Chef for OpenStack

Matt Ray is the community manager of a project at Chef (formerly Opscode) to unify all efforts around building up Chef Cookbooks for OpenStack deployment. For quite some time lots of people were forking the repository from Rackspace, it created a lot of fragmentation, so Matt is now gathering all around the StackForge repository where everyone can contribute. AT&T, Dell, Dreamhost, Gap, HP, HubSpot, IBM, Korea Telecom, Rackspace, SUSE amongst others are already contributing to this project. In this article we will detail how you can use them to deploy OpenStack on your environment.


StackForge is the official location where all non official OpenStack related stuff reside.

Here is the list of Chef Cookbooks already available for Grizzly:

  • cookbook-openstack-block-storage
  • cookbook-openstack-common
  • cookbook-openstack-compute
  • cookbook-openstack-dashboard
  • cookbook-openstack-identity
  • cookbook-openstack-image
  • cookbook-openstack-metering
  • cookbook-openstack-network
  • cookbook-openstack-object-storage
  • cookbook-openstack-orchestration
  • openstack-ops-database (operationnal support cookbooks)
  • openstack-ops-messaging (operationnal support cookbooks)

There is also a reference example of the environment and roles that show how to use all of this.

This is what we will use here. As of today, it’s possible to deploy :

  • All-in-One Compute (could be on a Vagrant box)
  • Single Controller + N compute

But you’ll have to provision the operating system on your own, same for logging and monitoring which aren’t in the scope of this core repository right now.

High Availability is currently a work in progess with Keepalived.

Other Open Source tools

To provision your nodes, you can use for example

For monitoring you can use

And for Logging:

Current v7.0 support

They just branched the repority for Havana (v8.0), the Grizzly (v7.0) implementation support :

  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 (LTS), OpenSUSE 12.3, SLES 11 SP2
  • DB: MySQL, SQLite (testing)
  • Messaging: RabbitMQ
  • Compute: KVM, LXC, Qemu
  • Network: Nova + Quantum (with OVS plugin, not yet renamed to Neutron)
  • Block storage: LVM
  • Object Storage: Swift
  • Dashboard: Apache or Nginx

Chef for OpenStack Roadmap

In their todo list, they plan to support the following:

  • Operating System: Red Hat 6
  • DB: DB2, PostgreSQL
  • Messaging: Qpid
  • Compute: Baremetal, Docker (supported in Havana), ESX, Hyper-V, Xen
  • Network: NSX, OpenDaylight
  • Block storage: Ceph, NetApp
  • Object Storage: Ceph
  • Source builds via Omnibus (OPScode Open Sourced packager).

I’m delighted to see NSX support in the roadmap, disclaimer I’m a NSX System Engineer at VMware.


This toolset is built on top of the following tools:

  • Chef 11
  • Ruby 1.9.x
  • Berkshelf
  • chef-zero
  • bento

OpenStack installation will be done from packages as of now, except for some components like Open vSwitch or dnsmasq not yet distribution packages. They manage the platform logic in attributed and drive the overall configuration from attributes set in Environments. For testing they use: Foodcritic and ChefSpec.

In our demo setup we will use Vagrant to simulate baremetal servers. So start by installing VirtualBox and Vagrant. We aren’t detailing the install process here, refer to the respective documentation for Vagrant and VirtualBox instead.

On Mac OS X, you’ll also need Xcode Command Line Tools from

Now install the Omnibus, Chef-Zero and Berkshelf Vagrant plugin like this

vagrant plugin install vagrant-omnibus
vagrant plugin install vagrant-chef-zero
vagrant plugin install vagrant-berkshelf

Check the three plugins are really installed

vagrant plugin list

Here is what I got back

vagrant-berkshelf (1.3.7)
vagrant-chef-zero (0.5.2)
vagrant-omnibus (1.1.2)

If you get errors when using Vagrant, you can turn on debugging

export VAGRANT_LOG=debug

I had to install Vagrant version 1.3.5 instead of 1.4.0 which caused some dependency hell with ridley.

About the tools

Here is a quick explanation about each tools used:

  • Vagrant - allows you to create and configure lightweight, reproducible, and portable development environments.
  • VirtualBox - hypervisor, default Vagrant provisioner, you could also use VMware Workstation or Fusion instead.
  • Berkshelf - manage a Chef Cookbook dependencies.
  • bento - used by Opscode to make Just Enough Operating System images, it wraps packer a tool to create identical machine images for multiple platforms from a single source configuration.
  • chef-zero - an in-memory chef that allows you to do advanced things like search.

