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Log Files

All logs generated by the Chef Infra Server can be found in /var/log/opscode. Each service enabled on the system also has a sub-directory in which service-specific logs are located, typically found in /var/log/opscode/service_name.

View Log Files

The Chef Infra Server has built-in support for easily tailing the logs that are generated. To view all the logs being generated on the Chef Infra Server, enter the following command:

chef-server-ctl tail

To view logs for a specific service:

chef-server-ctl tail SERVICENAME

where SERVICENAME should be replaced with the name of the service for which log files will be viewed.

tail Log Files

The tail subcommand is used to follow all of the Chef Infra Server logs for all services. This command can also be run for an individual service by specifying the name of the service in the command.

This subcommand has the following syntax:

chef-server-ctl tail SERVICE_NAME

where SERVICE_NAME represents the name of any service that is listed after running the service-list subcommand.

Another common approach to tailing the log files for a service is to use the system utility tail. For example:

tail -50f /var/log/opscode/opscode-erchef/current


Supervisor logs are created and managed directly by the service supervisor, and are automatically rotated when the current log file reaches 1,000,000 bytes. 10 log files are kept. The latest supervisor log is always located in /var/log/service_name/current and rotated logs have a filename starting with @ followed by a precise tai64n timestamp based on when the file was rotated.

Supervisor logs are available for the following services:

  • bifrost
  • bookshelf
  • elasticsearch
  • nginx
  • opscode-erchef
  • postgresql
  • redis

nginx, access

Nginx is an important entry point for data on the Chef Infra Server, which means that debugging efforts frequently start with analyzing the nginx service’s access.log file. This log contains every HTTP request made to the front-end machine and can be very useful when investigating request rates and usage patterns. The following is an example log entry: - - [12/Jul/2013:15:56:54 +0000] "GET
/organizations/exampleorg/data/firewall/nova_api HTTP/1.1" 200
"0.850" 452 "-" "Chef Client/0.10.2 (ruby-1.8.7-p302; ohai-0.6.4;
x86_64-linux; +" "" "200"
"0.849" "0.10.2" "version=1.0" ""
"2013-07-12T15:56:40Z" "2jmj7l5rSw0yVb/vlWAYkK/YBwk=" 985

where important fields in this log include:

  • The HTTP status code (200)
  • The IP address of the requesting client (
  • The timestamp ([12/Jul/2013:15:56:54 +0000])
  • The total request time ("0.850")
  • The request method (GET)
  • The request URL (/organizations/exampleorg/data/firewall/nova_api)

opscode-erchef, current

The opscode-erchef service’s current.log file contains a history of stack traces from major application crashes.

opscode-erchef, erchef

The opscode-erchef service’s erchef.log file contains a history of API requests that have been processed by Erchef. These logs can be rotated quickly, therefore it is generally best to sort them by date, and then find the most recently updated log file:

ls -lrt /var/log/opscode/opscode-erchef/erchef.log.*

The following is an example log entry:

2013-08-06T08:54:32Z erchef@ INFO org_name=srwjedoqqoypgmvafmoi; req_id=g3IAA2QAEGVyY2hlZkAx

where important fields in this log include:

  • The HTTP method (POST)
  • The HTTP path (/organizations/srwjedoqqoypgmvafmoi/environments)
  • The message ({created,<<"_default">>})
  • The organization name (org_name=srwjedoqqoypgmvafmoi)
  • The timestamp (2013-08-06T08:54:32Z)
  • The name of the user and/or Chef Infra Client which made the request (pivotal)

In addition, the log file may contain additional entries that detail the amounts of time spent interacting with other services:

  • rdbms_time (the time spent talking to the postgresql service)
  • req_time (the request time)
  • solr_time (the time spent talking to the opscode-solr service)


Application logs are created by the services directly, and may require log rotation policies to be applied based on organizational goals and the platform(s) on which the services are running.


The nginx service creates both supervisor and administrator logs. The administrator logs contain both access and error logs for each virtual host utilized by the Chef Infra Server. Each of the following logs require external log rotation.

/var/log/opscode/nginx/access.logThe Web UI and API HTTP access logs.
/var/log/opscode/nginx/error.logThe Web UI and API HTTP error logs.
/var/log/opscode/nginx/internal-account.access.logThe opscode-account internal load-balancer access logs.
/var/log/opscode/nginx/internal-account.error.logThe opscode-account internal load-balancer error logs.
/var/log/opscode/nginx/internal-authz.access.logThe opscode-authz internal load-balancer access logs.
/var/log/opscode/nginx/internal-authz.error.logThe opscode-authz internal load-balancer error logs.
/var/log/opscode/nginx/internal-chef.access.logThe opscode-chef and opscode-erchef internal load-balancer access logs.
/var/log/opscode/nginx/internal-chef.error.logThe opscode-chef and opscode-erchef internal load-balancer error logs.
/var/log/opscode/nginx/nagios.access.logThe nagios access logs.
/var/log/opscode/nginx/nagios.error.logThe nagios error logs.
/var/log/opscode/nginx/rewrite-port-80.logThe rewrite logs for traffic that uses HTTP instead of HTTPS.

To follow the logs for the service:

chef-server-ctl tail nginx

Read Log Files

The nginx access log format is as follows:

log_format opscode '$remote_addr - $remote_user [$time_local]  '
  '"$request" $status "$request_time" $body_bytes_sent '
  '"$http_referrer" "$http_user_agent" "$upstream_addr" '
  '"$upstream_status" "$upstream_response_time" "$http_x_chef_version" '
  '"$http_x_ops_sign" "$http_x_ops_userid" "$http_x_ops_timestamp" '
   '"$http_x_ops_content_hash" $request_length';

A sample log line: - - [17/Feb/2012:16:02:42 -0800]
  "GET /organizations/nginx/cookbooks HTTP/1.1" 200
  "0.346" 12 "-"
  "Chef Knife/0.10.4 (ruby-1.9.3-p0;
  "" "200" "0.339" "0.10.4"
  "version=1.0" "adam" "2012-02-18T00:02:42Z"
  "2jmj7l5rSw0yVb/vlWAYkK/YBwk=" 871

Field descriptions:

$remote_addrThe IP address of the client who made this request.
$remote_userThe HTTP basic auth user name of this request.
$time_localThe local time of the request.
$requestThe HTTP request.
$statusThe HTTP status code.
$request_timeThe time it took to service the request.
$body_bytes_sentThe number of bytes in the HTTP response body.
$http_referrerThe HTTP referrer.
$http_user_agentThe user agent of the requesting client.
$upstream_addrThe upstream reverse proxy used to service this request.
$upstream_statusThe upstream reverse proxy response status code.
$upstream_response_timeThe upstream reverse proxy response time.
$http_x_chef_versionThe version of Chef used to make this request.
$http_x_ops_signThe version of the authentication protocol.
$http_x_ops_useridThe client name that was used to sign this request.
$http_x_ops_timestampThe timestamp from when this request was signed.
$http_x_ops_content_hashThe hash of the contents of this request.
$request_lengthThe length of this request.
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