New Chef-Run Utility to Provide Ad-Hoc Configuration Management


Chef Workstation is a new release that comes from the creators of Chef. The idea was to provide everything the user needs to get started working with Chef in the form of a single installation file.

Part of this new Chef software is the chef-run utility. The utility is capable of executing Chef code on any remote system that can be accessed via either SSH or WinRM. By doing this, it is capable of providing a fast method for changing the configuration settings of the systems that you manage.

This is possible even if these systems are not being actively managed by Chef and it does not require them to have any pre-installed software either. Using chef-run it is also possible to execute an existing Chef recipe or individual resources using only one command on any number of different servers. 
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Chef-run & InSpec

For example, it is possible to use chef-run alongside InSpec, which is a compliance automation framework that also comes from Chef. The first action would be to command InSpec to check and see whether or not the ntp package has been correctly installed and configured on the host.

The package was created to check and ensure that all of the server clocks are synchronised. Then, if the InSpec profile were to report a failure, it would then be possible to use the chef-run command from the new Chef software to use the package resource to install ntp by using the relevant installation command. 

Then, if we were to re-attempt the check for the profile that previously failed we would receive an immediate response that the update had been applied successfully and we would receive a positive result instead. 

Included Testing and Development Tools

The new Chef Workstation package also includes everything that had been previously included in the ChefDK package. This means:

  • custom cookbook generation
  • tools that can be used for testing
  • dependency resolution
  • as well as the new features of chef-run!

This is to ensure that whether you are a new Chef user or have been consuming existing policies for a long time it should be a simple matter to get everything you need up and running relatively quickly. 

Resources to Get Started

If you are interested in Chef Workstation and would like to learn more about this new package then you can click here. Alternatively, there is also a quick start guide and an FAQ to help deal with some of the more common issues you may face.

Finally, if you are interested in learning more about the development tools involved then there are some keynote presentations you can watch to learn about everything new that is going on at Chef.


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