remote_directory

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Use the remote_directory resource to incrementally transfer a directory from a cookbook to a node. The directory that is copied from the cookbook should be located under COOKBOOK_NAME/files/default/REMOTE_DIRECTORY. The remote_directory resource will obey file specificity.

Syntax

A remote_directory resource block transfers a directory from a cookbook to a node, and then assigns the permissions needed on that directory. For example:

remote_directory '/etc/apache2' do
  source 'apache2'
  owner 'root'
  group 'root'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

where

  • '/etc/apache2' specifies the directory
  • source specifies a directory in the current cookbook (use the cookbook property to specify a file that is in a different cookbook)
  • owner, group, and mode define the permissions

The full syntax for all of the properties that are available to the remote_directory resource is:

remote_directory 'name' do
  cookbook                   String
  files_backup               Integer, FalseClass
  files_group                String
  files_mode                 String
  files_owner                String
  group                      String, Integer
  inherits                   TrueClass, FalseClass
  mode                       String, Integer
  notifies                   # see description
  overwrite                  TrueClass, FalseClass
  owner                      String, Integer
  path                       String # defaults to 'name' if not specified
  provider                   Chef::Provider::Directory::RemoteDirectory
  purge                      TrueClass, FalseClass
  recursive                  TrueClass, FalseClass
  rights                     Hash
  source                     String
  subscribes                 # see description
  action                     Symbol # defaults to :create if not specified
end

where

  • remote_directory is the resource
  • name is the name of the resource block; when the path property is not specified, name is also the path to the directory, from the root
  • action identifies the steps the chef-client will take to bring the node into the desired state
  • cookbook, files_backup, files_group, files_mode, files_owner, group, inherits, mode, overwrite, owner, path, provider, recursive, rights, and source are properties of this resource, with the Ruby type shown. See “Properties” section below for more information about all of the properties that may be used with this resource.

Actions

This resource has the following actions:

:create
Default. Create a directory and/or the contents of that directory. If a directory or its contents already exist (but does not match), update that directory or its contents to match.
:create_if_missing
Create a directory and/or the contents of that directory, but only if it does not exist.
:delete
Delete a directory, including the contents of that directory.
:nothing
Define this resource block to do nothing until notified by another resource to take action. When this resource is notified, this resource block is either run immediately or it is queued up to be run at the end of the chef-client run.

Properties

This resource has the following properties:

cookbook

Ruby Type: String

The cookbook in which a file is located (if it is not located in the current cookbook). The default value is the current cookbook.

files_backup

Ruby Types: Integer, FalseClass

The number of backup copies to keep for files in the directory. Default value: 5.

files_group

Ruby Type: String

Configure group permissions for files. A string or ID that identifies the group owner by group name, including fully qualified group names such as domain\group or group@domain. If this value is not specified, existing groups remain unchanged and new group assignments use the default POSIX group (if available).

files_mode

Ruby Type: String

The octal mode for a file.

UNIX- and Linux-based systems: A quoted 3-5 character string that defines the octal mode that is passed to chmod. For example: '755', '0755', or 00755. If the value is specified as a quoted string, it works exactly as if the chmod command was passed. If the value is specified as an integer, prepend a zero (0) to the value to ensure that it is interpreted as an octal number. For example, to assign read, write, and execute rights for all users, use '0777' or '777'; for the same rights, plus the sticky bit, use 01777 or '1777'.

