Install Chef Push Jobs

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Chef push jobs is installed to the following locations:

  • The same machine as the Chef server (version 12.6 or higher)
  • One (or more) nodes on which the chef-client (version 12 or higher) is installed
  • At least one management workstation

Install the Server

Use the chef-server-ctl install command to add Chef push jobs.

Install the Client

To set up the Chef push jobs client:

  1. Add the push-jobs cookbook to the run-list for each of the nodes on which Chef push jobs is to be configured.

  2. Add the following default attributes on all nodes that are managed by Chef push jobs:

    "push_jobs": {
      "package_url": "<package_url>",
      "package_checksum": "<checksum>"
  3. Run the chef-client to configure Chef push jobs

  4. Verify that the Chef push jobs client is running as a daemon or as a service:

    $ knife node status node_name

    for a specific node and:

    $ knife node status

    for all nodes.

Install the Workstation

To set up the Chef push jobs workstation, install the knife push jobs plugin by running the following command on a workstation:

chef gem install knife-push

Once installed, the following subcommands will be available: knife job list, knife job start, knife job output, knife job status, and knife node status.

push-jobs Cookbook

The push-jobs cookbook at is used by the chef-client to configure Chef push jobs as a client on a target node. This cookbook is also used to define the whitelist, which is a list of commands that Chef push jobs may execute when it runs. A command that is not in the whitelist will not be executed by Chef push jobs. The push-jobs cookbook should be managed like any other cookbook, i.e. “downloaded from GitHub, managed using version source control, and uploaded to the Chef server”. To manage nodes using Chef push jobs, add the push-jobs cookbook to the run-list for each node that will be managed using Chef push jobs.

The whitelist is defined using the node['push_jobs']['whitelist'] attribute located in the default attributes file:

default['push_jobs']['whitelist']   = {
     "job_name" => "command",
     "job_name" => "command",
     "chef-client" => "chef-client" }

where job_name represents each of the jobs that are defined in the whitelist and command is the command line that will be run on the target node. The chef-client job is the only job in the whitelist after the initial installation of Chef push jobs.

After the whitelist is defined, add the jobs to the client.rb file on each node that will be managed by Chef push jobs:

whitelist({ "job_name" => "command",
            "job_name" => "command",
            "chef-client" => "chef-client"

For example:

  "chef-client": "sudo chef-client",
  "chef_client_with_special_run_list": "sudo chef-client -o recipe[special_recipe]",
  "sv restart apache"

By default, any attempt to run a Chef push jobs command other than chef-client will be rejected with nack. For example:

$ knife job start some_command my_node

will return something similar to:

Started.  Job ID: 67079444838d123456f0c1ea614c1fcaa0f
command:     some_command
created_at:  Tue, 29 Oct 2013 21:22:59 GMT
id:          67079444425fdcdd0c1ea614c1fcaa0f
  nacked: my_node
run_timeout: 3600
status:      nacked
updated_at:  Tue, 29 Oct 2013 21:23:04 GMT

To add commands, simply append them to the whitelist for roles, environments, and nodes. For example, to set all of the nodes in the dev environment to accept a Chef push jobs command to restart Apache, run the following command:

$ knife edit environments/dev.json

and then update the default attributes to include something like:

  "name": "dev",
  "description": "The development environment",
  "default_attributes": {
    "push_jobs": {
      "whitelist": {
        "chef-client": "chef-client",
        "chef_client_with_special_run_list": "sudo chef-client -o recipe[special_recipe]",
        "restart_apache": "sv restart apache"

after which the following command can be run against nodes in the dev environment to restart Apache:

$ knife job start restart_apache NODE1 NODE2 ...

where NODE1 NODE2 ... defines a list of individual nodes against which that command is run.

Chef Push Jobs Groups

Chef push jobs is an extension of the Chef server that allows jobs to be run against nodes independently of a chef-client run. A job is an action or a command to be executed against a subset of nodes; the nodes against which a job is run are determined by the results of a search query made to the Chef server.

Chef push jobs uses the Chef server API and a Ruby client to initiate all connections to the Chef server. Connections use the same authentication and authorization model as any other request made to the Chef server. A knife plugin is used to initiate job creation and job tracking.


The Chef server uses role-based access control to define the organizations, groups, and users, including those needed by Chef push jobs.

It is possible to initiate jobs from the chef-client, such as from within a recipe based on an action to be determined as the recipe runs. For a chef-client to be able to create, initiate, or read jobs, the chef-client on which Chef push jobs is configured must belong to one (or both) of the following groups:

Group Description
pushy_job_readers Use to view the status of jobs.
pushy_job_writers Use to create and initiate jobs.

These groups do not exist by default, even after Chef push jobs has been installed to the Chef server. If these groups are not created, only members of the admin security group will be able to create, initiate, and view jobs.