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Chef Backend Release Notes


Chef Backend is deprecated and no longer under active development. Contact your Chef account representative for information about migrating to Chef Automate HA.

Chef Backend 3.1.1

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an issue where new nodes would fail to join a backend cluster installed with Chef Backend 3.0.0 (#770).


OpenJDK 11.0.14

Updated OpenJDK from 11.0.13 to 11.0.14 to resolve the following CVEs:

  • CVE-2022-21248: Enhance cross VM serialization
  • CVE-2022-21283: Better String matching
  • CVE-2022-21291: Better verification of scan methods
  • CVE-2022-21293: Improve String constructions
  • CVE-2022-21294: Enhance construction of Identity maps
  • CVE-2022-21282: Better resolution of URIs
  • CVE-2022-21296: Improve SAX Parser configuration management
  • CVE-2022-21299: Improved scanning of XML entities
  • CVE-2022-21277: Improve TIFF file handling
  • CVE-2022-21305: Better array indexing
  • CVE-2022-21340: Verify Jar Verification
  • CVE-2022-21341: Improve serial forms for transport
  • CVE-2022-21360: Enhance BMP image support
  • CVE-2022-21365: Enhanced BMP processing

Chef Backend 3.0.0


Elasticsearch 6.8.23

Updated Elasticsearch from 5.6.16 to 6.8.23. This new version of Elasticsearch improves performance, reliability, and adds many new capabilities. Additionally, the 5.6.16 release of Elasticsearch is no longer supported by Elastic and does not receive security updates.

Elasticsearch 6.8.23 resolves multiple CVEs and updates Log4j to 2.17.1, which resolves CVE-2021-44832, CVE-2021-45105, CVE-2021-45046, and CVE-2021-44228. While Elastic has stated that Elasticsearch is not vulnerable to these CVEs, we realize many organizations have internal requirements to upgrade legacy Log4j installations.


You can upgrade to Chef Backend 3.0.0 directly from version 2.1.0 or later using a rolling upgrade where one Chef Backend node is upgraded at a time. It does not require a complete cluster shutdown to perform the upgrade. See the upgrade matrix below and our Chef Backend upgrade documentation for additional information.

Upgrade WorkflowMethod
1.x -> 2.xMajor version upgrade
2.0.x -> 2.xRolling upgrade
2.1 and later -> 3.0Rolling upgrade
2.0 -> 3.0Direct upgrades are not supported at this time. You can upgrade to an intermediate version and then to 3.0.0. For example, 2.0.1 -> 2.3.16 -> 3.0.0. Both of these steps would be rolling upgrades that do not require downtime.

Chef Backend 2.3.16


  • Chef Infra Client, which is used in the chef-backend-ctl reconfigure command, has been updated from 15.x to 16.17 to resolve EOL warnings when running.


  • chef-backend-ctl backup no longer backs up the Elasticsearch cluster to speed up backup times. Users restoring a backed-up cluster can instead run chef-server-ctl reindex --all from a frontend node to generate new data in Elasticsearch.


Newly Supported Platforms

We now produce Chef Backend packages for SLES 15, Amazon Linux 2, and Ubuntu 20.04.

Deprecated Platforms

Chef Backend packages are no longer produced for RHEL 6, as this platform is now end-of-life.

RPM Package Digests

Updated the file digest in Chef Backend RPM packages from MD5 to SHA256 to prevent failures from installing on some FIPS-enabled systems.


Log4j Mitigation

We mitigated the Log4j vulnerability outlined in CVE-2021-44228 by disabling message formatting within logging. Chef Backend is not vulnerable to this CVE in Log4j, but this avoids security concerns with this CVE.

