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Upgrade Workflow

[edit on GitHub]

Workflow is a legacy feature for Chef Automate, which was designed for managing changes to both infrastructure and application code.


Workflow is only available in Chef Automate for existing users. If you are not already using Workflow, but are interested in the solution it offers, please contact your sales or success representative for support with continuous integration pipelines.


Create a system which is accessible from your Automate 2.0 environment via SSH. This will have a minimum of three machines:

  • Automate With Workflow - 8GB RAM recommended
  • Chef Infra Server - 8GB RAM recommended
  • Workflow Runner - 20GB disk space recommended


  1. Backup your Chef Automate 1 install, to minimize the amount of data that will need to be backed up while the system is down:

    automate-ctl create-backup



Migration of Workflow data must happen during your upgrade to Chef Automate 2.
  1. Deploy the Workflow server:

    chef-automate upgrade-from-v1 --enable-workflow

    After the upgrade runs the preflight checks and analyzes your Chef Automate 1 configuration, it asks for confirmation to continue. Review the generated configuration file and if it is correct, type yes to continue.

    The upgrade process backs up your Chef Automate 1 data, shuts down Chef Automate 1, imports your data to Chef Automate 2, then starts Chef Automate 2. At this point, you can use your existing Chef Automate 1 user credentials to login to Chef Automate 2. If you’ve been using LDAP for authenticating users, that configuration will have been migrated as well, and you can use your LDAP credentials to login. Historical data will be migrated in the background.

  2. Create a workflow enterprise:

    automate-ctl create-enterprise my-enterprise-name --ssh-pub-key-file=/hab/svc/automate-workflow-server/var/etc/

Build a Standalone Chef Infra Server

Create a standalone Chef Infra Server following the standalone server installation.

Then, on the Chef Infra Server:

  1. Create a ‘workflow’ user on the Chef Infra Server:

    sudo chef-server-ctl user-create workflow workflow user workflow
  2. Creating a user in previous step displays a private key to stdout. Copy this content and and save it on the Chef Automate server as: /hab/svc/automate-workflow-server/var/etc/delivery.pem

  3. If this is a new Chef Infra Server, create an organization on the Chef Infra Server with:

    `sudo chef-server-ctl org-create workflow workflow
  4. Add the ‘workflow’ user as an admin to the Chef Infra Server organization that you created when setting up your Chef Infra Server:

    sudo chef-server-ctl org-user-add my-chef-org workflow --admin

Configure the Chef Automate Server

  1. Set up your Chef Automate server to communicate with your Chef Infra Server by creating a workflow.toml:

    url = ""
    web_ui_url = ""
    chef_user = "workflow"

    The FQDN saved in the workflow.toml on the Chef Automate Server must match the FQDN of the Chef Infra Server (find it by entering hostname --fqdn into your Chef Infra Server terminal) or you will have SSL certificate failures later in this process.

    For example, if running hostname --fqdn from your Automate server command line returns automate-test, then that hostname will need to be in the local dns configuration on your workstation.

    For example, /etc/hosts would contain a line like:    automate-test
  2. Apply the configuration:

    chef-automate config patch workflow.toml

Login to the Web UI

  1. Navigate to https://automate-test on your workstation
  2. Login as admin, using the password from the automate-credentials.toml file that was created on your Automate server with chef-automate deploy


Access Workflow by opening the Client Runs tab and then selecting Workflow on the left navigation panel.

Selecting Workflow opens the legacy Workflow screen.

Create an Organization

  1. From the Workflow UI, select Workflow Orgs on the left
  2. Select New Workflow Org
  3. Enter an organization name, for example, “testing”, and select Save & Close

Set a Workflow Admin SSH Key

  1. From the Workflow UI, select the Admin tab on top
  2. Select the edit button for the admin user
  3. Enter a first and last name, and an email address
  4. Paste your ssh public key into the SSH KEY field
  5. Select Save & Close

Configure Runners

On the Runner

  1. Create another VM that is also accessible from your Automate 2.0 environment.

  2. Create a new user on the VM, for example, “workflow”

      sudo useradd workflow -G sudo --create-home
  3. Let new user to use sudo without entering a password, by putting the new user into the sudo group and ensuring this line exists at the end of /etc/sudoers

  4. Copy the SSH public key from the /hab/svc/automate-workflow-server/var/etc/ file that was made during the enterprise creation step on the Automate server to the /home/workflow/.ssh/authorized_keys file on the new VM.

  5. Confirm the hostname and IP addresses of the Chef Automate server and the Chef Infra Servers in /etc/hosts

    For example, /etc/hosts would contain lines like:    automate-test   chef-infra-server

On the Automate 2 server

  1. From the command line, run:

    workflow-ctl install-runner my.vm.hostname.or.ip.address workflow -i /hab/svc/automate-workflow-server/var/etc/builder_key
  2. Open Automate in a web browser, then select the Client Runs tab, and finally, select Workflow on the menu on the left.

  3. Select Runners from the navbar

  4. Select Manage Runners from the page

  5. You should see your newly installed runner, select the TEST button

Creating a Pipeline

  1. Download the latest stable release ChefDK.

  2. Create a new directory, for example, delivery-test, and move into that directory:

    mkdir delivery-test
    cd delivery-test
  3. Initialize the repository with:

    git init
  4. Setup the pipeline, using values from your own system:

    delivery setup --ent=demo --org=testing --user=admin --server=automate-test --a2-mode
    1. Replace “demo” with the name created in workflow-ctl create-enterprise
    2. Replace “testing” with the name of the organization you created in Workflow
    3. The user should remain admin
  5. Confirm that you’re logged into the Workflow UI in your web browser

  6. Run delivery init --a2-mode

  7. It will prompt for a token and open your web browser. Select copy on the page that displays the token. Return to your shell and paste the token.



For clarity, we renamed automate-ctl command workflow-ctl. Resolve the following error message:

level=error msg="Converge failed" error="failed to binlink
command "automate-ctl" in pkg "chef/automate-workflow-ser
ver/2.8.31 20181207185527" into /bin\nxxx\nxxx
'automate-ctl' was not found under any 'PATH' directories
in the chef automate-workflow-server/2.8.31/20181207185527
package\nxxx\n: exit status 1"

by making a manual binlink to the new workflow-ctl binary with:

$ hab pkg binlink chef/automate-workflow-server workflow-ctl -f

Public Key Error

If delivery init --a2-mode results in:

Chef Delivery
Creating Delivery project...
  Skipping: Delivery project named wftest already exists.
Setting up the 'delivery' git remote...
  Skipping: The delivery git remote is up-to-date.
Pushing initial git history...
\The authenticity of host '[a2-dev.test]:8989
([]:8989)' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?|-\-
Git command failed!
STDERR: Warning: Permanently added '[a2-dev.test]:8989'
(RSA) to the list of known hosts.
admin@automate@a2-dev.test: Permission denied (publickey).
fatal: Could not read from remote repository.

Please make sure you have the correct access rights
and the repository exists.

You may need to add the private key associated with the ssh public key for the Workflow admin in the UI:

ssh-add -K ~/.ssh/<ssh private key>

Known Issues

  • Authentication times out after three minutes if you don’t keep a browser window open on Chef Automate.

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