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This is an attempt to combine the powers of Capistrano and chef-solo.

The only thing you need is SSH access and a supported OS. At this time only Ubuntu is supported.


You can skip this if you already know about Capistrano and Chef.

Installing servers can be tedious work. Keeping your configuration in sync can be hard too. Chef is an excellent tool for managing this. It can provision your server from scratch. It can also be run again and again to check and update your configuration if needed.

Capistrano is an excellent tool for deployment. It can deploy your code on multiple machines, with clever defaults, limited downtime and the ability to quickly roll back your deployment if something has gone wrong.

Roundsman aims to integrate Capistrano and Chef. This means that with every deploy, it can check and update your configuration if needed. Are you using a new version of Ruby in your next release? It will automatically install when you deploy! Adding a new machine to your cluster? No problem! Roundsman will go from a bare bones Linux machine to a working server in minutes!

Before you can use Roundsman, you need to know how to use Capistrano and how to write Chef recipes. Here are some resources you might want to check out:

Feeling comfortable you can tackle deploying your application with Capistrano and Chef? Now you can use Roundsman to combine them.


Roundsman runs on Ruby 1.8.7 and above.

If you're using Bundler, you can add Roundsman to your Gemfile:

# Gemfile

gem 'roundsman', :require => false

Run bundle install to get it.

If you're not using Bundler, you can install Roundsman by hand:

$ gem install roundsman

And "capify" your project:

$ capify .

Next, load Roundsman in Capfile

# Capfile

require 'roundsman/capistrano'


By default, Roundsman assumes you put your Chef cookbooks inside config/cookbooks. If you don't like this, see the Configuration chapter. But here we're going to use that.

I'm also going to assume that you put all Capistano configuration inside config/deploy.rb. When you have a lot of configuration or use the multistage extension, you might want to place it elsewhere.

After configuring Capistrano and writing and downloading Chef recipes, you can hook them up, with a Capistrano hook. Simply provide provide a run list. Let's say you want to run the default recipe of your own cookbook, called main.

# config/deploy.rb

before "deploy:update_code" do
  roundsman.run_list "recipe[main]"

I'm hooking it up before the update_code command, and not before deploy so it will also run when running cap deploy:migrations.

Setting up a webserver usually requires that you have the code already there; otherwise restarting nginx or Apache will fail, because it cannot find your application yet. To remedy that you can make another recipe that will configure your webserver and have it run after deploying your new code:

# config/deploy.rb

after "deploy:create_symlink" do
  roundsman.run_list "recipe[main::webserver]"

If you want a recipe to only run on a specific role, you can do so like this:

# config/deploy.rb

namespace :install do
  task :postgres, :roles => [:db] do
    roundsman.run_list "recipe[main::postgres]"

before "deploy:update_code", "install:postgres"


By default, Roundsman will make a lot of Capistrano's configuration available to chef.

So, you might have these settings:

# config/deploy.rb

set :application, "my-awesome-blog"
set :rails_env, "production"
set :deploy_to, "/var/www/#{application}-#{rails_env}"
set :user, "deployer"

Here's how you can use them inside your recipes:

# config/cookbooks/main/recipes/default.rb

directory File.join(node[:deploy_to], "uploads") do
  owner node[:user]
  owner node[:user]
  recursive true

Every configuration option from Capistrano is available in Chef. If your using the passenger_apache2 cookbook for example, you can set the attributes like this:

# config/deploy.rb

set :passenger, :version => "3.0.12", :max_pool_size => 4

There are also a set of configuration options for Roundsman itself. They all have sensible defaults, but you can override them if needed. To read all the default configuration:

$ cap roundsman:configuration

You can also perform a lot of tasks by hand if you need to. Here's how to get information:

$ cap --tasks roundsman

To get more information, use the --explain flag and specify a task name, like this:

$ cap --explain roundsman:install_ruby

How does it work?

What Roundsman does is this:

It will determine if you have the right version of Ruby installed. Your machine might already have an older version of Ruby installed, so if it needs to, it will use ruby-build to install the version of Ruby you need for your application.

Then, it will install check the version of chef-solo and install or upgrade as needed.

It will then copy over the cookbooks from your local machine to your deployment machine. This means that you don't need to commit every change while you're still working on it.

It will create your node.json file based upon your Capistrano configuration and run the recipes needed.

This is all done in Capistrano hooks, using Capistrano methods like run, so you can determine when and how your recipes are run.



Capistrano and Chef both give a lot of output. Check out capistrano_colors to colorize your output for better readability.


If you want to test out your configuration locally, you should take a look at Vagrant. It makes managing a VirtualBox a breeze. You can even create a stage just for Vagrant with the Capistrano multistage extension.


If you want to help out, please! Create an issue or do a pull request and I will take a look at it.

To get this project up and running, make sure you have VirtualBox, because we use vagrant. Then all you need to do is:

bundle install


Combines Capistrano with Chef Solo








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