Ruby 2.7.5

Updated Ruby from 2.6.5 to 2.7.5 for improved performance and to resolve the following CVEs:

  • CVE-2021-41817
  • CVE-2021-41819
  • CVE-2021-31810
  • CVE-2021-32066
  • CVE-2021-31799
  • CVE-2020-25613
  • CVE-2021-28965
  • CVE-2020-10663
  • CVE-2020-10933

OpenSSL 1.0.2zb

Updated OpenSSL from 1.0.2v to 1.0.2zb to resolve issues with Let’s Encrypt certificates and to resolve the following CVEs:

  • CVE-2021-3712
  • CVE-2021-23841
  • CVE-2021-23840
  • CVE-2021-23839
  • CVE-2020-1971
  • CVE-2020-1968

OpenJDK 11.0.13+8

Updated OpenJDK from 11.0.7+10 to 11.0.13+8 to resolve the following CVEs:

  • CVE-2021-35550
  • CVE-2021-35565
  • CVE-2021-35556
  • CVE-2021-35559
  • CVE-2021-35561
  • CVE-2021-35564
  • CVE-2021-35567
  • CVE-2021-35578
  • CVE-2021-35586
  • CVE-2021-35603
  • CVE-2021-2341
  • CVE-2021-2369
  • CVE-2021-2388
  • CVE-2021-2163
  • CVE-2021-2161
  • CVE-2020-14779
  • CVE-2020-14781
  • CVE-2020-14782
  • CVE-2020-14792
  • CVE-2020-14796
  • CVE-2020-14797
  • CVE-2020-14798
  • CVE-2020-14803

PostgreSQL 9.5.25

Updated PostgreSQL from 9.5.19 to 9.5.25 to resolve the following CVEs:

  • CVE-2020-14350
  • CVE-2020-25695
  • CVE-2020-25694
  • CVE-2020-25696

Chef Backend 2.2.0


Improve Health Checker

The health checker has been modified to reduce the number of unnecessary fail-overs. Changes to the health checker include:

  • The PostgreSQL health-check makes fewer calls to PostgreSQL
  • All PostgreSQL failures are subject to health check retries (bug fix)
  • Removed the etcd health-check because the main leader election detects etcd failures first

ionice Configuration Options

New ionice settings for controlling the disk input/output scheduling class and set priority for the etcd process have been added. etcd.ionice.class and etcd.ionice.level settings with the default values of 2 and 0 respectively. The default values mirror the current system defaults on Linux.

Leader Endpoint Caching

The /leader endpoint now serves a locally cached response. This should reduce the possibility of timeouts returned to clients polling the /leader endpoint. The Chef Infra Server polls the /leader endpoint, and thus we believe this change will reduce some Chef Backend outages that resulted from /leader request timeouts.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed PostgreSQL validator problem that prevented join-cluster from running to completion

Component Updates

Chef Infra Client 15.12.22

The embedded Chef Infra Client used for Chef Backend configuration has been updated from 14.14.25 to 15.12.22

Ruby 2.6.5

Ruby has been updated from 2.5.7 to 2.6.5 for improved performance.

Chef Backend 2.1.0



We have moved from OracleJDK to AdoptOpenJDK. Oracle has changed its license on newer versions of the JDK. The OpenJDK project is delivering security updates in a version with a more open-source-friendly licensing policy.

Increased Elasticsearch Memory Allocation

Elasticsearch is now allocated 1/3rd of available memory up to 32GB instead of 1/4th. Elasticsearch recommends using 1/2 of the available system memory, up to 32GB. We slightly reduced the allocated memory to allow room for other Chef Backend services.

Component Updates

Erlang 18.3

The Erlang language used to build Chef Backend has been updated from 18.2 to 18.3 to improve reliability.

Etcd 2.3.8

Etcd has been updated from 2.3.7 to 2.3.8 to resolve bugs.

Chef Infra Client 14.14.25

The embedded Chef Infra Client that configures Chef Backend has been updated from 14.11.21 to 14.14.25

Security Fixes

Elasticsearch 5.6.16

Elasticsearch has been updated from 5.4.1 to 5.6.16 to resolve a large number of bugs, improve performance, and resolve the following CVEs:

  • CVE-2017-8442
  • CVE-2019-7611

Ruby 2.5.7

Ruby has been updated from 2.4.4 to 2.5.7 for performance improvements, bug fixes, and to resolve the following CVEs:

