Skip to main content

[edit on GitHub]

Search indexes allow queries to be made for any type of data that is indexed by the Chef Infra Server, including data bags (and data bag items), environments, nodes, and roles. A defined query syntax is used to support search patterns like exact, wildcard, range, and fuzzy. A search is a full-text query that can be done from several locations, including from within a recipe, by using the search subcommand in knife, the search method in the Recipe DSL, the search box in the Chef management console, and by using the /search or /search/INDEX endpoints in the Chef Infra Server API. The search engine is based on Apache Solr and is run from the Chef Infra Server.

Use the knife search subcommand to run a search query for information that is indexed on a Chef Infra Server.

Syntax

This subcommand has the following syntax:

knife search INDEX SEARCH_QUERY

where INDEX is one of client, environment, node, role, or the name of a data bag and SEARCH_QUERY is the search query syntax for the query that will be executed.

INDEX is implied if omitted, and will default to node. For example:

knife search '*:*' -i

will return something similar to:

8 items found

centos-62-dev
opensuse-15
ubuntu-1604-dev
ubuntu-1804-orgtest
ubuntu-1804-ohai-test
ubuntu-1804-ifcfg-test
ohai-test
win2k19-dev

and is the same search as:

knife search node '*:*' -i

If the SEARCH_QUERY does not contain a colon character (:), then the default query pattern is tags:*#{@query}* OR roles:*#{@query}* OR fqdn:*#{@query}* OR addresses:*#{@query}*, which means the following two search queries are effectively the same:

knife search ubuntu

or:

knife search node "tags:*ubuntu* OR roles:*ubuntu* OR fqdn:*ubuntu* (etc.)"

Query Syntax

A search query is comprised of two parts: the key and the search pattern. A search query has the following syntax:

key:search_pattern

where key is a field name that is found in the JSON description of an indexable object on the Chef Infra Server (a role, node, client, environment, or data bag) and search_pattern defines what will be searched for, using one of the following search patterns: exact, wildcard, range, or fuzzy matching. Both key and search_pattern are case-sensitive; key has limited support for multiple character wildcard matching using an asterisk ("*") (and as long as it is not the first character).

Keys

A field name/description pair is available in the JSON object. Use the field name when searching for this information in the JSON object. Any field that exists in any JSON description for any role, node, Chef Infra Client, environment, or data bag can be searched.

To search for the available fields for a particular object, use the show argument with any of the following knife subcommands: knife client, knife data bag, knife environment, knife node, or knife role. For example: knife data bag show.

Nested Fields

A nested field appears deeper in the JSON data structure. For example, information about a network interface might be several layers deep: node['network']['interfaces']['en1']. When nested fields are present in a JSON structure, Chef Infra Client will extract those nested fields to the top-level, flattening them into compound fields that support wildcard search patterns.

By combining wildcards with range-matching patterns and wildcard queries, it is possible to perform very powerful searches, such as using the vendor part of the MAC address to find every node that has a network card made by the specified vendor.

Consider the following snippet of JSON data:

{"network":
  [
  //snipped...
    "interfaces",
      {"en1": {
        "number": "1",
        "flags": [
          "UP",
          "BROADCAST",
          "SMART",
          "RUNNING",
          "SIMPLEX",
          "MULTICAST"
        ],
        "addresses": {
          "fe80::fa1e:dfff:fed8:63a2": {
            "scope": "Link",
            "prefixlen": "64",
            "family": "inet6"
          },
          "f8:1e:df:d8:63:a2": {
            "family": "lladdr"
          },
          "192.0.2.0": {
            "netmask": "255.255.255.0",
            "broadcast": "192.168.0.255",
            "family": "inet"
          }
        },
        "mtu": "1500",
        "media": {
          "supported": {
            "autoselect": {
              "options": [

              ]
            }
          },
          "selected": {
            "autoselect": {
              "options": [

              ]
            }
          }
        },
        "type": "en",
        "status": "active",
        "encapsulation": "Ethernet"
      },
  //snipped...

