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Server Tuning

The server configuration file contains a list of all configuration options that are available for the Chef server. Some of these values should be modified for large-scale installations.

Note

This topic contains general information about how settings can be tuned. In many cases, this topic suggests specific values to be used for tuning. That said, every organization and configuration is different, so please don’t hesitate to contact Chef support to discuss your tuning effort so as to help ensure the right value is identified for any particular setting.

Customize the Config File

The chef-server.rb file contains all of the non-default configuration settings used by the Chef server. (The default settings are built-in to the Chef server configuration and should only be added to the chef-server.rb file to apply non-default values.) These configuration settings are processed when the chef-server-ctl reconfigure command is run, such as immediately after setting up the Chef server or after making a change to the underlying configuration settings after the server has been deployed. The chef-server.rb file is a Ruby file, which means that conditional statements can be used in the configuration file.

Use Conditions

Use a case statement to apply different values based on whether the setting exists on the front-end or back-end servers. Add code to the server configuration file similar to the following:

role_name = ChefServer["servers"][node['fqdn']]["role"]
case role_name
when "backend"
  # backend-specific configuration here
when "frontend"
  # frontend-specific configuration here
end

The following settings are typically added to the server configuration file:

api_fqdn
The FQDN for the Chef server. This setting is not in the server configuration file by default. When added, its value should be equal to the FQDN for the service URI used by the Chef server. For example: api_fqdn "chef.example.com".
bootstrap
Default value: true.
ip_version
Use to set the IP version: "ipv4" or "ipv6". When set to "ipv6", the API listens on IPv6 and front end and back end services communicate via IPv6 when a high availability configuration is used. When configuring for IPv6 in a high availability configuration, be sure to set the netmask on the IPv6 backend_vip attribute. Default value: "ipv4".
notification_email
Default value: info@example.com.

SSL Protocols

The following settings are often modified from the default as part of the tuning effort for the nginx service and to configure the Chef server to use SSL certificates:

nginx['ssl_certificate']
The SSL certificate used to verify communication over HTTPS. Default value: nil.
nginx['ssl_certificate_key']
The certificate key used for SSL communication. Default value: nil.
nginx['ssl_ciphers']

The list of supported cipher suites that are used to establish a secure connection. To favor AES256 with ECDHE forward security, drop the RC4-SHA:RC4-MD5:RC4:RSA prefix. For example:

nginx['ssl_ciphers'] =  "HIGH:MEDIUM:!LOW:!kEDH: \
                         !aNULL:!ADH:!eNULL:!EXP: \
                         !SSLv2:!SEED:!CAMELLIA: \
                         !PSK"
nginx['ssl_protocols']

The SSL protocol versions that are enabled. SSL 3.0 is supported by the Chef server; however, SSL 3.0 is an obsolete and insecure protocol. Transport Layer Security (TLS)—TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, and TLS 1.2—has effectively replaced SSL 3.0, which provides for authenticated version negotiation between the chef-client and Chef server, which ensures the latest version of the TLS protocol is used. For the highest possible security, it is recommended to disable SSL 3.0 and allow all versions of the TLS protocol. For example:

nginx['ssl_protocols'] = "TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2"

Note

See https://wiki.mozilla.org/Security/Server_Side_TLS for more information about the values used with the nginx['ssl_ciphers'] and nginx['ssl_protocols'] settings.

For example, after copying the SSL certificate files to the Chef server, update the nginx['ssl_certificate'] and nginx['ssl_certificate_key'] settings to specify the paths to those files, and then (optionally) update the nginx['ssl_ciphers'] and nginx['ssl_protocols'] settings to reflect the desired level of hardness for the Chef server:

nginx['ssl_certificate'] = "/etc/pki/tls/private/name.of.pem"
nginx['ssl_certificate_key'] = "/etc/pki/tls/private/name.of.key"
nginx['ssl_ciphers'] = "HIGH:MEDIUM:!LOW:!kEDH:!aNULL:!ADH:!eNULL:!EXP:!SSLv2:!SEED:!CAMELLIA:!PSK"
nginx['ssl_protocols'] = "TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2"

Optional Services Tuning

The following settings are often used to for performance tuning of the Chef server in larger installations.

Note

When changes are made to the chef-server.rb file the Chef server must be reconfigured by running the following command:

$ chef-server-ctl reconfigure

bookshelf

The following setting is often modified from the default as part of the tuning effort for the bookshelf service:

bookshelf['vip']
The virtual IP address. Default value: node['fqdn'].

opscode-erchef

The following settings are often modified from the default as part of the tuning effort for the opscode-erchef service:

opscode_erchef['db_pool_size']
The number of open connections to PostgreSQL that are maintained by the service. If failures indicate that the opscode-erchef service ran out of connections, try increasing the postgresql['max_connections'] setting. If failures persist, then increase this value (in small increments) and also increase the value for postgresql['max_connections']. Default value: 20.
opscode_erchef['s3_url_ttl']
The amount of time (in seconds) before connections to the server expire. If chef-client runs are timing out, increase this setting to 3600, and then adjust again if necessary. Default value: 900.
opscode_erchef['strict_search_result_acls']

Use to specify that search results only return objects to which an actor (user, client, etc.) has read access, as determined by ACL settings. This affects all searches. When true, the performance of the Chef management console may increase because it enables the Chef management console to skip redundant ACL checks. To ensure the Chef management console is configured properly, after this setting has been applied with a chef-server-ctl reconfigure run chef-manage-ctl reconfigure to ensure the Chef management console also picks up the setting. Default value: false.