Microsoft Windows: A quoted 3-5 character string that defines the octal mode that is translated into rights for Microsoft Windows security. For example: '755', '0755', or 00755. Values up to '0777' are allowed (no sticky bits) and mean the same in Microsoft Windows as they do in UNIX, where 4 equals GENERIC_READ, 2 equals GENERIC_WRITE, and 1 equals GENERIC_EXECUTE. This property cannot be used to set :full_control. This property has no effect if not specified, but when it and rights are both specified, the effects are cumulative.

files_owner

Ruby Type: String

Configure owner permissions for files. A string or ID that identifies the group owner by user name, including fully qualified user names such as domain\user or user@domain. If this value is not specified, existing owners remain unchanged and new owner assignments use the current user (when necessary).

group

Ruby Types: Integer, String

Use to configure permissions for directories. A string or ID that identifies the group owner by group name, including fully qualified group names such as domain\group or group@domain. If this value is not specified, existing groups remain unchanged and new group assignments use the default POSIX group (if available).

ignore_failure

Ruby Types: TrueClass, FalseClass

Continue running a recipe if a resource fails for any reason. Default value: false.

inherits

Ruby Types: TrueClass, FalseClass

Microsoft Windows only. Whether a file inherits rights from its parent directory. Default value: true.

mode

Ruby Types: Integer, String

A quoted 3-5 character string that defines the octal mode. For example: '755', '0755', or 00755. If mode is not specified and if the directory already exists, the existing mode on the directory is used. If mode is not specified, the directory does not exist, and the :create action is specified, the chef-client assumes a mask value of '0777', and then applies the umask for the system on which the directory is to be created to the mask value. For example, if the umask on a system is '022', the chef-client uses the default value of '0755'.

The behavior is different depending on the platform.

UNIX- and Linux-based systems: A quoted 3-5 character string that defines the octal mode that is passed to chmod. For example: '755', '0755', or 00755. If the value is specified as a quoted string, it works exactly as if the chmod command was passed. If the value is specified as an integer, prepend a zero (0) to the value to ensure that it is interpreted as an octal number. For example, to assign read, write, and execute rights for all users, use '0777' or '777'; for the same rights, plus the sticky bit, use 01777 or '1777'.

Microsoft Windows: A quoted 3-5 character string that defines the octal mode that is translated into rights for Microsoft Windows security. For example: '755', '0755', or 00755. Values up to '0777' are allowed (no sticky bits) and mean the same in Microsoft Windows as they do in UNIX, where 4 equals GENERIC_READ, 2 equals GENERIC_WRITE, and 1 equals GENERIC_EXECUTE. This property cannot be used to set :full_control. This property has no effect if not specified, but when it and rights are both specified, the effects are cumulative.

notifies

Ruby Type: Symbol, ‘Chef::Resource[String]’

A resource may notify another resource to take action when its state changes. Specify a 'resource[name]', the :action that resource should take, and then the :timer for that action. A resource may notify more than one resource; use a notifies statement for each resource to be notified.

A timer specifies the point during the chef-client run at which a notification is run. The following timers are available:

:before
Specifies that the action on a notified resource should be run before processing the resource block in which the notification is located.
:delayed
Default. Specifies that a notification should be queued up, and then executed at the very end of the chef-client run.
:immediate, :immediately
Specifies that a notification should be run immediately, per resource notified.

The syntax for notifies is:

notifies :action, 'resource[name]', :timer
overwrite

Ruby Types: TrueClass, FalseClass

Overwrite a file when it is different. Default value: true.

owner

Ruby Types: Integer, String

Use to configure permissions for directories. A string or ID that identifies the group owner by user name, including fully qualified user names such as domain\user or user@domain. If this value is not specified, existing owners remain unchanged and new owner assignments use the current user (when necessary).

path

Ruby Type: String

The path to the directory. Using a fully qualified path is recommended, but is not always required. Default value: the name of the resource block See “Syntax” section above for more information.

provider

Ruby Type: Chef Class

Optional. Explicitly specifies a provider.

purge

Ruby Types: TrueClass, FalseClass

Purge extra files found in the target directory. Default value: false.

recursive

Ruby Types: TrueClass, FalseClass

Create or delete directories recursively. Default value: true; the chef-client must be able to create the directory structure, including parent directories (if missing), as defined in COOKBOOK_NAME/files/default/REMOTE_DIRECTORY.

retries

Ruby Type: Integer

The number of times to catch exceptions and retry the resource. Default value: 0.

