Chef rails configuration
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Configures a server for rails hosting. Delegates as much as possible to other cookbooks & ties everything together.


app_dir location on remote system where rails project will be found. Defaults to "/vagrant".


I suggest installing through librarian-chef. Librarian manages chef recipes analogous to how bundler managers gems. So first install librarian:

# Install librarian
gem install librarian

# Add its work directories to your gitignore
echo cookbooks >> .gitignore
echo tmp >> .gitignore

# Create the Librarian config file
librarian-chef init

# Create a spot for vendored cookbooks
mkdir cookbooks-src

# Clone rails-lastmile into vendored cookbooks
git submodule add git:// cookbooks-src/rails-lastmile

Next setup your Cheffile (think Gemfile) with the following recipes

cookbook 'build-essential'

cookbook 'ruby_build',
  :git => 'git://', :ref => 'v0.6.2'
cookbook 'rbenv',
  :git => '', :ref => '7d9b66f20d6edb786720b22919fd53e698fce12b'
cookbook 'apt',
  :git => ''
cookbook 'unicorn'
cookbook  'nginx'
cookbook  'runit'

Any time you make changes to your Cheffile be sure to run

librarian-chef install

Note that you can customize rails-last mile (or any other cookbook you put into cookbooks-src). If you make changes to cookbooks managed by librarian they will be overwritten.


The goal of rails-lastmile is to make deployments to different environments as similar as possible. Check the subsections below for how to deploy to a particular environment.


Vagrant is the first environment rails-lastmile supports. Firstly you need to install and setup Vagrant in this project. Make sure to install the lastest virtual box from here

# Install the gem
gem install vagrant

# Grab the 64-bit base box. This could take a while
vagrant box add precise64

# Make sure you're in the application directory and create a Vagrantfile
vagrant init precise64

In order to use with vagrant make a Vagrantfile something like this:

  config.vm.provision :chef_solo do |chef|
    chef.cookbooks_path = ["cookbooks","cookbooks-src"]

    chef.add_recipe "rails-lastmile"
    chef.json = {
      'rails-lastmile' => {
         'app_dir' => '/path/to/app',
         'ruby_version' => '1.9.3-p385',
         'nginx_ssl' => false
      'unicorn' => {
        'worker_processes' => 1

Don't forget that you need to have the unicorn gem in your Gemfile. Last thing to do is boot up the virtual machine. With the command vagrant up

This will take a while depending on your internet connection and computer speed. After the command completes you should have a fully deployed app on your vagrant box.


Q. My cpu is pegged at 100% after deploying. Ensure that you have the following two lines in your Gemfile when deploying to a linux box:

   gem "execjs"
   gem "therubyracer"

Q. I want to enable SSl. How can I do that?

Ensure you have 'nginx_ssl' set to true in your json file: chef.json = { 'rails-lastmile' => { 'nginx_ssl' => true }

Then generate self signed certificates and put them into config/certs inside your app next the the Vagrantfile. Example instructions: