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Provisioning a Packer Image with chef-client

Packer lets us create machine images for a variety of platforms through code. Part of the image creation process involves provisioning the machine, which can be done with a variety of provisioners, including Chef. Packer is even able to connect to an existing Chef Infra Server and use the cookbooks there to provision the resulting image. In this lab, we'll do just that to set up a web server image that hosts our company's website. **Note: You will find the AWS Access Key, Secret Access Key and the subnet ID required for the Packer configuration within the 'Credentials' tab (use the arrow button to see any hidden servers).**

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Path Info

Clock icon Intermediate
Clock icon 15m
Clock icon Oct 02, 2020

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Table of Contents

  1. Challenge

    Create the Client Key

    1. Move into the working directory for our Packer build.
    2. Generate a new client key called packer, and output the key to the working directory.
    3. There's no need to change the provided configuration. Save and exit to finish.
  2. Challenge

    Add the Provisioner

    1. Open the provided packer.json file.
    2. Since the chef-client provisioner installs Chef for us, there's minimal pre-configuration we need to preform in the provided shell provisioner block. That said, we do need to ensure we can access our Chef Infra Server at chef.ec2.internal.
    3. We also need to move the packer.pem file we just created to the remote machine; to do this, we want to use the file provisioner. When working with chef-client, Packer uses the directory /tmp/packer-chef-client. For ease, we'll store our key here. However, note that this directory has yet to be created. We'll need to update our shell provisioner for this.
    4. Additionally, we want to make sure the certs supplied in ~/chef-repo/.chef/trusted_certs are added to the remote.
    5. We can now add our chef-client block. We'll want to define our server URL, the validation client name and key path, as well as the location of our trusted certs and client key. Finally, we'll want to supply the name of the node (packer) and the desired run list.
  3. Challenge

    Test the Build

    1. Update the file with the provided access key, secret key, and subnet ID.
    2. Save and exit the file.
    3. Test the build.

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