf can really make a difference in the way you manage your Chef cookbooks and dependencies. Berkshelf lets you treat your cookbooks the way you treat gems in a Ruby project. When external cookbooks are used, Berkshelf doesn’t require “knife cookbook site” to install community cookbooks. All we have to do is mention the dependent cookbooks with its version number. When Chef client runs on nodes, berkshelf will automatically download and install all the dependent cookbooks from the Opscode cookbook community for us.

After Berkshelf
Chef repo: after Berkshelf

Implementing Berkshelf

Berkshelf requires a bit of set up. The easy way to install Berkshelf is:

gem install berkshelf

But that’s it. Berkshelf is now included as part of the Chef Development Kit (ChefDK), which installs the best development tools built by the awesome Chef community into your workstation. The omnibus installer is used to set up the Chef development kit on a workstation. Here’s how:

  • Visit http://downloads.chef.io/chef-dk and select the omnibus installer for the desired platform.
  • The Chef development kit supports Mac OS X, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, and Microsoft Windows.
  • When the installation finishes, open a command line terminal and enter the following:
chef verify
  • Ensure that the Chef-DK is added to the front of your path.
PATH=$HOME/.chefdk/gem/ruby/2.1.0/bin:/opt/chefdk/bin:$PATH
  • Initilize a Berksfile into your cookbook.
cd my-cookbook
berks init .
  • Specify your dependencies in a Berksfile in your cookbook’s root.
source "https://supermarket.chef.io"
metadata
cookbook "apache"
cookbook "mysql", "~> 5.3"
  • Once the dependencies are mentioned in a berksfile, you can install them.
berks install

Berkshelf stores every version of a cookbook that you have ever installed in ~/.berkshelf.

  • Once your cookbook is ready, you can upload it with all the dependent cookbooks using the following command.
berks upload phpapp

Bon appetit!

Further reading:

Avatar

Written by

Nitheesh Poojary

My professional IT career began nine years back when I was just out of my college. I worked with a great team as an infrastructure management engineer, managing hundreds of enterprise application servers. I found my passion when I got the opportunity to work with Cloud technologies: I'm addicted to AWS Cloud Services, DevOps engineering, and all the cloud tools and technologies that make engineers' lives easier. Currently, I am working as a Solution Architect in SixNines IT. We are an experienced team of engineers that have helped hundreds of customers move to the cloud responsibly. I have achieved 5 AWS certifications, happily helping fellow engineers across the globe through my blogs and answering questions in various forums.

Related Posts

Sam Ghardashem
Sam Ghardashem
— May 15, 2019

Aviatrix Integration of a NextGen Firewall in AWS Transit Gateway

Learn how Aviatrix’s intelligent orchestration and control eliminates unwanted tradeoffs encountered when deploying Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Firewalls with AWS Transit Gateway.Deploying any next generation firewall in a public cloud environment is challenging, not because of the f...

Read more
  • AWS
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— May 3, 2019

AWS Config Best Practices for Compliance

Use AWS Config the Right Way for Successful ComplianceIt’s well-known that AWS Config is a powerful service for monitoring all changes across your resources. As AWS Config has constantly evolved and improved over the years, it has transformed into a true powerhouse for monitoring your...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Compliance
Avatar
Francesca Vigliani
— April 30, 2019

Cloud Academy is Coming to the AWS Summits in Atlanta, London, and Chicago

Cloud Academy is a proud sponsor of the 2019 AWS Summits in Atlanta, London, and Chicago. We hope you plan to attend these free events that bring the cloud computing community together to connect, collaborate, and learn about AWS. These events are all about learning. You can learn how t...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Summits
Paul Hortop
Paul Hortop
— April 2, 2019

How to Monitor Your AWS Infrastructure

The AWS cloud platform has made it easier than ever to be flexible, efficient, and cost-effective. However, monitoring your AWS infrastructure is the key to getting all of these benefits. Realizing these benefits requires that you follow AWS best practices which constantly change as AWS...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Monitoring
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— April 1, 2019

AWS EC2 Instance Types Explained

Amazon Web Services’ resource offerings are constantly changing, and staying on top of their evolution can be a challenge. Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instances are one of their core resource offerings, and they form the backbone of most cloud deployments. EC2 instances provide you with...

Read more
  • AWS
  • EC2
Avatar
Nitheesh Poojary
— March 26, 2019

How DNS Works – the Domain Name System (Part One)

Before migrating domains to Amazon's Route53, we should first make sure we properly understand how DNS worksWhile we'll get to AWS's Route53 Domain Name System (DNS) service in the second part of this series, I thought it would be helpful to first make sure that we properly understand...

Read more
  • AWS
Avatar
Stuart Scott
— March 14, 2019

Multiple AWS Account Management using AWS Organizations

As businesses expand their footprint on AWS and utilize more services to build and deploy their applications, it becomes apparent that multiple AWS accounts are required to manage the environment and infrastructure.  A multi-account strategy is beneficial for a number of reasons as ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Identity Access Management
Avatar
Sanket Dangi
— February 11, 2019

WaitCondition Controls the Pace of AWS CloudFormation Templates

AWS's WaitCondition can be used with CloudFormation templates to ensure required resources are running.As you may already be aware, AWS CloudFormation is used for infrastructure automation by allowing you to write JSON templates to automatically install, configure, and bootstrap your ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • CloudFormation
Badrinath Venkatachari
Badrinath Venkatachari
— February 1, 2019

10 Common AWS Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Massive migration to the public cloud is changing architecture patterns, operating principles, and governance models. That means new approaches are vital to get a handle on soaring cloud spend. Because the cloud’s short-term billing cycles call for financial discipline, you must empower...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Operations
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— January 24, 2019

The 9 AWS Certifications: Which is Right for You and Your Team?

As companies increasingly shift workloads to the public cloud, cloud computing has moved from a nice-to-have to a core competency in the enterprise. This shift requires a new set of skills to design, deploy, and manage applications in cloud computing.As the market leader and most ma...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Certifications
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— January 15, 2019

2018 Was a Big Year for Content at Cloud Academy

As Head of Content at Cloud Academy I work closely with our customers and my domain leads to prioritize quarterly content plans that will achieve the best outcomes for our customers.We started 2018 with two content objectives: To show customer teams how to use Cloud Services to solv...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud Platform
Avatar
Jeremy Cook
— November 29, 2018

Amazon Elastic Inference – GPU Acceleration for Faster Inferencing

“Add GPU acceleration to any Amazon EC2 instance for faster inference at much lower cost (up to 75% savings)”So you’ve just kicked off the training phase of your multilayered deep neural network. The training phase is leveraging Amazon EC2 P3 instances to keep the training time to a...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Elastic Inference
  • re:Invent 2018