Before this data is indexed on the Chef Infra Server, the nested fields are extracted into the top level, similar to:

"broadcast" => "192.168.0.255",
"flags"     => ["UP", "BROADCAST", "SMART", "RUNNING", "SIMPLEX", "MULTICAST"]
"mtu"       => "1500"

which allows searches like the following to find data that is present in this node:

node "broadcast:192.168.0.*"

or:

node "mtu:1500"

or:

node "flags:UP"

This data is also flattened into various compound fields, which follow the same pattern as the JSON hierarchy and use underscores (_) to separate the levels of data, similar to:

# ...snip...
"network_interfaces_en1_addresses_192.0.2.0_broadcast" => "192.168.0.255",
"network_interfaces_en1_addresses_fe80::fa1e:tldr_family"  => "inet6",
"network_interfaces_en1_addresses"                         => ["fe80::fa1e:tldr","f8:1e:df:tldr","192.0.2.0"]
# ...snip...

which allows searches like the following to find data that is present in this node:

node "network_interfaces_en1_addresses:192.0.2.0"

This flattened data structure also supports using wildcard compound fields, which allow searches to omit levels within the JSON data structure that are not important to the search query. In the following example, an asterisk (*) is used to show where the wildcard can exist when searching for a nested field:

"network_interfaces_*_flags"     => ["UP", "BROADCAST", "SMART", "RUNNING", "SIMPLEX", "MULTICAST"]
"network_interfaces_*_addresses" => ["fe80::fa1e:dfff:fed8:63a2", "192.0.2.0", "f8:1e:df:d8:63:a2"]
"network_interfaces_en0_media_*" => ["autoselect", "none", "1000baseT", "10baseT/UTP", "100baseTX"]
"network_interfaces_en1_*"       => ["1", "UP", "BROADCAST", "SMART", "RUNNING", "SIMPLEX", "MULTICAST",
                                     "fe80::fa1e:dfff:fed8:63a2", "f8:1e:df:d8:63:a2", "192.0.2.0",
                                     "1500", "supported", "selected", "en", "active", "Ethernet"]

For each of the wildcard examples above, the possible values are shown contained within the brackets. When running a search query, the query syntax for wildcards is to simply omit the name of the node (while preserving the underscores), similar to:

network_interfaces__flags

This query will search within the flags node, within the JSON structure, for each of UP, BROADCAST, SMART, RUNNING, SIMPLEX, and MULTICAST.

Examples

To see the available keys for a node, enter the following (for a node named staging):

knife node show staging -Fj | less

to return a full JSON description of the node and to view the available keys with which any search query can be based.

To use a question mark (?) to replace a single character in a wildcard search, enter the following:

knife search node 'platfor?:ubuntu'

To use an asterisk (*) to replace zero (or more) characters in a wildcard search, enter the following:

knife search node 'platfo*:ubuntu'

To find all IP address that are on the same network, enter the following:

knife search node 'ipaddress:192.168*'

where 192.168* is the network address for which the search will be run.

To use a range search to find IP addresses within a subnet, enter the following:

knife search node 'ipaddress:[192.168.0.* TO 192.0.2.*]'

where 192.168.0.* TO 192.0.2.* defines the subnet range.

About Patterns

A search pattern is a way to fine-tune search results by returning anything that matches some type of incomplete search query. There are four types of search patterns that can be used when searching the search indexes on the Chef Infra Server: exact, wildcard, range, and fuzzy.

Exact Matching

An exact matching search pattern is used to search for a key with a name that exactly matches a search query. If the name of the key contains spaces, quotes must be used in the search pattern to ensure the search query finds the key. The entire query must also be contained within quotes, so as to prevent it from being interpreted by Ruby or a command shell. The best way to ensure that quotes are used consistently is to quote the entire query using single quotes (’ ‘) and a search pattern with double quotes (” “).

To search in a specific data bag for a specific data bag item, enter the following:

knife search admins 'id:charlie'

where admins is the name of the data bag and charlie is the name of the data bag item. Something similar to the following will be returned:

1 items found
_rev:       1-39ff4099f2510f477b4c26bef81f75b9
chef_type:  data_bag_item
comment:    Charlie the Unicorn
data_bag:   admins
gid:        ops
id:         charlie
shell:      /bin/zsh
uid:        1005

To search in a specific data bag using a string to find any matching data bag item, enter the following:

knife search admins 'comment:"Charlie the Unicorn"'

where admins is the name of the data bag and Charlie the Unicorn is the string that will be used during the search. Something similar to the following will be returned:

1 items found
_rev:       1-39ff4099f2510f477b4c26bef81f75b9
chef_type:  data_bag_item
comment:    Charlie the Unicorn
data_bag:   admins
gid:        ops
id:         charlie
shell:      /bin/zsh
uid:        1005

Wildcard Matching

A wildcard matching search pattern is used to query for substring matches that replace zero (or more) characters in the search pattern with anything that could match the replaced character. There are two types of wildcard searches:

  • A question mark (?) can be used to replace exactly one character (as long as that character is not the first character in the search pattern)
  • An asterisk (*) can be used to replace any number of characters (including zero)

To search for any node that contains the specified key, enter the following:

knife search node 'foo:*'

where foo is the name of the node.

