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chef_handler resource

Resources Reference page


Use the chef_handler resource to enable handlers during a Chef Infra Client run. The resource allows arguments to be passed to Chef Infra Client, which then applies the conditions defined by the custom handler to the node attribute data collected during a Chef Infra Client run, and then processes the handler based on that data.

The chef_handler resource is typically defined early in a node’s run-list (often being the first item). This ensures that all of the handlers will be available for the entire Chef Infra Client run.

New in Chef Infra Client 14.0.

Handler Types

There are three types of handlers:

Handler Description
exception An exception handler is used to identify situations that have caused a Chef Infra Client run to fail. An exception handler can be loaded at the start of a Chef Infra Client run by adding a recipe that contains the chef_handler resource to a node's run-list. An exception handler runs when the failed? property for the run_status object returns true.
report A report handler is used when a Chef Infra Client run succeeds and reports back on certain details about that Chef Infra Client run. A report handler can be loaded at the start of a Chef Infra Client run by adding a recipe that contains the chef_handler resource to a node's run-list. A report handler runs when the success? property for the run_status object returns true.
start A start handler is used to run events at the beginning of a Chef Infra Client run. A start handler can be loaded at the start of a Chef Infra Client run by adding the start handler to the start_handlers setting in the client.rb file or by installing the gem that contains the start handler by using the chef_gem resource in a recipe in the chef-client cookbook. (A start handler may not be loaded using the chef_handler resource.)

Exception / Report

Exception and report handlers are used to trigger certain behaviors in response to specific situations, typically identified during a Chef Infra Client run.

  • An exception handler is used to trigger behaviors when a defined aspect of a Chef Infra Client run fails.
  • A report handler is used to trigger behaviors when a defined aspect of a Chef Infra Client run is successful.

Both types of handlers can be used to gather data about a Chef Infra Client run and can provide rich levels of data about all types of usage, which can be used later for trending and analysis across the entire organization.

Exception and report handlers are made available to a Chef Infra Client run in one of the following ways:

  • By adding the chef_handler resource to a recipe, and then adding that recipe to the run-list for a node. (The chef_handler resource is available from the chef_handler cookbook.)
  • By adding the handler to one of the following settings in the node’s client.rb file: exception_handlers and/or report_handlers

The chef_handler resource allows exception and report handlers to be enabled from within recipes, which can then added to the run-list for any node on which the exception or report handler should run. The chef_handler resource is available from the chef_handler cookbook.

To use the chef_handler resource in a recipe, add code similar to the following:

chef_handler 'name_of_handler' do
  source '/path/to/handler/handler_name'
  action :enable
end

For example, a handler for Growl needs to be enabled at the beginning of a Chef Infra Client run:

chef_gem 'chef-handler-growl'

and then is activated in a recipe by using the chef_handler resource:

chef_handler 'Chef::Handler::Growl' do
  source 'chef/handler/growl'
  action :enable
end

Start

A start handler is not loaded into a Chef Infra Client run from a recipe, but is instead listed in the client.rb file using the start_handlers attribute. The start handler must be installed on the node and be available to Chef Infra Client prior to the start of a Chef Infra Client run. Use the chef-client cookbook to install the start handler.

Start handlers are made available to a Chef Infra Client run in one of the following ways:

  • By adding a start handler to the chef-client cookbook, which installs the handler on the node so that it is available to Chef Infra Client at the start of a Chef Infra Client run
  • By adding the handler to one of the following settings in the node’s client.rb file: start_handlers

The chef-client cookbook can be configured to automatically install and configure gems that are required by a start handler. For example:

node.override['chef_client']['load_gems']['chef-reporting'] = {
  :require_name => 'chef_reporting',
  :action => :install
}

node.override['chef_client']['config']['start_handlers'] = [
  {
    :class => 'Chef::Reporting::StartHandler',
    :arguments => []
  }
]

include_recipe 'chef-client::config'

Syntax


A chef_handler resource block enables handlers during a chef-client run. Two handlers—JsonFile and ErrorReport—are built into Chef:

chef_handler 'Chef::Handler::JsonFile' do
  source 'chef/handler/json_file'
  arguments :path => '/var/chef/reports'
  action :enable
end

and:

chef_handler 'Chef::Handler::ErrorReport' do
  source 'chef/handler/error_report'
  action :enable
end

show how to enable those handlers in a recipe.