  • CVE-2012-6708
  • CVE-2015-9251
  • CVE-2018-16395
  • CVE-2018-16396
  • CVE-2019-15845
  • CVE-2019-16201
  • CVE-2019-16254
  • CVE-2019-16255
  • CVE-2019-8320
  • CVE-2019-8321
  • CVE-2019-8322
  • CVE-2019-8323
  • CVE-2019-8324
  • CVE-2019-8325

PostgreSQL 9.5.19

PostgreSQL has been updated from 9.5.6 to 9.5.19 to resolve a large number of bugs and the following CVEs:

  • CVE-2017-12172
  • CVE-2017-15099
  • CVE-2017-7484
  • CVE-2017-7485
  • CVE-2017-7486
  • CVE-2017-7546
  • CVE-2017-7547
  • CVE-2017-7548
  • CVE-2018-1053
  • CVE-2018-1058
  • CVE-2018-10915
  • CVE-2018-10925
  • CVE-2019-10130
  • CVE-2019-10208


New Platforms

  • Added support for RHEL 8.


  • Removed support for Ubuntu 14.04.
  • Removed support for SLES 11.

Chef Backend 2.0.30


Backup Timeout Control

The backup command now includes a new --timeout flag that controls the timeout duration in seconds. This defaults to 600 seconds.

Cluster Status

The cluster status command now reports leaders that are blocked and leaders that are eligible.

Elasticsearch Temporary Files

Elasticsearch temporary files are now stored in /var/opt/chef-backend/elasticsearch/tmp. This value can be changed with a new elasticsearch['temp_directory'] configuration option.

Eleasticsearch tmp directory is not its own tmp directory.

Component Upgrades

Chef Infra Client 13.9.1

The embedded Chef Infra Client that configures Chef Backend has been updated from 13.3.42 to 13.9.1.


SSL Ciphers

Out-of-the-box SSL security has been improved by removing older and less secure SSL ciphers from the list of allowed SSL ciphers.

Ruby 2.4.4

Ruby has been updated from 2.3.5 to 2.4.4 to improve performance and to resolve the following CVEs:

  • CVE-2017-17405
  • CVE-2017-17742
  • CVE-2018-6914
  • CVE-2018-8777
  • CVE-2018-8778
  • CVE-2018-8779
  • CVE-2018-8780

Chef Backend 2.0.1

We’ve bumped the major version because of a breaking change in the upgrade procedure. Upgrading to this version will require full cluster downtime. Before upgrading, please see our guide to upgrading to Chef Backend 2.


Elasticsearch 5

We now ship Elasticsearch 5 by default. This requires a full cluster downtime during the upgrade. Please see the upgrade instructions for this release for details.

Improved Health Checking for demoted leaders

During demotion, the management service leaderl stops PostgreSQL. Previously this would result in all health checks for PostgreSQL failing, meaning the node could not resume leadership. Now, we track whether PostgreSQL is only down because of action taken by leaderl, allowing demoted leades to resume leadership in some cases.

Bug Fixes

EPMD fails on certain IPv6 configurations

This build should fix issues related to the Erlang Port Mapper Daemon (EMPD) failing to start in some EPMD configurations.

Security Fixes

Java 8u144

Updated the version of Java to 8u144 to address CVE-2017-3526.

Ruby 2.3.5

Update the version of Ruby to 2.3.5 to address multiple CVEs.

Chef Backend 1.4.6

Bug Fix

Update minimum_master_nodes on Elasticsearch node removal

This fixes an issue when removing nodes from the cluster would not adapt the minimum node count required for the Elasticsearch cluster managed by Chef Backend, leaving the cluster in an unrecoverable state.


Include disk status in health checks, and status output

When the available disk space for the log and data directories used by Chef Backend falls below a user-configurable value (default: 250MB). By default disk space failures are considered non-fatal for the purposes of leaderl health checks. That is, low disk space will not force a fail over. To make disk space failures fatal, set the following configuration option:

leaderl.health_check.fatal_system_checks true

The disk-space-related health status can be queried using:

chef-backend-ctl status disk

which is exposed via the status endpoint.

Improve robustness regarding EPMD

The Erlang Port Mapper Daemon (EMPD) is part of the Erlang runtime system. Typically, this service is started automatically by the first Erlang process to start on a machine. By promoting EPMD to a service under supervision the service will now appear in chef-backend-ctl status and will be restarted on failure.

