Chef Server on Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi devices are cheap, quiet, and powerful enough to run a Debian based Linux Operating System called Raspbian. Such device would be very convenient to manage one's personal infrastructure, composed of some physical and / or virtual machines, by running Chef Server.

While, the official Chef website mostly documents the installation of Chef Server on Ubuntu and (Red Hat) Enterprise Linux, Chef Server is available through its API and already packaged for Raspbian as package chef-server-api.

The installation of Chef Server on a Raspberry Pi is therefore quite forward. The steps to follow, that are described below, are somehow inspired from these instructions to have Chef Server installed on Debian using binary packages.

Installation procedure

  • Start from a fresh installation of Raspbian on a Raspberry Pi. From NOOBS menu, install Raspbian (Using NOOBS v1.2.1).

  • Install Chef Server binary package:

    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get install chef-server-api
  • Configure Chef Server, by answering to the two questions that will be asked:

    • URL of Chef server: http://CHEF_SERVER_IP:4000
    • Chef AMQP user password: RANDOM_PASSWORD (Avoid using special characters)

Note: Some services won't start, like jetty. chef-server will also be said to have failed, but Chef Server APIs will be working anyway.

  • Testing:
    root@raspberrypi:~# knife configure -i
    WARNING: No knife configuration file found
    Where should I put the config file? [/root/.chef/knife.rb] 
    Please enter the chef server URL: [http://raspberrypi:4000] http://CHEF_SERVER_IP:4000
    Please enter a clientname for the new client: [pi] root
    Please enter the existing admin clientname: [chef-webui] 
    Please enter the location of the existing admin client's private key: [/etc/chef/webui.pem] 
    Please enter the validation clientname: [chef-validator] 
    Please enter the location of the validation key: [/etc/chef/validation.pem] 
    Please enter the path to a chef repository (or leave blank): 
    Creating initial API user...
    Created client[root]
    Configuration file written to /root/.chef/knife.rb
    root@raspberrypi:~# knife client list

Update of 2014/03/03

Note that I hit the bug Rabbitmq does not appear to get configured when installing chef-server via deb packages. I got errors when launching commands knife client create or knife client reregister, with following message in rabbitmq log:

=ERROR REPORT==== 4-Jun-2012::14:56:01 ===
exception on TCP connection <0.583.0> from
        "AMQPLAIN login refused: user 'chef' - invalid credentials",

Fix consists in executing the following commands:

$ sudo rabbitmqctl add_vhost /chef
$ sudo rabbitmqctl add_user chef PASSWORD_PER_CONFIGURATION
$ sudo rabbitmqctl set_permissions -p /chef chef ".*" ".*" ".*"