Self Service application Portal with vCAC 6 and Chef

One of the things I love about vCAC is it’s ability to integrate with just about anything right out of the box. I am often asked if we can integrate with other automation solutions and how we complement them. Many customers are already using open source solutions like puppet and chef and have invested in those technologies. Yet many still struggle with being able to tie it all together into a solution that their developers and application teams can consume. Since vCAC is the easiest solution on the market to stand up a self service portal it is a no brainier to use it as the front end. Add to that vCAC’s unique governance features to control whom can access what and when and you have a powerful cloud solution that is made for the requirements of your organization. Not the masses.

Watch the quick demo of this solution here How to Cook with vCAC and Chef


First off, this how to guide is a not about Chef. It is not really even designed exclusively for Chef. You could use this for any of the popular open source solutions like Puppet and Salt for example. With that said I am not going to discuss a lot about how Chef works. There are plenty of resources already available on that. If you are reading this you should already have a good understanding of technologies like Chef. In this guide I am using the free hosted Chef. You can get your own by visiting , there you can get a free version of hosted Chef that allows up to 5 nodes. I have never used Chef before writing this. I followed the guide at and a lot of goggle searches to get Chef up and running. This example is using a run list to install Chef Recipes. It could easily be modified to add the Provisioned VM to a role so you can run multiple run lists. For example if you wanted the requester to choose a Lamp Stack.

In this example I am using Linux. To be specific I am using CENTOS 6.3. The technique is the same for all Linux flavors that vCAC supports. I also plan a follow-up post for Windows as most of the mechanics are the same with just some little differences based on Windows Architecture.

Before we start, you will need to have a blueprint setup in vCAC that is mapped to a Linux template in vCenter that already has the Chef client installed and configured as well as the Linux Guest Agent for vCAC

Use Putty to login to the Linux Template with Chef client installed and the vCAC Linux Guest agent and change to the Chef-Repo directory and create a new Shell script named


Enter the following and save the file by holding Shift and type ZZ (NOTE: there is a hard return after the cd /home/chef-repo

cd /home/chef-repo
knife bootstrap localhost --ssh-password $1 --run-list "recipe[$2]" >> knife.log

Shutdown the VM and create a snapshot if you are planning to use linked clone in vCAC or if this was mapped to a blueprint in vCAC already you can use the following guide:

Next you will need to have Chef configured and some working cookbooks uploaded to your chef server


You should verify that you can converge a node and deploy a cookbook on the Linux template prior to moving on to the next steps. This guide is assuming that you already have a working Chef installation. Deploy the blueprint we just created and try to run knife and deploy a catalog manual after vCAC provisions the VM

When you know that vCAC can provision the template and you can successfully converge the node with the Chef client we are ready to move on

Now we will create a Property Definitions to create our drop down menu in vCAC, login to vCAC as an Infrastructrue administrator and navigate to Infrastructrue, BluePrints then Property dictionary and click New Property Definition


Enter the information as shown and click the green check box. I also made it available below so you can copy and paste.


Copy and Paste text:

Additional Software?
Please choose

Now click edit next to your new Property Definition to create a property attribute


Enter the following and click the green check box and then click OK

valuelisteditCopy and Paste Text:
apache2, mysql

Now we need to create a build profile, Navigate to Build Profiles and click the green + to add a New Build Profile


Enter the following by adding a new property: Also in clear text below so you can copy and paste

Copy and paste text:
Chef.Password this is the root password of your Linux Template
Chef.User VirtualMachine.Admin.UseGuestAgent     true
VirtualMachine.Customize.WaitComplete     true
VirtualMachine.Software0.ScriptPath /home/chef-repo/ {Chef.Password} {Chef.cookbook}
VMware.VirtualCenter.OperatingSystem     rhel5_64Guest

Now go to your Blueprint that is mapped to the template we created and click edit, then browse to the custom properties tab and select the new build profile


Publish this to the vCAC catalog and request a new instance


Remember sharing is caring!

2 Replies to “Self Service application Portal with vCAC 6 and Chef”

  1. Pingback: How to cook with vCAC and Chef |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.