Further, leaderl will now periodically attempt to re-register itself with EPMD if EPMD has failed.

Security Updates

Bump zlib to 1.2.11.

Chef Backend 1.3.2

The release is a bug-fix release.

Bug Fixes

  • Multiple bugs in the backup and restore process have been fixed. We recommend all users take a new backup after upgrading. See our documentation for information on how to backup and restore your Chef Infra Server.

  • The pgsql-promote function now waits up to 5 minutes for recovery.done to appear. Previously it would only wait 5 seconds.


  • Reduced flicker on slower terminals when rendering progress indicators.

Chef Backend 1.2.5

This release fixes a number of stability issues with 1.1.2. We recommend that all users of Chef Backend 1.1.2 and prior upgrade.


  • Fail follower health check if the node falls too far behind leader. This is configurable with the leaderl.health_check.max_bytes_behind_leader option.

  • The following etcd configuration options are now available for customization in /etc/chef-backend/chef-backend.rb:

    • etcd.election_timeout
    • etcd.heartbeat_interval
    • etcd.snapshot_count
  • Bump etcd to 2.3.7

  • Upgrade to postgresql 9.5.5

  • Health Checks can now fail up to a configurable number of times before triggering a failover. Users can configure the maximum failures for each service via the following configuration settings:

    • leaderl.health_check.max_elasticsearch_failures
    • leaderl.health_check.max_etcd_failures
    • leaderl.health_check.max_pgsql_failures

    If you have manually set these flags in chef-backend.rb, your overrides will still be respected. Please remove these options if you’d prefer to use the new defaults instead.

  • Add a --force-basebackup option to the pgsql-follow command. This allows for a more straightforward recovery procedure in cases where human intervention is needed.

  • Report 503 from /leaderl if a user-specified number of followers haven’t initiated replication connections.This is tunable with the leaderl.required_active_followers configuration option (default: 0)

  • No longer set shmmax sysctl’s as they are no longer required by postgresql 9.5. If you are upgrading from a previous installation, remember to remove postgresql.shmmax and postgresql.shmall from your chef-backend.rb.

  • Update configuration defaults based on customer feedback. We’ve changed the following configuration defaults:

    • leaderl.health_check.interval_seconds from 2 to 5 seconds.
    • leaderl.leaderl_ttl_seconds from 10 to 30.
    • etcd.heartbeat_interval from 100 to 500 milliseconds.
    • etcd.election_timeout from 1000 to 5000 milliseconds.

    The new defaults have proven to reduce spurious failovers when deploying Chef Backend to various cloud providers. If you have manually set these flags in chef-backend.rb, your overrides will still be respected. Please remove these options if you’d prefer to use the new defaults instead.

Bug Fixes

  • chef-server-ctl cluster-status shouldn’t fail because of missing leader key.

  • Force a checkpoint after promoting the local postgresql instance, avoiding some cases of postgresql followers failing to start syncrounous replication after a failover.

  • chef-backend-ctl restore shouldn’t fail with a NoMethodError.

  • Wait for postgresql to be started via a test connection rather than a simple process check during the promotion and follow processes. This fixes a number of cases were postgresql would fail to promote during a failover event.

  • Ensure that the leader key keeps the leader key as long as it is still in the promoting state. This fixes some cases where the cluster would become leaderless after a failover event because the elected follower was slow to promote.

  • Don’t erroneously report etcd as down in chef-backend-ctl status in cases where etcd is up but there is no leaderl leader.

Chef Backend 1.1.2


  • cluster-status now shows which node a follower is following
  • It is now possible to clean up a partially added node with chef-backend-ctl remove-node.
  • Stability improvements in leader election

Bug Fixes

  • Ensure that elasticsearch uses the correct directory
  • Do not create recovery.conf on leader
  • Gracefully handle failover while syncing.
  • Retry etcd connections when chef-backend-ctl is waiting for leader.
  • in multi-IP hosts, only test the specified IP and not all.
  • Do not overwrite existing configuration
  • Other: Misc code cleanups

Chef Backend 1.0.9

This release does not have any release notes.

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