Warning

When true, opscode_erchef['strict_search_result_acls'] affects all search results and any actor (user, client, etc.) that does not have read access to a search result will not be able to view it. For example, this could affect search results returned during chef-client runs if a chef-client does not have permission to read the information.

opscode-expander

The following setting is often modified from the default as part of the tuning effort for the opscode-expander service:

opscode_expander['nodes']
The number of allowed worker processes. The opscode-expander service runs on the back-end and feeds data to the opscode-solr service, which creates and maintains search data used by the Chef server. Additional memory may be required by these worker processes depending on the frequency and volume of chef-client runs across the organization, but only if the back-end machines have available CPU and RAM. Default value: 2.

opscode-solr4

The following sections describe ways of tuning the opscode-solr4 service to improve performance around large node sizes, available memory, and update frequencies.

Available Memory

Use the following configuration setting to help ensure that Apache Solr does not run out of memory:

opscode_solr4['heap_size']
The amount of memory (in MBs) available to Apache Solr. If there is not enough memory available, search queries made by nodes to Apache Solr may fail. The amount of memory that must be available also depends on the number of nodes in the organization, the frequency of search queries, and other characteristics that are unique to each organization. In general, as the number of nodes increases, so does the amount of memory.

If Apache Solr is running out of memory, the /var/log/opscode/opscode-solr4/current log file will contain a message similar to:

SEVERE: java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space

The default value for opscode_solr4['heap_size'] should work for many organizations, especially those with fewer than 25 nodes. For organizations with more than 25 nodes, set this value to 25% of system memory or 1024, whichever is smaller. For very large configurations, increase this value to 25% of system memory or 4096, whichever is smaller. This value should not exceed 8192.

Large Node Sizes

The maximum field length setting for Apache Solr should be greater than any expected node object file sizes in order for them to be successfully added to the search index. If a node object file is greater than the maximum field length, the node object will be indexed up to the maximum, but the part of the file past that limit will not be indexed. If this occurs, it will seem as if nodes disappear from the search index. To ensure that large node file sizes are indexed properly, verify the following configuration settings:

nginx['client_max_body_size']
The maximum accepted body size for a client request, as indicated by the Content-Length request header. When the maximum accepted body size is greater than this value, a 413 Request Entity Too Large error is returned. Default value: 250m.

and

opscode-erchef']['max_request_size']
Default value: 1000000.

to ensure that those settings are not part of the reasons for incomplete indexing, and then update the following setting so that its value is greater than the expected node file sizes:

opscode_solr4['max_field_length']
The maximum field length (in number of tokens/terms). If a field length exceeds this value, Apache Solr may not be able to complete building the index. Default value: 100000 (increased from the Apache Solr default value of 10000).

Use the wc command to get the character count of a large node object file. For example:

$ wc -w NODE_NAME.json

and then ensure there is a buffer beyond that value. For example, verify the size of the largest node object file:

$ wc -w nodebsp2016.json

which returns 154516. Update the opscode_solr4['max_field_length'] setting to have a value greater than the returned value. For example: 180000.

Update Frequency

At the end of every chef-client run, the node object is saved to the Chef server. From the Chef server, each node object is then added to the SOLR search index. This process is asynchronous. By default, node objects are committed to the search index every 60 seconds or per 1000 node objects, whichever occurs first.

When data is committed to the Apache Solr index, all incoming updates are blocked. If the duration between updates is too short, it is possible for the rate at which updates are asked to occur to be faster than the rate at which objects can be actually committed.

Use the following configuration setting to improve the indexing performance of node objects:

opscode_solr4['commit_interval']
The frequency (in seconds) at which node objects are added to the Apache Solr search index. Default value: 60000 (every 60 seconds).
opscode_solr4['max_commit_docs']
The frequency (in documents) at which node objects are added to the Apache Solr search index. Default value: 1000 (every 1000 documents).

postgresql

The following setting is often modified from the default as part of the tuning effort for the postgresql service:

postgresql['max_connections']

The maximum number of allowed concurrent connections. This value should only be tuned when the opscode_erchef['db_pool_size'] value used by the opscode-erchef service is modified. Default value: 350.

If there are more than two front end machines in a cluster, the postgresql['max_connections'] setting should be increased. The increased value depends on the number of machines in the front end, but also the number of services that are running on each of these machines.

  • Each front end machine always runs the oc_bifrost and opscode-erchef services.
  • The Reporting add-on adds the reporting service.
  • The Chef push jobs service adds the push_jobs service.

Each of these services requires 25 connections, above the default value.

