The chef-book
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(Read this first)

NOTE: This book was inspired by another post I made. If you want some background click that link. :)

The Prerequisites (skills) you need before reading this book

First and foremost, I'm writing this for Linux/Unix-based operatng stems. Chef can run on Windows and OSX, but that's not what I want to focus on. So please if these commands don't make sense to you, you should probably look for another book before reading this one.

  • cd OR ls OR mkdir or grep
  • vim OR emacs OR nano
  • bash OR zsh

This book is aimed at a junior level Linux sysadmin, or an intermediate level Linux sysadmin that needs a primer on Chef. Another way to look at it is if you can pass the Linux+ you should be qualified to understand this book.

You should be able to get in and out of the editor that you choose. You should be relatively comfortable with the command line in general. Like most technology how-to books, I want to get to the meat of the system as quickly as possible. I'm apologizing ahead of time if you are confused; most if not all should be fixed via a google search pretty easily. I am writing this to be "open-source" so if there is a place that should be fleshed out better, don't hesitated to put a comment in, or hell, make a pull request and flesh it out yourself!

The situations you might be in that brought you to read/look for this book

The first situation is the one that I came from. I started my journey with Chef about 2-3 years ago, initially as a scripter, then at another company supporing a chef_repo that was already way too complex. I had no idea what I was looking at and was overwhelmed. I had previousy used Puppet extensively but Chef just seemed baffling. I did my damnedest to read all the blog posts, wiki sites, and how-tos I could find. I eventually threw up my hands and said "no". If you feel overwhelmed with chef and yet this video still intrigues you, hopefully this book will make your journey easier. I'm writing this book to my past self who would have KILLED for all this information in one location.

The second situation is a simpler one: you're a new junior Linux Sysadmin (or Developer), and your team uses Chef. You have no idea what you are looking at, and your boss just told you to create a new cookbook to control something. This book will walk you through you building a test environment and hopefully give you a foundation to confidently write your first cookbook!

The third situation is a sad but true one. You're an intermediate Linux Sysadmin; you watched this video and you now realize your bash provisioning scripts are dumb and error prone, so you've decided to take the plunge. This book should walk you through enough to be extremely dangerous, and pique your interest to run with it.


Part one

1. VirtualBox

2. Vagrant

3. VM setup

4. Chef DK

Part two

5. chef-zero

6. Write a simple base cookbook

7. Vagrant provisioning vs local chef-zero

Part three

8. knife

9. knife plugins

10. Open Source Chef Server vs Hosted Chef Server

11. Connecting Open Source or Hosted Chef to a VM

Part four

12. Uploading your cookbook to your Chef Server

13. metadata.rb

14. Environments, Roles, oh-my

15. Places to find cookbooks

Part five

16. Berkshelf Primer

17. I know something should go here

18. I know something should go here

19. I know something should go here

Part six

20. Testing with Chef

21. minitest handler cookbook

22. Server Spec

23. ChefSpec

24. Integrating with Jenkins or CI in general

Building the PDF

TODO: probably going to steal upgradingrails4 system. Need to play with it. I need suggestions here, pandoc looks extremely promising

Even more promising:


meta: stuff for the book that isn't the book.


To everyone I bugged and poked about helping me out, thanks so much.


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