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A toolkit for provisioning (ubuntu-)servers using chef-solo.
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A toolkit for provisioning (ubuntu-)servers using chef-solo.


  • A set of wrappers around SSH and Chef Solo for getting cookbooks and recipes to servers and running them.
  • Code for setting up user accounts (optionally setting passwords, ssh-keys and sudo access).
  • Uses nesting to override configuration and cookbooks.

Cookbooks and configuration

Solokit includes some defaults so that you don't have to repeat the same things for each server. Any "cookbook" or "chef" directories in the root of your project will be copied over the defaults. The same goes for any "cookbook" or "chef" directories for a specific environment.

An environment can be anything from one server to a complete cluster. Within an environment you can run specific configuration for each server, but Solokit defaults to "server.json".

For each layer*, Solokit looks for a directory structure like this:

cookbooks/upstream # Unchanged cookbooks downloaded from opscode or other upstream source.
cookbooks/site     # Changes or entierly new cookbooks for Solokit, your project or env.
chef/solo.rb       # Specifies where chef solo should look for files.
chef/server.json   # Default config, just calls roles/base.rb.
chef/roles/base.rb # Base configuration

*Except for within an environment where all cookbooks are considered site-cookbooks (example path: envs/test/cookbooks).


Create the basic directory structure:

mkdir project
cd project
mkdir -p envs/test/chef/roles

Add something like this to a Rakefile:

require 'rubygems'
require 'solokit'

namespace :test do
  desc "Update system configuration"
  task :provision do
    Solokit::UserJsonGenerator.generate! "test"
    Solokit::Chef.provision!("test", "","test"))

Add user configuration to users.yml (optional, but you need to provide a chef/roles/base.json without the users role if you skip this step):

# User data used to setup user accounts using chef.
# The hash is generated with "openssl passwd -1".

# Random pwgen password that is used when you don't specify a password for a user.
default_hash: $1$8jLGWmPB$yFGmUThzbL0DMarc1CIY1/

  developers: user

    hash: $1$8jLGWmPB$yFGmUThzbL0DMarc1CIY1/
    keys: user@computer

  ## Shared users
    keys: group/developers 

    users: group/developers deploy
    sudo: group/developers

Add keys below "public_keys" that have names ending in ".pub".

mkdir -p public_keys
echo "your key" > public_keys/

By default this setup assumes that you can login to root on the server using your ssh key but Solokit also supports running chef as a normal user (with some modifications to solo.rb).

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