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

chef_handler 'name' do
  arguments       Array, Hash
  class_name      String # default value: 'name' unless specified
  source          String
  type            Hash # default value: { "report" => true, "exception" => true}
  action          Symbol # defaults to :enable if not specified
end

where:

  • chef_handler is the resource.
  • name is the name given to the resource block.
  • action identifies which steps Chef Infra Client will take to bring the node into the desired state.
  • arguments, class_name, source, and type are the properties available to this resource.

Actions


The chef_handler resource has the following actions:

:disable
Disable the handler for the current chef-client run on the current node.
:enable
Enable the handler for the current chef-client run on the current node.
:nothing
This resource block does not act unless notified by another resource to take action. Once notified, this resource block either runs immediately or is queued up to run at the end of a Chef Infra Client run.

Properties


The chef_handler resource has the following properties:

arguments
Ruby Type: Array, Hash

An array of arguments that are passed to the initializer for the handler class. For example:

arguments :key1 => 'val1'

or:

arguments [:key1 => 'val1', :key2 => 'val2']

class_name
Ruby Type: String | Default Value: The resource block's name

The name of the handler class. This can be module name-spaced.

source
Ruby Type: String

The full path to the handler file or the path to a gem (if the handler ships as part of a Ruby gem).


Common Resource Functionality


Chef resources include common properties, notifications, and resource guards.

Common Properties

The following properties are common to every resource:

ignore_failure

Ruby Type: true, false | Default Value: false

Continue running a recipe if a resource fails for any reason.

retries

Ruby Type: Integer | Default Value: 0

The number of attempts to catch exceptions and retry the resource.

retry_delay

Ruby Type: Integer | Default Value: 2

The retry delay (in seconds).

sensitive

Ruby Type: true, false | Default Value: false

Ensure that sensitive resource data is not logged by Chef Infra Client.

Notifications

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 a Chef Infra 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 end of a Chef Infra 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
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 a Chef Infra 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 end of a Chef Infra 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

Guards

A guard property can be used to evaluate the state of a node during the execution phase of a Chef Infra Client run. Based on the results of this evaluation, a guard property is then used to tell Chef Infra Client if it should continue executing a resource. A guard property accepts either a string value or a Ruby block value:

  • A string is executed as a shell command. If the command returns 0, the guard is applied. If the command returns any other value, then the guard property is not applied. String guards in a powershell_script run Windows PowerShell commands and may return true in addition to 0.
  • A block is executed as Ruby code that must return either true or false. If the block returns true, the guard property is applied. If the block returns false, the guard property is not applied.

A guard property is useful for ensuring that a resource is idempotent by allowing that resource to test for the desired state as it is being executed, and then if the desired state is present, for Chef Infra Client to do nothing.

Properties

The following properties can be used to define a guard that is evaluated during the execution phase of a Chef Infra Client run:

not_if

Prevent a resource from executing when the condition returns true.

only_if

Allow a resource to execute only if the condition returns true.

Custom Handlers

A custom handler can be created to support any situation. The easiest way to build a custom handler:

  1. Download the chef_handler cookbook
  2. Create a custom handler
  3. Write a recipe using the chef_handler resource
  4. Add that recipe to a node’s run-list, often as the first recipe in that run-list

Syntax

The syntax for a handler can vary, depending on what the the situations the handler is being asked to track, the type of handler being used, and so on. All custom exception and report handlers are defined using Ruby and must be a subclass of the Chef::Handler class.

require 'chef/log'

module ModuleName
  class HandlerName < Chef::Handler
    def report
      # Ruby code goes here
    end
  end
end

where:

  • require ensures that the logging functionality of Chef Infra Client is available to the handler
  • ModuleName is the name of the module as it exists within the Chef library
  • HandlerName is the name of the handler as it is used in a recipe
  • report is an interface that is used to define the custom handler

For example, the following shows a custom handler that sends an email that contains the exception data when a Chef Infra Client run fails:

require 'net/smtp'

module OrgName
  class SendEmail < Chef::Handler
    def report
      if run_status.failed? then
        message  = "From: sender_name <sender@example.com>\n"
        message << "To: recipient_address <recipient@example.com>\n"
        message << "Subject: chef-client Run Failed\n"
        message << "Date: #{Time.now.rfc2822}\n\n"
        message << "Chef run failed on #{node.name}\n"
        message << "#{run_status.formatted_exception}\n"
        message << Array(backtrace).join('\n')
        Net::SMTP.start('your.smtp.server', 25) do |smtp|
          smtp.send_message message, 'sender@example', 'recipient@example'
        end
      end
    end
  end
end

and then is used in a recipe like:

send_email 'blah' do
  # recipe code
end

report Interface

The report interface is used to define how a handler will behave and is a required part of any custom handler. The syntax for the report interface is as follows:

def report
  # Ruby code
end

The Ruby code used to define a custom handler will vary significantly from handler to handler. Chef Infra Client includes two default handlers: error_report and json_file. Their use of the report interface is shown below.

