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Last pushed: 9 months ago
Short Description
Chef configured to make it easier to run cookbooks using chef in local mode (chef-zero).
Full Description

chef-local Docker Container

Docker images with Chef configured to make it easier to run cookbooks using chef in local mode (with chef-zero).

The images come with Chef 13 installed, and also include Berkshelf and git.


$ docker pull zuazo/chef-local:debian-7

Supported Tags

  • centos-6: A CentOS 6 image.
  • centos-7: A CentOS 7 image.
  • centos-7-systemd: A CentOS 7 image with systemd (requires --privileged, see below).
  • debian-7: A Debian Wheezy image.
  • debian-8: A Debian Jessie image.
  • fedora-26: A Fedora Heissenbug image.
  • fedora-26-systemd: A Fedora 26 image.
  • fedora-rawhide-systemd: A Fedora Rawhide image with systemd (requires --privileged, see below).
  • ubuntu-12.04: An Ubuntu Precise Pangolin LTS image.
  • ubuntu-12.04-upstart: An Ubuntu Precise Pangolin LTS image with Upstart.
  • ubuntu-14.04: An Ubuntu Trusty Tahr LTS image.
  • ubuntu-14.04-upstart: An Ubuntu Trusty Tahr LTS image with Upstart.
  • ubuntu-16.04: An Ubuntu Xenial Xerus image.
  • ubuntu-17.04: An Ubuntu Zesty Zapus image.


Running a Cookbook from the Current Directory

You can include the following Dockerfile in your cookbooks to run them inside a Docker container:

FROM zuazo/chef-local:debian-7

# Copy the cookbook from the current working directory:
COPY . /tmp/mycookbook
# Download and install the cookbook and its dependencies in the cookbook path:
RUN berks vendor -b /tmp/mycookbook/Berksfile $COOKBOOK_PATH
# Run Chef Client, runs in local mode by default:
RUN chef-client -r "recipe[apt],recipe[mycookbook]"

# CMD to run you application

Now you can create a Docker image and run your application:

$ docker build -t mycookbook .
$ docker run -d mycookbook bash

The cookbook must have a Berksfile for this to work. You can use $ berks init . to generate a Berksfile. See the Berkshelf documentation for more information.

Running a Cookbook from GitHub

For example, you can user the following Dockerfile to install Nginx:

FROM zuazo/chef-local:debian-7

RUN git clone /tmp/nginx
RUN berks vendor -b /tmp/nginx/Berksfile $COOKBOOK_PATH
RUN chef-client -r "recipe[apt],recipe[nginx]"

CMD ["nginx", "-g", "daemon off;"]

Then you can build your image and start your Nginx server:

$ docker build -t chef-nginx .
$ docker run -d -p 8080:80 chef-nginx

Now you can go to http://localhost:8080 to see your gorgeous web server.

Running Cookbooks from a Berksfile

You can use a Berksfile to run cookbooks if you prefer.

For example, using the following Berksfile:

source ''

cookbook 'apache2'
# cookbook ...

With the following Dockerfile:

FROM zuazo/chef-local:debian-7

COPY Berksfile /tmp/Berksfile
RUN berks vendor -b /tmp/Berksfile $COOKBOOK_PATH
RUN chef-client -r "recipe[apache2]"

Then you can build your image and start your apache2 server installed with Chef:

$ docker build -t chef-apache2 .
$ docker run -d -p 8088:80 chef-apache2

Now you can go to http://localhost:8088 to see your web server.

Changing Chef Cookbook Attribute Values

You can add the Node attributes to change in a JSON file:

  "java": {
    "jdk_version": "7"

Then run chef-client with the -j option pointing to the JSON file:

FROM zuazo/chef-local:debian-7

COPY Berksfile /tmp/java/Berksfile
COPY attributes.json /tmp/attributes.json
RUN berks vendor -b /tmp/java/Berksfile $COOKBOOK_PATH
RUN chef-client -j /tmp/attributes.json -r "recipe[java]"

CMD ["-version"]

Build the image and run it:

$ docker build -t chef-java .
$ docker run chef-java
java version "1.7.0_79"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (IcedTea 2.5.5) (7u79-2.5.5-1~deb7u1)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 24.79-b02, mixed mode)
Using Systemd Images

You need to create a Dockerfile similar to the following:

FROM zuazo/chef-local:centos-7-systemd

# Install your application here:
# [...]

# Start systemd:
CMD ["/usr/sbin/init"]

Then, you can build the image and run it in privileged mode:

$ docker build -t local/c7-systemd-myapp .
$ docker run --privileged -ti -v /sys/fs/cgroup:/sys/fs/cgroup:ro local/c7-systemd-myapp
More Examples

See the examples/ directory.

Build from Sources

Instead of installing the image from Docker Hub, you can build the images from sources if you prefer:

$ git clone chef-local
$ cd chef-local/debian-7
$ docker build -t zuazo/chef-local:debian-7 .

Defined Environment Variables

  • COOKBOOK_PATH: Directory where the cookbooks should be copied
  • CHEF_REPO_PATH: Chef main repository path (/tmp/chef).

License and Author

Contributor: Bruce Emehiser
Author: Xabier de Zuazo (
Copyright: Copyright (c) 2015
License: Apache License, Version 2.0
Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.
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