retry_delay

Ruby Type: Integer

The retry delay (in seconds). Default value: 2.

rights

Ruby Types: Integer, String

Microsoft Windows only. The permissions for users and groups in a Microsoft Windows environment. For example: rights <permissions>, <principal>, <options> where <permissions> specifies the rights granted to the principal, <principal> is the group or user name, and <options> is a Hash with one (or more) advanced rights options.

source

Ruby Type: String

The base name of the source file (and inferred from the path property).

subscribes

Ruby Type: Symbol, ‘Chef::Resource[String]’

A resource may listen to another resource, and then take action if the state of the resource being listened to changes. Specify a 'resource[name]', the :action to be taken, and then the :timer for that action.

Note that subscribes does not apply the specified action to the resource that it listens to - for example:

file '/etc/nginx/ssl/example.crt' do
   mode '0600'
   owner 'root'
end

service 'nginx' do
   subscribes :reload, 'file[/etc/nginx/ssl/example.crt]', :immediately
end

In this case the subscribes property reloads the nginx service whenever its certificate file, located under /etc/nginx/ssl/example.crt, is updated. subscribes does not make any changes to the certificate file itself, it merely listens for a change to the file, and executes the :reload action for its resource (in this example nginx) when a change is detected.

A timer specifies the point during the chef-client run at which a notification is run. The following timers are available:

:before
Specifies that the action on a notified resource should be run before processing the resource block in which the notification is located.
:delayed
Default. Specifies that a notification should be queued up, and then executed at the very end of the chef-client run.
:immediate, :immediately
Specifies that a notification should be run immediately, per resource notified.

The syntax for subscribes is:

subscribes :action, 'resource[name]', :timer

Recursive Directories

The remote_directory resource can be used to recursively create the path outside of remote directory structures, but the permissions of those outside paths are not managed. This is because the recursive attribute only applies group, mode, and owner attribute values to the remote directory itself and any inner directories the resource copies.

A directory structure:

/foo
  /bar
    /baz

The following example shows a way create a file in the /baz directory:

remote_directory "/foo/bar/baz" do
  owner 'root'
  group 'root'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

But with this example, the group, mode, and owner attribute values will only be applied to /baz. Which is fine, if that’s what you want. But most of the time, when the entire /foo/bar/baz directory structure is not there, you must be explicit about each directory. For example:

%w[ /foo /foo/bar /foo/bar/baz ].each do |path|
  remote_directory path do
    owner 'root'
    group 'root'
    mode '0755'
  end
end

This approach will create the correct hierarchy—/foo, then /bar in /foo, and then /baz in /bar—and also with the correct attribute values for group, mode, and owner.

Example

This section contains a more detailed example of how the chef-client manages recursive directory structures:

  • A cookbook named cumbria that is used to build a website
  • A subfolder in the /files/default directory named /website
  • A file named index.html, which is the root page for the website
  • Directories within /website named /cities, /places, and /football, which contains pages about cities, places, and football teams
  • A directory named /images, which contains images

These files are placed in the /files/default directory in the cumbria cookbook, like this:

cumbria
  /files
    /default
      /website
        index.html
        /cities
          carisle.html
          kendal.html
          penrith.html
          windermere.html
        /football
          carisle_united.html
        /images
          carisle_united.png
          furness_abbey.png
          hadrians_wall.png
          kendal.png
        /places
          furness_abbey.html
          hadrians_wall.html

The remote_directory resource can be used to build a website using these files. This website is being run on an Apache web server. The resource would be similar to the following:

remote_directory "/var/www/html" do
  files_mode '0440'
  files_owner 'yan'
  mode '0770'
  owner 'hamilton'
  source "website"
end

When the chef-client runs, the remote_directory resource will tell the chef-client to copy the directory tree from the cookbook to the file system using the structure defined in cookbook:

/var
  /www
    /html
      index.html
      /cities
        carisle.html
        kendal.html
        penrith.html
        windermere.html
      /football
        carisle_united.html
      /images
        carisle_united.png
        furness_abbey.png
        hadrians_wall.png
        kendal.png
      /places
        furness_abbey.html
        hadrians_wall.html

The chef-client will manage the permissions of the entire directory structure below /html, for a total of 12 files and 4 directories. For example:

dr-xr-xr-x 2 root     root 4096 /var/www/html
dr--r----- 1 yan      root 4096 /var/www/html/index.html
drwxrwx--- 2 hamilton root 4096 /var/www/html/cities
dr--r----- 1 yan      root 4096 /var/www/html/cities/carlisle.html
dr--r----- 1 yan      root 4096 /var/www/html/cities/kendal.html
dr--r----- 1 yan      root 4096 /var/www/html/cities/penrith.html
dr--r----- 1 yan      root 4096 /var/www/html/cities/windermere.html
drwxrwx--- 2 hamilton root 4096 /var/www/html/football
dr--r----- 1 yan      root 4096 /var/www/html/football/carlisle_united.html
drwxrwx--- 2 hamilton root 4096 /var/www/html/images
dr--r----- 1 yan      root 4096 /var/www/html/images/carlisle_united/png
dr--r----- 1 yan      root 4096 /var/www/html/images/furness_abbey/png
dr--r----- 1 yan      root 4096 /var/www/html/images/hadrians_wall.png
dr--r----- 1 yan      root 4096 /var/www/html/images/kendal.png
drwxrwx--- 2 hamilton root 4096 /var/www/html/places
dr--r----- 1 yan      root 4096 /var/www/html/places/furness_abbey.html
dr--r----- 1 yan      root 4096 /var/www/html/places/hadrians_wall.html

Windows File Security

To support Microsoft Windows security, the template, file, remote_file, cookbook_file, directory, and remote_directory resources support the use of inheritance and access control lists (ACLs) within recipes.

Access Control Lists (ACLs)

The rights property can be used in a recipe to manage access control lists (ACLs), which allow permissions to be given to multiple users and groups. Use the rights property can be used as many times as necessary; the chef-client will apply them to the file or directory as required. The syntax for the rights property is as follows:

rights permission, principal, option_type => value

where

permission

Use to specify which rights are granted to the principal. The possible values are: :read, :write, read_execute, :modify, and :full_control.

These permissions are cumulative. If :write is specified, then it includes :read. If :full_control is specified, then it includes both :write and :read.

(For those who know the Microsoft Windows API: :read corresponds to GENERIC_READ; :write corresponds to GENERIC_WRITE; :read_execute corresponds to GENERIC_READ and GENERIC_EXECUTE; :modify corresponds to GENERIC_WRITE, GENERIC_READ, GENERIC_EXECUTE, and DELETE; :full_control corresponds to GENERIC_ALL, which allows a user to change the owner and other metadata about a file.)

principal
Use to specify a group or user name. This is identical to what is entered in the login box for Microsoft Windows, such as user_name, domain\user_name, or user_name@fully_qualified_domain_name. The chef-client does not need to know if a principal is a user or a group.
option_type

A hash that contains advanced rights options. For example, the rights to a directory that only applies to the first level of children might look something like: rights :write, 'domain\group_name', :one_level_deep => true. Possible option types:

Option Type Description
:applies_to_children Specify how permissions are applied to children. Possible values: true to inherit both child directories and files; false to not inherit any child directories or files; :containers_only to inherit only child directories (and not files); :objects_only to recursively inherit files (and not child directories).
:applies_to_self Indicates whether a permission is applied to the parent directory. Possible values: true to apply to the parent directory or file and its children; false to not apply only to child directories and files.
:one_level_deep Indicates the depth to which permissions will be applied. Possible values: true to apply only to the first level of children; false to apply to all children.

