Common Cookbooks Reference

Azure CycleCloud clusters are built and configured using a combination of a base machine image, CycleCloud Cluster Init, and the Chef infrastructure automation framework.

Only very advanced CycleCloud users will need to understand how to build Chef cookbooks. However, many users will benefit from a basic knowledge of how CycleCloud uses Chef. In particular, users should understand the concept of a run_list, recipe, and Chef attributes.

Basic Chef Concepts

Each node in a CycleCloud cluster is initialized by following a Chef run_list. The run_list is an ordered set of features or recipes to be applied to initialize the node. The recipes themselves implement the low-level system operations required to apply the feature. Cookbooks are collections of recipes that make up a feature. Cookbooks and recipes are parameterized by Chef attributes to allow further customization and configuration of the feature.

CycleCloud ships with a set of pre-defined cluster templates which can be used to provision a set of cluster types that is sufficient for many users. And, further customization is easily accomplished using Cluster-Init. So most users will never need to modify run_lists or build their own recipes and cookbooks.

However, CycleCloud clusters are provisioned using a set of Common Cookbooks available to all CycleCloud clusters, and those cookbooks have a set of attributes which users may wish to customize. Some of the most commonly used attributes are documented below.


Prefer Cluster Template features to direct modification of Chef attributes.

Common Cookbook attributes are subject to change. Attribute settings are commonly superceded as the features they control are made available as more general/powerful features of CycleCloud itself. If a customization is available in both the Cluster Template and via a Chef attribute, always prefer the Cluster Template method since it is the more general solution.

For more information on the Opscode Chef framework itself, see the Opscode website.

Using Chef Attributes

Chef attributes configure the operation of the run_list for an individual node or node array. They should be set in the node's [[[configuration]]] sub-section. For example, to set the CycleServer Admin Password for a node configured to run CycleServer:

[[node cycle_server]]


run_list = role[monitor], recipe[cyclecloud::searchable], recipe[cfirst], \
recipe[cuser::admins], recipe[cshared::client], recipe[cycle_server::4-2-x], \
recipe[cluster_init], recipe[ccallback::start], recipe[ccallback::stop]



Cycle Computing provides a Chef resource called thunderball to simplify downloading of objects from cloud services to nodes. thunderball automatically handles retrying failed download and supports multiple configurations. By default, thunderball will download a file from the CycleCloud package repository and writes it to $JETPACK_HOME/system/chef/cache/thunderballs. An example using the default configuration:

thunderball "condor" do
    url "cycle/condor-8.2.9.tgz"

The table below lists all of the attributes of the thunderball resource.

Attribute Description
checksum SHA256 checksum for the artifact to be downloaded.
client Command line client to use. Defaults to :pogo.
config Custom thunderball configuration to use.
dest_file The file path to download to. storedir is ignored when dest_file is in use.
storedir Location files are downloaded to. Defaults to thunderball.storedir.
url The location of the file to be downloaded (full or partial).

Custom configuration sections can be used in order to download objects from another repository.

Attribute Description
base Base URL.
client Command line tool to interact with provider.
endpoint URL endpoint to use.
filename Config file to use.
password Password for Azure.
proxy_host Host to use as proxy.
proxy_port Port to use for proxy.
user Local system user that will use this configuration. Configuration file is placed in this user's home directory (filename is ignored when this is used)
username Access_key/username for Azure.