About Policy

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Policy maps business and operational requirements, process, and workflow to settings and objects stored on the Chef server:

  • Roles define server types, such as “web server” or “database server”
  • Environments define process, such as “dev”, “staging”, or “production”
  • Certain types of data—passwords, user account data, and other sensitive items—can be placed in data bags, which are located in a secure sub-area on the Chef server that can only be accessed by nodes that authenticate to the Chef server with the correct SSL certificates
  • The cookbooks (and cookbook versions) in which organization-specific configuration policies are maintained

Cookbook Versions

A cookbook version represents a set of functionality that is different from the cookbook on which it is based. A version may exist for many reasons, such as ensuring the correct use of a third-party component, updating a bug fix, or adding an improvement. A cookbook version is defined using syntax and operators, may be associated with environments, cookbook metadata, and/or run-lists, and may be frozen (to prevent unwanted updates from being made).

A cookbook version is maintained just like a cookbook, with regard to source control, uploading it to the Chef server, and how the chef-client applies that cookbook when configuring nodes.

Note

For more information about cookbook versions, see About Cookbook Versions

Data Bags (Secrets)

A data bag is a global variable that is stored as JSON data and is accessible from a Chef server. A data bag is indexed for searching and can be loaded by a recipe or accessed during a search.

Note

For more information about data bags, see About Data Bags

Environments

An environment is a way to map an organization’s real-life workflow to what can be configured and managed when using Chef server. Every organization begins with a single environment called the _default environment, which cannot be modified (or deleted). Additional environments can be created to reflect each organization’s patterns and workflow. For example, creating production, staging, testing, and development environments. Generally, an environment is also associated with one (or more) cookbook versions.

Note

For more information about environments, see About Environments

Roles

A role is a way to define certain patterns and processes that exist across nodes in an organization as belonging to a single job function. Each role consists of zero (or more) attributes and a run-list. Each node can have zero (or more) roles assigned to it. When a role is run against a node, the configuration details of that node are compared against the attributes of the role, and then the contents of that role’s run-list are applied to the node’s configuration details. When a chef-client runs, it merges its own attributes and run-lists with those contained within each assigned role.

Note

For more information about roles, see About Roles

Policyfile

Note

Policyfile file is an optional way to manage role, environment, and community cookbook data.

Policyfile is a single document that is uploaded to the Chef server. It is associated with a group of nodes, cookbooks, and settings. When these nodes run, they run the recipes specified in the Policyfile run-list.

Warning

Policyfile is not integrated with Chef Automate and is not supported as part of a Chef Automate workflow.

Note

For more information about Policyfile, see About Policyfile