Clone the Official Git Repository

It’s now time to clone the StackForge OpenStack Cookbooks reporitory

git clone

About the Vagrantfile

The Vagrantfile describe the environment to launch when we will run vagrant up. We are using VirtualBox as our provisionner but you can find other provisionners for VMware, AWS or OpenStack.

The first few lines state the required plugins:

Vagrant.require_plugin "vagrant-berkshelf"
Vagrant.require_plugin "vagrant-chef-zero"
Vagrant.require_plugin "vagrant-omnibus"

The different Vagrant plugins that are required in the Vagrantfile will play the following roles

  • vagrant-berkshelf will read the Berksfile download and install all the required cookbooks in your .berkshelf directory.
  • vagrant-chef-zero will spin out a Chef-Zero on your Vagrant host for the provisionned node to get their run list and cookbooks from.
  • vagrant-omnibus will install Omnibus Chef on your Vagrant box.

You then enable and configure them

config.berkshelf.enabled = true

# Chef-Zero plugin configuration
config.chef_zero.enabled = true
config.chef_zero.chef_repo_path = "."

# Omnibus plugin configuration
config.omnibus.chef_version = :latest

Above we just tell Vagrant to look in our current directory for our Chef Repository and that we want to install the latest Chef version into our box.

Create an all-in-one OpenStack VM

It’s now time to tell Vagrant to create an all-in-one OpenStack VM with this simple command from the openstack-chef-repo:

vagrant up ubuntu1204

After a little while you should get a fully operational OpenStack Grizzly instance. But If the provisionning process failed, you can retry it with

vagrant provision ubuntu1204

Test it

To check it’s fully operational you can connect to the Horizon Dashboard using


You can also connect to it with

vagrant ssh ubuntu1204

And then

sudo su -
source openrc
nova service-list
nova hypervisor-list
quantum agent-list

Add a cirros image to Glance

glance image-create --name cirros --is-public true --container-format bare --disk-format qcow2 --location http://HTTPSERVER_IP/cirros-0.3.0-x86_64-disk.img
nova image-list

Launch a new instance with

nova boot test1 --image cirros --flavor 1 --poll
nova list
nova show test1

You can now SSH into test1, the user is ‘cirros’ and the password is ‘cubswin:)’:

ssh cirros@

You can now terminate your Vagrant ubuntu1204 VM with

vagrant destroy ubuntu1204

About the Environment

The Vagrant Environment is just a Ruby file which is injecting attributes into our environment. Any machines that Vagrant runs will get these attributes.

The following line indicates to keep things simple and use dummy password.

"developer_mode" => true

In a larger environment, you’ll customize each chef_role instead of having all of them running under the same VM (allinone-compute) like below

"identity_service_chef_role" => "allinone-compute"

Qemu is simpler to use in such a nested environment, you don’t need your VM to support Intel VT-x for example.

"virt_type" => "qemu"

About Roles

As you can see in your Vagrantfile, the Chef run list is

chef_run_list = [ "role[allinone-compute]" ]

If you’re curions, you can look at this Role in roles/allinone-compute.rb

name "allinone-compute"
description "This will deploy all of the services for Openstack Compute to function on a single box."

It’s the N+1 pattern, with the compute-worker and controller on the same node. It contains os-compute-single-controller which itself contains

name "os-compute-single-controller"
description "Roll-up role for all of the OpenStack Compute services on a single, non-HA controller."

And also os-compute-worker with the following content

name "os-compute-worker"
description "The compute node, most likely with a hypervisor."

Having the same role, like os-base two times in the Run list is perfectly fine with Chef.

If you have time you can look in all the different recipes to understand how OpenStack got provisioned by Chef.

About Cookbooks

All the OpenStack cookbooks are managed by Berkshelf, so they will be stored in a .berkshelf/ubuntu1204/cookbooks directory.


Provisioning OpenStack with Vagrant, chef-zero and Berkshelf is pretty easy and can be summarized with two commands

git clone
vagrant up ubuntu1204

It couldn’t be easier, isn’t it ? Have fun with it.