For example:

resource 'x.txt' do
  rights :read, 'Everyone'
  rights :write, 'domain\group'
  rights :full_control, 'group_name_or_user_name'
  rights :full_control, 'user_name', :applies_to_children => true
end

or:

rights :read, ['Administrators','Everyone']
rights :full_control, 'Users', :applies_to_children => true
rights :write, 'Sally', :applies_to_children => :containers_only, :applies_to_self => false, :one_level_deep => true

Some other important things to know when using the rights attribute:

  • Only inherited rights remain. All existing explicit rights on the object are removed and replaced.
  • If rights are not specified, nothing will be changed. The chef-client does not clear out the rights on a file or directory if rights are not specified.
  • Changing inherited rights can be expensive. Microsoft Windows will propagate rights to all children recursively due to inheritance. This is a normal aspect of Microsoft Windows, so consider the frequency with which this type of action is necessary and take steps to control this type of action if performance is the primary consideration.

Use the deny_rights property to deny specific rights to specific users. The ordering is independent of using the rights property. For example, it doesn’t matter if rights are granted to everyone is placed before or after deny_rights :read, ['Julian', 'Lewis'], both Julian and Lewis will be unable to read the document. For example:

resource 'x.txt' do
  rights :read, 'Everyone'
  rights :write, 'domain\group'
  rights :full_control, 'group_name_or_user_name'
  rights :full_control, 'user_name', :applies_to_children => true
  deny_rights :read, ['Julian', 'Lewis']
end

or:

deny_rights :full_control, ['Sally']

Inheritance

By default, a file or directory inherits rights from its parent directory. Most of the time this is the preferred behavior, but sometimes it may be necessary to take steps to more specifically control rights. The inherits property can be used to specifically tell the chef-client to apply (or not apply) inherited rights from its parent directory.

For example, the following example specifies the rights for a directory:

directory 'C:\mordor' do
  rights :read, 'MORDOR\Minions'
  rights :full_control, 'MORDOR\Sauron'
end

and then the following example specifies how to use inheritance to deny access to the child directory:

directory 'C:\mordor\mount_doom' do
  rights :full_control, 'MORDOR\Sauron'
  inherits false # Sauron is the only person who should have any sort of access
end

If the deny_rights permission were to be used instead, something could slip through unless all users and groups were denied.

Another example also shows how to specify rights for a directory:

directory 'C:\mordor' do
  rights :read, 'MORDOR\Minions'
  rights :full_control, 'MORDOR\Sauron'
  rights :write, 'SHIRE\Frodo' # Who put that there I didn't put that there
end

but then not use the inherits property to deny those rights on a child directory:

directory 'C:\mordor\mount_doom' do
  deny_rights :read, 'MORDOR\Minions' # Oops, not specific enough
end

Because the inherits property is not specified, the chef-client will default it to true, which will ensure that security settings for existing files remain unchanged.

Examples

The following examples demonstrate various approaches for using resources in recipes. If you want to see examples of how Chef uses resources in recipes, take a closer look at the cookbooks that Chef authors and maintains: https://github.com/chef-cookbooks.

Recursively transfer a directory from a remote location

# create up to 10 backups of the files
# set the files owner different from the directory
remote_directory '/tmp/remote_something' do
  source 'something'
  files_backup 10
  files_owner 'root'
  files_group 'root'
  files_mode '0644'
  owner 'nobody'
  group 'nobody'
  mode '0755'
end

Use with the chef_handler lightweight resource

The following example shows how to use the remote_directory resource and the chef_handler resource to reboot a handler named WindowsRebootHandler:

# the following code sample comes from the
# ``reboot_handler`` recipe in the ``windows`` cookbook:
# https://github.com/chef-cookbooks/windows

remote_directory node['chef_handler']['handler_path'] do
  source 'handlers'
  recursive true
  action :create
end

chef_handler 'WindowsRebootHandler' do
  source "#{node['chef_handler']['handler_path']}/windows_reboot_handler.rb"
  arguments node['windows']['allow_pending_reboots']
  supports :report => true, :exception => false
  action :enable
end