Monday, May 17, 2010

Adventures with chef-server and Gentoo, part 8

Continued from Part 7

Although in Part 7, I said that was the end of the Chef iteration for now, I wanted to finish up just one more thing. (It's always just one more thing). I attempted to install a fresh chef-server for our internal lab environment, now that I've finished up with the recipes on my dev environment. I followed through the notes I took in Part 2, and proceeded to run into a Big Surprise.

knife configure --initial asked for the location of webui.pem, which I promptly dismissed and ignored because, well, what does the webui have anything to do with setting up an admin use for knife. Well, apparently it does. I went to #chef when my attempt failed to create an access key, at which point, kallistec and jtimberman pointed out what has changed in 0.8.16:

  1. chef-validator and its access key, validation.pem are no longer admin users. The only thing they can do is to create a new non-admin access keys. That's good because that is one less thing to worry about (having to be disciplined enough to delete /etc/chef/validation.pem when booting up a new node).

  2. It does mean that you have to have access to an admin access key in order to create yourself an admin key for knife

  3. Unfortunately, using webui.pem makes it sound as if the webui is repurposed to creating new admins. I asked the guys, what if I don't want to install webui?. Their reply is that webui.pem is generated by chef-server-api, rather than chef-server-webui. That makes sense.

    What doesn't make sense is naming it webui. I thought something like api-master-key would be more descriptive.

  4. The flip side of it though, is that kallistec thought there would be even more trouble had that not been used. That's probably true, because my dev upgrade from 0.8.10 to 0.8.16 was transparent.

  5. Shouldn't knife configure -i drop a non-admin user anyways? I thought about that and realized that I would not have liked it to silently create a non-admin user and have all of attempts at uploading the cookbook fail. At this this way, it is obvious where the problem lie.

  6. I wasn't too happy, but at the end of the day: this is open source software and people are putting their hard work out there, and this is still bleeding edge code with lots of things subject to change. Opscode may change it in the 0.9, which makes sense considering we'd all expect lots of breaking changes in that release.

  7. Also, the only reason I even came across this was because I was (wait for it...) using a non-standard installation of knife. I wanted knife configured on my dev box used to control deployment against the lab site, so I didn't see a point in configuring knife on the server. The knife configure -i, when run on the chef-server and taken with default, would have just worked.

So I ended up with this kludge:

$ knife configure -i
Overwrite /home/hhh/.chef/knife.rb? (Y/N) Y
Your chef server URL? [http://localhost:4000] http://chef-server.lab:4000
Select a user name for your new client: [hhh] hosh
Your existing admin client user name? [chef-webui]
The location of your existing admin key? [/etc/chef/webui.pem] /home/hhh/.chef/api-master-key.pem
Your validation client user name? [chef-validator]
The location of your validation key? [/etc/chef/validation.pem] /home/hhh/.chef/lab.validation.pem
Path to a chef repository (or leave blank)?
WARN: Creating initial API user...
INFO: Created (or updated) client[hosh]
WARN: Configuration file written to /home/hhh/.chef/knife.rb

I had more unrelated trouble, such as not configuring /etc/hosts right and ended up having to enter this stuff three or four time. Maybe when I have time, I'll hack up something that lets you take an existing configuration and create a new admin key without having to type all of the above again. Scratch that itch. (And get off my lawn!)

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