The error_report handler:

require 'chef/handler'
require 'chef/resource/directory'

class Chef
  class Handler
    class ErrorReport < ::Chef::Handler
      def report
        Chef::FileCache.store('failed-run-data.json', Chef::JSONCompat.to_json_pretty(data), 0640)
        Chef::Log.fatal("Saving node information to #{Chef::FileCache.load('failed-run-data.json', false)}")
      end
    end
 end
end

The json_file handler:

require 'chef/handler'
require 'chef/resource/directory'

class Chef
  class Handler
    class JsonFile < ::Chef::Handler
      attr_reader :config
      def initialize(config={})
        @config = config
        @config[:path] ||= '/var/chef/reports'
        @config
      end
      def report
        if exception
          Chef::Log.error('Creating JSON exception report')
        else
          Chef::Log.info('Creating JSON run report')
        end
        build_report_dir
        savetime = Time.now.strftime('%Y%m%d%H%M%S')
        File.open(File.join(config[:path], 'chef-run-report-#{savetime}.json'), 'w') do |file|
          run_data = data
          run_data[:start_time] = run_data[:start_time].to_s
          run_data[:end_time] = run_data[:end_time].to_s
          file.puts Chef::JSONCompat.to_json_pretty(run_data)
        end
      end
      def build_report_dir
        unless File.exist?(config[:path])
          FileUtils.mkdir_p(config[:path])
          File.chmod(00700, config[:path])
        end
      end
    end
  end
end

Optional Interfaces

The following interfaces may be used in a handler in the same way as the report interface to override the default handler behavior in Chef Infra Client. That said, the following interfaces are not typically used in a handler and, for the most part, are completely unnecessary for a handler to work properly and/or as desired.

data

The data method is used to return the Hash representation of the run_status object. For example:

def data
  @run_status.to_hash
end

run_report_safely

The run_report_safely method is used to run the report handler, rescuing and logging errors that may arise as the handler runs and ensuring that all handlers get a chance to run during a Chef Infra Client run (even if some handlers fail during that run). In general, this method should never be used as an interface in a custom handler unless this default behavior simply must be overridden.

def run_report_safely(run_status)
  run_report_unsafe(run_status)
rescue Exception => e
  Chef::Log.error('Report handler #{self.class.name} raised #{e.inspect}')
  Array(e.backtrace).each { |line| Chef::Log.error(line) }
ensure
  @run_status = nil
end

run_report_unsafe

The run_report_unsafe method is used to run the report handler without any error handling. This method should never be used directly in any handler, except during testing of that handler. For example:

def run_report_unsafe(run_status)
  @run_status = run_status
  report
end

run_status Object

The run_status object is initialized by Chef Infra Client before the report interface is run for any handler. The run_status object keeps track of the status of a Chef Infra Client run and will contain some (or all) of the following properties:

Property Description
all_resources A list of all resources that are included in the resource_collection property for the current Chef Infra Client run.
backtrace A backtrace associated with the uncaught exception data that caused a Chef Infra Client run to fail, if present; nil for a successful Chef Infra Client run.
elapsed_time The amount of time between the start (start_time) and end (end_time) of a Chef Infra Client run.
end_time The time at which a Chef Infra Client run ended.
exception The uncaught exception data which caused a Chef Infra Client run to fail; nil for a successful Chef Infra Client run.
failed? Show that a Chef Infra Client run has failed when uncaught exceptions were raised during a Chef Infra Client run. An exception handler runs when the failed? indicator is true.
node The node on which a Chef Infra Client run occurred.
run_context An instance of the Chef::RunContext object; used by Chef Infra Client to track the context of the run; provides access to the cookbook_collection, resource_collection, and definitions properties.
start_time The time at which a Chef Infra Client run started.
success? Show that a Chef Infra Client run succeeded when uncaught exceptions were not raised during a Chef Infra Client run. A report handler runs when the success? indicator is true.
updated_resources A list of resources that were marked as updated as a result of a Chef Infra Client run.

Note

These properties are not always available. For example, a start handler runs at the beginning of Chef Infra Client run, which means that properties like end_time and elapsed_time are still unknown and will be unavailable to the run_status object.