Use the following formula to help determine what the increased value should be:

new_value = current_value + [
            (# of front end machines - 2) * (25 * # of services)
                        ]

For example, if the current value is 350, there are four front end machines, and all add-ons are installed, then the formula looks like:

550 = 350 + [(4 - 2) * (25 * 4)]

rabbitmq

Note

Chef Analytics has been replaced by Chef Automate.

Note

Chef Analytics has been replaced by Chef Automate.

The following settings must be modified when the Chef Analytics server is configured as a standalone server:

rabbitmq['node_ip_address']

The bind IP address for RabbitMQ. Default value: "127.0.0.1".

Chef Analytics uses the same RabbitMQ service that is configured on the Chef server. When the Chef Analytics server is configured as a standalone server, the default settings for rabbitmq['node_ip_address'] and rabbitmq['vip'] must be updated. When the Chef Analytics server is configured as a standalone server, change this value to 0.0.0.0.

rabbitmq['vip']

The virtual IP address. Default value: "127.0.0.1".

Chef Analytics uses the same RabbitMQ service that is configured on the Chef server. When the Chef Analytics server is configured as a standalone server, the default settings for rabbitmq['node_ip_address'] and rabbitmq['vip'] must be updated. When the Chef Analytics server is configured as a standalone server, change this value to the backend VIP address for the Chef server.

Analytics Queues

If the RabbitMQ queue that is used by Chef Analytics stops consuming messages, the Chef server data partition will fill up and may affect the overall performance of the Chef server application itself. The settings for the RabbitMQ queue are tunable, including for queue length monitoring, queue capacity, maximum number of messages that can be in the queue before messages are dropped, the point at which messages are dropped, for settings used by the rabbitmq-management plugin, and so on.

The following settings may be used for tuning RabbitMQ queues used by Chef Analytics and the Chef server:

rabbitmq['analytics_max_length']
The maximum number of messages that can be queued before RabbitMQ automatically drops messages from the front of the queue to make room for new messages. Default value: 10000.
rabbitmq['drop_on_full_capacity']
Specify if messages will stop being sent to the RabbitMQ queue when it is at capacity. Default value: true.
rabbitmq['management_enabled']
Specify if the rabbitmq-management plugin is enabled. Default value: true.
rabbitmq['management_password']
The rabbitmq-management plugin password. Default value: 'chefrocks'.
rabbitmq['management_port']
The rabbitmq-management plugin port. Default value: 15672.
rabbitmq['management_user']
The rabbitmq-management plugin user. Default value: 'rabbitmgmt'.
rabbitmq['prevent_erchef_startup_on_full_capacity']
Specify if the Chef server will start when the monitored RabbitMQ queue is full. Default value: false.
rabbitmq['queue_at_capacity_affects_overall_status']
Specify if the _status endpoint in the Chef server API will fail if the monitored queue is at capacity. Default value: false.
rabbitmq['queue_length_monitor_enabled']
Specify if the queue length monitor is enabled. Default value: true.
rabbitmq['queue_length_monitor_millis']
The frequency (in milliseconds) at which the length of the RabbitMQ queue is checked. Default value: 30000.
rabbitmq['queue_length_monitor_timeout_millis']
The timeout (in milliseconds) at which calls to the queue length monitor will stop if the Chef server is overloaded. Default value: 5000.
rabbitmq['queue_length_monitor_queue']
The RabbitMQ queue that is observed by queue length monitor. Default value: 'alaska'.
rabbitmq['queue_length_monitor_vhost']
The virtual host for the RabbitMQ queue that is observed by queue length monitor. Default value: '/analytics'.
rabbitmq['rabbit_mgmt_http_cull_interval']
The maximum cull interval (in seconds) for the HTTP connection pool that is used by the rabbitmq-management plugin. Default value: 60.
rabbitmq['rabbit_mgmt_http_init_count']
The initial worker count for the HTTP connection pool that is used by the rabbitmq-management plugin. Default value: 25.
rabbitmq['rabbit_mgmt_http_max_age']
The maximum connection worker age (in seconds) for the HTTP connection pool that is used by the rabbitmq-management plugin. Default value: 70.
rabbitmq['rabbit_mgmt_http_max_connection_duration']
The maximum connection duration (in seconds) for the HTTP connection pool that is used by the rabbitmq-management plugin. Default value: 70.
rabbitmq['rabbit_mgmt_http_max_count']
The maximum worker count for the HTTP connection pool that is used by the rabbitmq-management plugin. Default value: 100.
rabbitmq['rabbit_mgmt_ibrowse_options']
An array of comma-separated key-value pairs of ibrowse options for the HTTP connection pool that is used by the rabbitmq-management plugin. Default value: '{connect_timeout, 10000}'.
rabbitmq['rabbit_mgmt_timeout']
The timeout for the HTTP connection pool that is used by the rabbitmq-management plugin. Default value: 30000.
rabbitmq['ssl_versions']
The SSL versions used by the rabbitmq-management plugin. (See also https://www.rabbitmq.com/ssl.html.) Default value: ['tlsv1.2', 'tlsv1.1'].

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https://docs.chef.io/release/server_12-8/server_tuning.html