Installing a Chef server

This is the first step in preparing to install a Clearwater deployment using the automated install process. These instructions will guide you through installing a Chef server on an EC2 instance.


  • An Amazon EC2 account.
  • A DNS root domain configured as a hosted zone with Route53 (Amazon’s built-in DNS service, accessible from the EC2 console). This domain will be referred to as <zone> in this document.

Create the instance

Create a t2.small AWS EC2 instance running Ubuntu Server 14.04.2 LTS using the AWS web interface. The SSH keypair you provide here is referred to below as <amazon_ssh_key>. It is easiest if you use the same SSH keypair for all of your instances.

Configure its security group to allow access SSH, HTTP, and HTTPS access.

Configure a DNS entry for this machine, chef-server.<zone>. (The precise name isn’t important, but we use this consistently in the documentation that follows.) It should have a non-aliased A record pointing at the public IP address of the instance as displayed in the EC2 console.

Once the instance is up and running and you can connect to it over SSH, you may continue to the next steps.

If you make a mistake, simply delete the instance permanently by selecting “Terminate” in the EC2 console, and start again. The terminated instance may take a few minutes to disappear from the console.

Install and configure the Chef server

The chef documentation explains how to install and configure the chef server. These instructions involve setting up a user and an organization.

  • The user represents you as a user of chef. Pick whatever user name and password you like. We refer to these as <chef-user-name> and <chef-user-password>
  • Organizations allow different groups to use the same chef server, but be isolated from one another. You can choose any organization name you like (e.g. “clearwater”). We refer to this as <org-name>

Follow steps 1-6 in the chef docs.

Once you have completed these steps, copy the <chef-user-name>.pem file off of the chef server - you will need it when installing a chef workstation.

Next steps

Once your server is installed, you can continue on to install a chef workstation.