Examples


The following examples demonstrate various approaches for using the chef_handler resource in recipes:

Enable the CloudkickHandler handler

The following example shows how to enable the CloudkickHandler handler, which adds it to the default handler path and passes the oauth key/secret to the handler’s initializer:

chef_handler "CloudkickHandler" do
  source "#{node['chef_handler']['handler_path']}/cloudkick_handler.rb"
  arguments [node['cloudkick']['oauth_key'], node['cloudkick']['oauth_secret']]
  action :enable
end

Enable handlers during the compile phase

chef_handler "Chef::Handler::JsonFile" do
  source "chef/handler/json_file"
  arguments :path => '/var/chef/reports'
  action :nothing
end.run_action(:enable)

Handle only exceptions

chef_handler "Chef::Handler::JsonFile" do
  source "chef/handler/json_file"
  arguments :path => '/var/chef/reports'
  supports :exception => true
  action :enable
end

Cookbook Versions (a custom handler)

Community member juliandunn created a custom report handler that logs all of the cookbooks and cookbook versions that were used during a Chef Infra Client run, and then reports after the run is complete. This handler requires the chef_handler resource (which is available from the chef_handler cookbook).

cookbook_versions.rb:

The following custom handler defines how cookbooks and cookbook versions that are used during a Chef Infra Client run will be compiled into a report using the Chef::Log class in Chef Infra Client:

require 'chef/log'

module Opscode
  class CookbookVersionsHandler < Chef::Handler

    def report
      cookbooks = run_context.cookbook_collection
      Chef::Log.info('Cookbooks and versions run: #{cookbooks.keys.map {|x| cookbooks[x].name.to_s + ' ' + cookbooks[x].version} }')
    end
  end
end

default.rb:

The following recipe is added to the run-list for every node on which a list of cookbooks and versions will be generated as report output after every Chef Infra Client run.

include_recipe 'chef_handler'

cookbook_file "#{node['chef_handler']['handler_path']}/cookbook_versions.rb" do
  source 'cookbook_versions.rb'
  owner 'root'
  group 'root'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

chef_handler 'Opscode::CookbookVersionsHandler' do
  source "#{node['chef_handler']['handler_path']}/cookbook_versions.rb"
  supports :report => true
  action :enable
end

This recipe will generate report output similar to the following:

[2013-11-26T03:11:06+00:00] INFO: Chef Run complete in 0.300029878 seconds
[2013-11-26T03:11:06+00:00] INFO: Running report handlers
[2013-11-26T03:11:06+00:00] INFO: Cookbooks and versions run: ["chef_handler 1.1.4", "cookbook_versions_handler 1.0.0"]
[2013-11-26T03:11:06+00:00] INFO: Report handlers complete

JsonFile Handler

The json_file handler is available from the chef_handler cookbook and can be used with exceptions and reports. It serializes run status data to a JSON file. This handler may be enabled in one of the following ways.

By adding the following lines of Ruby code to either the client.rb file or the solo.rb file, depending on how Chef Infra Client is being run:

require 'chef/handler/json_file'
report_handlers << Chef::Handler::JsonFile.new(:path => '/var/chef/reports')
exception_handlers << Chef::Handler::JsonFile.new(:path => '/var/chef/reports')

By using the chef_handler resource in a recipe, similar to the following:

chef_handler 'Chef::Handler::JsonFile' do
  source 'chef/handler/json_file'
  arguments :path => '/var/chef/reports'
  action :enable
end

After it has run, the run status data can be loaded and inspected via Interactive Ruby (IRb):

irb(main):002:0> require 'json' => true
irb(main):003:0> require 'chef' => true
irb(main):004:0> r = JSON.parse(IO.read('/var/chef/reports/chef-run-report-20110322060731.json')) => ... output truncated
irb(main):005:0> r.keys => ['end_time', 'node', 'updated_resources', 'exception', 'all_resources', 'success', 'elapsed_time', 'start_time', 'backtrace']
irb(main):006:0> r['elapsed_time'] => 0.00246

Register the JsonFile handler

chef_handler "Chef::Handler::JsonFile" do
  source "chef/handler/json_file"
  arguments :path => '/var/chef/reports'
  action :enable
end

ErrorReport Handler

The error_report handler is built into Chef Infra Client and can be used for both exceptions and reports. It serializes error report data to a JSON file. This handler may be enabled in one of the following ways.

By adding the following lines of Ruby code to either the client.rb file or the solo.rb file, depending on how Chef Infra Client is being run:

require 'chef/handler/error_report'
report_handlers << Chef::Handler::ErrorReport.new()
exception_handlers << Chef::Handler::ErrorReport.new()

By using the chef_handler resource in a recipe, similar to the following:

chef_handler 'Chef::Handler::ErrorReport' do
  source 'chef/handler/error_report'
  action :enable
end