Using Chef Solo with Vagrant

2014-11-13 11:17:13 +0000

This is part of my quest to sort out my website. Using Chef Solo with Vagrant.

Having decided to use Chef Solo to manage my web server, at least initially, it’s time to integrate it with vagrant.

There is a vagrant-berkshelf plugin, but I found it unreliable, so I opted not to use it.


To use the chef-solo provisioner, edit the Vagrantfile, adding the following section:

# Chef Solo provisioner
config.vm.provision :chef_solo do |chef|
  # We use 'berks vendor chef/cookbooks', so look there for cookbooks:
  chef.cookbooks_path = "chef/cookbooks"
  # For symmetry, put the roles in the same place.
  chef.roles_path = "chef/roles"

Note that I’ve opted to keep all of the chef-related files in a chef folder, so the defaults won’t work.

You need to ensure that the directories exist:

mkdir -p chef/cookbooks
mkdir -p chef/roles

And you’ll need to restart the VM in order to mount these directories inside the VM:

vagrant reload

Our first cookbook and role

If we attempt to provision the VM at this point, chef won’t work. It needs at least one cookbook, so let’s do that.

First, we’ll create a new base role for this VM. Create a file chef/roles/base.rb containing the following:

name 'base'


When the machine starts, this will automatically run apt-get update for us, if it hasn’t been run recently.

Next, we need to add the machine to the role. To do this, edit Vagrantfile, and in the :chef_solo section, add the following:

  chef.add_role "base"

Then we need to make the cookbook available. Create a Berksfile containing the following:

source ""

cookbook 'apt'

Installing the cookbooks

Run the following commands:

berks install
berks vendor chef/cookbooks

This will download the cookbooks listed in Berksfile (and their dependencies). They’ll be installed somewhere in ~/.berkshelf. The second command copies them to the chef/cookbooks directory, where the chef-solo provisioner running in the VM can find them.

Run the provisioner

Then you can run the provisioner:

vagrant provision

And that’s pretty much it for now.