A cookbook to perform inspec tests with client run
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Inspec Handler

Use inspec_handler resource to automatically run a set of inspec tests in the client's machine at the last phase of the chef-client run.




inspec_handler resource in your cookbook will run the inspec tests for all the recipes that exist in your run list. These tests are placed in the client node at a certain directory defined by the run_path.

inspec_handler "Run Active Tests" do
  run_path "/etc/chef/inspec-handler"
  enforced true
  action [:hard_run]

The full syntax for all the properties that are available to the inspec_handler resource is:

inspec_handler 'name' do
  run_path                String
  log_path                String
  log_shift_age           String
  enforced                TrueClass, FalseClass
  abort_on_fail           TrueClass, FalseClass
  whitelist               Array
  blacklist               Array
  test_environment        Array
  production_environment  String
  track_attributes        TrueClass, FalseClass
  action                Symbol, :hard_run if not specified


  • inspec_handler is the resource
  • run_path is the dir in which inspec test suites reside. The tests inside this dir is arranged by cookbook-name/recipe-name.rb. recipe-name.rb contains inspec test code for the corresponding recipe.
  • log_path is a file where the logs will be stored.
  • log_shift_age Number of days for which log files will be kept (default 10). Logs are rotated daily.
  • enforced will enforce a rule that enforces each recipe that exists in the runlist to have a corresponding inspec test suite inside run_path. By default, this is set to true. The chef client-run will fail if a missing test suite is detected. Set this to false to revoke the restriction.
  • abort_on_fail This will abort further tests if one of the test fails. By Default this is set to true
  • whitelist is an array, if defined, inspec handler will run test suites for them. This will override the runlist. In other words, inspec handler will only run test suites for the whitelist array. example whitelist %w(cookbook1::default cookbook2::install)
  • blacklist is an array that removes the defined recipes from the test suite array. Tests for these recipes will be skipped from the run list.
  • test_environment is an array, when defined will restrict the inspec handler to run only in the defined test environments. By default inspec handlers runs in all environment.
  • production_environment defines your production environment in which inspec_handler will run only if there is a change in the runlist, a cookbook version has changed, or a fail is detected in last run, (or attributes have changed, if track_attributes is enabled). If this is not set, all the inspec_tests are run on each chef-client run. NOTE: If a test fails in production environment, inspec handler will continue running in subsequent client runs untill all tests are passed.
  • track_attributes This will also look for changes in attributes to trigger tests in production environment. Has no meaning if production_environment is not defined. Default is set to true.


This resource has the following actions:


This runs all the defined tests and raises/fails chef client-run (converge) if any of the test fails


It warns, but does not fail a chef client-run if the inspec tests fail

Automatic Chef Failure

During a hard run, if tests detect any failure, the handler raises an error to abort the Chef execution. This error can be captured by any other exception handler and be treated like any other error in the Chef execution.

Inspec Handler Utils

This cookbook also provides helper utils

Ensure that the inspec handler cookbook is the last one to be run

We recommend to implement this using a wrapper cookbook. Add the following resource

inspec_handler_utils do
  ensure_last true
  action :hard


  • ensure_last Enforce a restriction to bound developers to put this at end of run_list
  • :action (:hard, :soft) :hard will fail the chef-client if one of the property fails. :soft will only generate warning

An example wrapper cookbook : cookbook name coe-inspec-handler file metadata.rb

name 'coe-inspec-handler'
<other params>
depends "inspec_handler"

file recipe/default.rb

inspec_handler_utils "inutil" do
  ensure_last true
  action :hard

include_recipe "inspec_handler::default"


This project was initiated to leverage the power of Inspec to perform smoke and integration test in chef automate's CI/CD pipeline.
This avoids sharing of ssh keys of privileged users in between runner and client node. The Inspec tests are performed directly on the client node during the chef converge phase.
In general, this is used in conjunction with the chef-generator-cookbook(https://github.com/sidxz/chef-code-generator) that automatically creates a basic template for these tests.
Using this generator cookbook, when a cookbook is created using the 'chef generate cookbook' command, it creates a corresponding Inspec test template (for default recipe) placed at templates/default/inspec-tests/default.rb.
This is repeated when a new recipe is added using the 'chef generate recipe' command. It also injects some code to the recipes, so as to copy these test files to a specific location to the client node, from where inspec_handler will run these tests. (which is again defined by the run_path property).
The idea is to run an Inspec test per recipe.
When this is run together with multiple cookbooks, Inspec Handler parses the run list and sequentially runs these tests.
Since Inspec test files are created using templates of cookbooks, data bags and chef variables can also be used.
This provides a good way to perform smoke and integration testing using Inspec in the client node while going through chef automate's CI/CD pipeline, or in general, can be used to automatically test the infrastructure during a client run.
NOTE: This cookbook should be placed at the end of your runlist.