To search for a node using a partial name, enter one of the following:

knife search node 'name:app*'

or:

knife search node 'name:app1*.example.com'

or:

knife search node 'name:app?.example.com'

or:

knife search node 'name:app1.example.???'

to return app1.example.com (and any other node that matches any of the string searches above).

Range Matching

A range matching search pattern is used to query for values that are within a range defined by upper and lower boundaries. A range matching search pattern can be inclusive or exclusive of the boundaries. Use square brackets ("[ ]") to denote inclusive boundaries and curly braces ("{ }") to denote exclusive boundaries and with the following syntax:

boundary TO boundary

where TO is required (and must be capitalized).

A data bag named sample contains four data bag items: abc, bar, baz, and quz. All of the items in-between bar and foo, inclusive, can be searched for using an inclusive search pattern.

To search using an inclusive range, enter the following:

knife search sample "id:[bar TO foo]"

where square brackets ([ ]) are used to define the range.

A data bag named sample contains four data bag items: abc, bar, baz, and quz. All of the items that are exclusive to bar and foo can be searched for using an exclusive search pattern.

To search using an exclusive range, enter the following:

knife search sample "id:{bar TO foo}"

where curly braces ({ }) are used to define the range.

Fuzzy Matching

A fuzzy matching search pattern is used to search based on the proximity of two strings of characters. An (optional) integer may be used as part of the search query to more closely define the proximity. A fuzzy matching search pattern has the following syntax:

"search_query"~edit_distance

where search_query is the string that will be used during the search and edit_distance is the proximity. A tilde ("~”) is used to separate the edit distance from the search query.

To use a fuzzy search pattern enter something similar to:

knife search client "name:boo~"

where boo~ defines the fuzzy search pattern. This will return something similar to:

{
  "total": 1,
  "start": 0,
  "rows": [
    {
      "public_key": "too long didn't read",
      "name": "foo",
      "_rev": "1-f11a58043906e33d39a686e9b58cd92f",
      "json_class": "Chef::ApiClient",
      "admin": false,
      "chef_type": "client"
    }
  ]
}

About Operators

An operator can be used to ensure that certain terms are included in the results, are excluded from the results, or are not included even when other aspects of the query match. Searches can use the following operators:

Operator Description
AND Use to find a match when both terms exist.
OR Use to find a match if either term exists.
NOT Use to exclude the term after NOT from the search results.

Operators must be in ALL CAPS. Parentheses can be used to group clauses and to form sub-queries.

Warning

Using AND NOT together may trigger an error. For example:

ERROR: knife search failed: invalid search query:
'datacenter%3A123%20AND%20NOT%20hostname%3Adev-%20AND%20NOT%20hostanem%3Asyslog-'
Parse error at offset: 38 Reason: Expected one of \ at line 1, column 42 (byte 42) after AND

Use - instead of NOT. For example:

knife search sample "id:foo AND -id:bar"

AND

To join queries using the AND boolean operator, enter the following:

knife search sample "id:b* AND animal:dog"

to return something like:

{
  "total": 1,
  "start": 0,
  "rows": [
    {
      "comment": "an item named baz",
      "id": "baz",
      "animal": "dog"
    }
  ]
}

Or, to find all of the computers running on the Microsoft Windows platform that are associated with a role named jenkins, enter:

knife search node 'platform:windows AND roles:jenkins'

to return something like:

2 items found

Node Name:   windows-server-2012r2.domain.com
Environment: _default
FQDN:        windows-server-2012r2
IP:          0000::0000:0000:0000:0000
Run List:    role[jenkins-windows]
Roles:       jenkins-windows, jenkins
Recipes:     jenkins-client::windows, jenkins::node_windows
Platform:    windows 6.3.9600
Tags:

Node Name:   123-windows-2012r2-amd64-builder
Environment: _default
FQDN:        ABC-1234567890AB
IP:          123.45.6.78
Run List:    role[123-windows-2012r2-amd64-builder]
Roles:       123-windows-2012r2-amd64-builder, jenkins
Recipes:     jenkins::node_windows, git_windows
Platform:    windows 6.3.9600
Tags:

NOT

To negate search results using the NOT boolean operator, enter the following:

knife search sample "(NOT id:foo)"

to return something like:

{
  "total": 4,
  "start": 0,
  "rows": [
    {
      "comment": "an item named bar",
      "id": "bar",
      "animal": "cat"
    },
    {
      "comment": "an item named baz",
      "id": "baz"
      "animal": "dog"
    },
    {
      "comment": "an item named abc",
      "id": "abc",
      "animal": "unicorn"
    },
    {
      "comment": "an item named qux",
      "id": "qux",
      "animal", "penguin"
    }
  ]
}

OR

To join queries using the OR boolean operator, enter the following:

knife search sample "id:foo OR id:abc"

to return something like:

{
  "total": 2,
  "start": 0,
  "rows": [
    {
      "comment": "an item named foo",
      "id": "foo",
      "animal": "pony"
    },
    {
      "comment": "an item named abc",
      "id": "abc",
      "animal": "unicorn"
    }
  ]
}

Special Characters

A special character can be used to fine-tune a search query and to increase the accuracy of the search results. The following characters can be included within the search query syntax, but each occurrence of a special character must be escaped with a backslash (\), also (/) must be escaped against the Elasticsearch:

+  -  &&  | |  !  ( )  { }  [ ]  ^  "  ~  *  ?  :  \  /

For example:

\(1\+1\)\:2

Options

Note

Review the list of common options available to this (and all) knife subcommands and plugins.

This subcommand has the following options:

-a ATTR, --attribute ATTR

The attribute (or attributes) to show.

-b ROW, --start ROW

The row at which return results begin.

-f FILTER, --filter-result FILTER

Use to filter the search output based on the pattern that matches the specified FILTER. Only attributes in the FILTER will be returned. For example: \"ServerName=name, Kernel=kernel.version\.

-i, --id-only

Show only matching object IDs.

INDEX

The name of the index to be queried: client, environment, node, role, or DATA_BAG_NAME. Default index: node.

-l, --long

Display all attributes in the output and show the output as JSON.

-m, --medium

Display normal attributes in the output and to show the output as JSON.

-q SEARCH_QUERY, --query SEARCH_QUERY

Protect search queries that start with a hyphen (-). A -q query may be specified as an argument or an option, but not both.

-r, --run-list

Show only the run-list.

-R INT, --rows INT

The number of rows to be returned.

SEARCH_QUERY

The search query used to identify a list of items on a Chef Infra Server. This option uses the same syntax as the search subcommand.

Examples

The following examples show how to use this knife subcommand:

Search by platform ID

To search for the IDs of all nodes running on the Amazon EC2 platform, enter:

knife search node 'ec2:*' -i

to return something like:

4 items found

ip-0A7CA19F.ec2.internal

ip-0A58CF8E.ec2.internal

ip-0A58E134.ec2.internal

ip-0A7CFFD5.ec2.internal

Search by instance type

To search for the instance type (flavor) of all nodes running on the Amazon EC2 platform, enter:

knife search node 'ec2:*' -a ec2.instance_type

to return something like:

4 items found

ec2.instance_type:  m1.large
id:                 ip-0A7CA19F.ec2.internal

ec2.instance_type:  m1.large
id:                 ip-0A58CF8E.ec2.internal

ec2.instance_type:  m1.large
id:                 ip-0A58E134.ec2.internal

ec2.instance_type:  m1.large
id:                 ip-0A7CFFD5.ec2.internal

Search by recipe

To search for recipes that are used by a node, use the recipes attribute to search for the recipe names, enter something like:

knife search node 'recipes:recipe_name'

or:

knife search node '*:*' -a recipes | grep 'recipe_name'

Search by cookbook, then recipe

To search for cookbooks on a node, use the recipes attribute followed by the cookbook::recipe pattern, escaping both of the : characters. For example:

knife search node 'recipes:cookbook_name\:\:recipe_name'

Search by node

To search for all nodes running Ubuntu, enter:

knife search node 'platform:ubuntu'

Search by node and environment

To search for all nodes running CentOS in the production environment, enter:

knife search node 'chef_environment:production AND platform:centos'

Search for nested attributes

To find a nested attribute, use a pattern similar to the following:

knife search node <query_to_run> -a <main_attribute>.<nested_attribute>

Search for multiple attributes

To build a search query to use more than one attribute, use an underscore (_) to separate each attribute. For example, the following query will search for all nodes running a specific version of Ruby:

knife search node "languages_ruby_version:2.7.0"

Search for nested attributes using a search query

To build a search query that can find a nested attribute:

knife search node name:<node_name> -a kernel.machine

Use a test query

To test a search query that will be used in a knife ssh subcommand:

knife search node "role:web NOT name:web03"

where the query in the previous example will search all servers that have the web role, but not on the server named web03.