Getting Started


Chef Workstation gives you everything you need to get started with Chef. Ad-hoc remote execution, scans and configuration tasks, cookbook creation tools, as well as robust dependency and testing software all in one easy-to-install package.

Install Chef Workstation

If you have not installed Chef Workstation, download and install it from the website.

Check versions

New ad-hoc commands chef-run and ChefDK CLI commands such as chef are available via Chef Workstation. See your installed version of Chef Workstation with chef-run -v and your installed version of the Chef tools with chef -v. You can also check your Workstation version by selecting “About Chef Workstation” from the Chef Workstation App.

$ chef-run -v
chef-run: 0.1.114

$ chef -v
Chef Development Kit Version: 3.0.36
chef-client version: 14.1.12
delivery version: master (7206afaf4cf29a17d2144bb39c55b7212cfafcc7)
berks version: 7.0.2
kitchen version: 1.21.2
inspec version: 2.1.72

Ad-hoc remote execution with chef-run

The chef-run utility allows you to execute ad-hoc configuration updates on the systems you manage without setting up a Chef server. With chef-run, you connect to servers over SSH or WinRM, and you can apply single resources, recipes, or even entire cookbooks directly from the command line.

Example: Installing NTP Server

Chef Workstation combines the power of InSpec and chef-run, giving you the ability to easily detect and correct issues on any target instance. One common task that administrators perform in their environments is installing the Network Time Protocol (NTP), which keeps the clocks in sync between servers. InSpec allows us to check if the package is installed with a query, using the InSpec package resource:

describe package('ntp') do
  it { should be_installed }

Chef also provides a single-resource solution to install the Network Time Protocol package:

package 'ntp' do
  action :install

With chef-run, you can run the resource directly from the command-line, converging your targets with a single resource, without creating a cookbook or recipe:

chef-run myhost package ntp action=install

Combined with executing an InSpec scan to validate successful package installation, we have everything we need to define our requirements, and make sure they’re met with two simple commands, either locally or remotely.

inspec exec ntp-check -t ssh://myuser@myhost -i ~/.ssh/mykey
chef-run -i ~/.ssh/mykey myuser@myhost package ntp action=install

Chef Run NTP Installation

Recipe and Multi-Node Convergence

Use chef-run to execute Chef recipes and cookbooks as well, and run it against multiple targets in parallel. Here are a few examples of chef-run in action:

Example: Recipe execution on multiple targets

Run the default recipe from the defined cookbook against two resources: myhost1 & myhost2.

chef-run myhost1,myhost2 /path/to/my/cookbook

Example: Alternate Recipe syntax and targets defined by a range

Run the my_cookbook::my_recipe cookbook against twenty resources: myhost1 through myhost20

chef-run myhost[1:20] my_cookbook::my_recipe

Further Reading