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Alteryx
Alteryx

Here at Alteryx, we've been using Chef to automate deployments of our many Alteryx Server installations. Chef cookbooks have enabled us to transition from a manual update process, taking multiple man hours, to a push-button deployment that runs in less than 10 minutes. With the release of Alteryx 10.6, we're proud to be rolling out our first release of the Alteryx Server cookbook. This means that the Alteryx community can now leverage Chef to make Alteryx Server management that much easier.

 

In this post, we'll go over how to use Chef to provision a stand-alone Alteryx Server. If you just want to dig into the code, check out our repo on GitHub.

 

What is Chef?


Chef is an automation framework that eases the burdens of configuration management, node provisioning, and application deployments. It's one of a handful of popular automation frameworks such as Ansible, Puppet, and SaltStack.

 

Why use Chef?


To put it simply, using automation frameworks like Chef make environments predictable, quick to configure, and repeatable.

 

Admins like predictable servers. By having Chef do your configuration, there's no worry that something's been forgotten in the setup of a server.

 

Admins also don't like wasting time. Chef allows nodes to be configured programmatically, greatly reducing the amount of time needed to bring a server up.

 

Admins also like to be able to revert to a good state when things go wrong. And things always go wrong. Chef makes it so we can treat servers as cattle rather than pets. Has something gone horribly awry with a server? Tear it down and bring up a new one in minutes instead of hours.

 

What does the cookbook do?

 

  • Installs Alteryx Server.
  • Installs Alteryx R Predictive Tools.
  • Manages the Alteryx Service which controls the Alteryx Server process.
  • Configures Alteryx Server, optionally restarting the service when changes have been made.
  • Activates an Alteryx Server license.
  • Configures an Alteryx Server cluster through the use of Chef search.

What are the prerequisites?

 

  1. A workstation with the Chef Development Kit (ChefDK) The ChefDK can be installed on Linux, Mac, and Windows. You'll also want a text editor and version control software, such as Git, to track your changes.
  2. A Chef server. You can either let Chef host your server (free up to 5 servers) or install the open source Chef server.
  3. A Windows server on which to install Alteryx Server. The Windows server will need to have WinRM configured and accessible. It will also need direct network connectivity to the Chef server (no NAT, VPN tunneling, etc.). If you're already running Chef in your environment, you'll need to have Chef Client of at least version 12.7.2 installed on the Windows server.
  4. A configured ChefDK environment that can talk to the Chef server. You can verify this by running knife list.
  5. The knife-windows gem that can be installed after the ChefDK by running chef gem install knife-windows.

How can I use it?


You'll most likely want to run both the default and license recipes. This will install Alteryx Server, Alteryx R Predictive Tools, license the installation, and start the Alteryx Service.

 

Replace these items in the command below:

 

$HOST: The node's host name or IP address.

$ADMIN_USER: A user on the Windows server that has administrative rights.

$PASSWORD: The $ADMIN_USER's password.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX: Your license key.

YOU@EXAMPLE.COM: The e-mail address associated with the license key.

 

$ knife bootstrap windows winrm $HOST -x $ADMIN_USER -P $PASSWORD -r 'recipe[alteryx-server::default],recipe[alteryx-server::license]' -j '{"alteryx":{"license":{"key":"XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX","email":"YOU@EXAMPLE.COM"}}}' -N alteryx-server-cookbook-blog
Creating new client for alteryx-server-cookbook-blog
Creating new node for alteryx-server-cookbook-blog

Waiting for remote response before bootstrap.10.10.10.10 .
10.10.10.10 Response received.
Remote node responded after 0.01 minutes.
Bootstrapping Chef on 10.10.10.10
...
10.10.10.10 Checking for existing directory "C:\chef"...
10.10.10.10 Existing directory found, skipping creation.
10.10.10.10
...
10.10.10.10 Attempting to download client package using PowerShell if available...
10.10.10.10 powershell.exe -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted -NoProfile -NonInteractive -File  C:\chef\wget.ps1 "https://www.chef.io/chef/download?p=windows&pv=2012&m=x86_64&DownloadContext=PowerShell&v=12" "C:\Users\ADMINI~1\AppData\Local\Temp\chef-client-latest.msi"
10.10.10.10 Download via PowerShell succeeded.
10.10.10.10 Installing downloaded client package...
10.10.10.10
10.10.10.10 C:\Users\Administrator>msiexec /qn /log "C:\Users\ADMINI~1\AppData\Local\Temp\chef-client-msi19486.log" /i "C:\Users\ADMINI~1\AppData\Local\Temp\chef-client-latest.msi"
10.10.10.10 Successfully installed Chef Client package.
10.10.10.10 A subdirectory or file C:\chef\trusted_certs already exists.
10.10.10.10 Installation completed successfully
10.10.10.10 Writing validation key...
10.10.10.10 Validation key written.
10.10.10.10
...
10.10.10.10 C:\Users\Administrator>(echo.{"alteryx":{"license":{"key":"XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX","email":"YOU@EXAMPLE.COM"}}} ) 1>C:\chef\first-boot.json
10.10.10.10 Starting chef to bootstrap the node...
10.10.10.10
10.10.10.10 C:\Users\Administrator>SET "PATH=C:\Windows\system32;C:\Windows;C:\Windows\System32\Wbem;C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\;C:\Program Files\Amazon\cfn-bootstrap\;C:\opscode\chef\bin\;C:\ruby\bin;C:\opscode\chef\bin;C:\opscode\chef\embedded\bin"
10.10.10.10
10.10.10.10 C:\Users\Administrator>chef-client -c c:/chef/client.rb -j c:/chef/first-boot.json
10.10.10.10 INFO: *** Chef 12.11.18 ***
10.10.10.10 INFO: Platform: x64-mingw32
10.10.10.10 INFO: Chef-client pid: 2888
10.10.10.10 INFO: Setting the run_list to ["recipe[alteryx-server::default]", "recipe[alteryx-server::license]"] from CLI options
10.10.10.10 INFO: Run List is [recipe[alteryx-server::default], recipe[alteryx-server::license]]
10.10.10.10 INFO: Run List expands to [alteryx-server::default, alteryx-server::license]
10.10.10.10 INFO: Starting Chef Run for alteryx-server-cookbook-blog
10.10.10.10 INFO: Running start handlers
10.10.10.10 INFO: Start handlers complete.
10.10.10.10 INFO: HTTP Request Returned 404 Not Found:
10.10.10.10 INFO: Loading cookbooks [alteryx-server@0.11.1]
10.10.10.10 WARN: Cloning resource attributes for alteryx_server_service[AlteryxService] from prior resource (CHEF-3694)
10.10.10.10 WARN: Previous alteryx_server_service[AlteryxService]: c:/chef/cache/cookbooks/alteryx-server/recipes/default.rb:11:in `from_file'
10.10.10.10 WARN: Current  alteryx_server_service[AlteryxService]: c:/chef/cache/cookbooks/alteryx-server/recipes/license.rb:9:in `from_file'
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing alteryx_server_package[Alteryx Server] action install (alteryx-server::default line 7)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing windows_package[Alteryx 10.5 x64] action install (c:/chef/cache/cookbooks/alteryx-server/resources/package.rb line 18)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing remote_file[c:\chef\cache\package\AlteryxServerInstallx64_10.5.9.15014.exe] action create (dynamically defined)
10.10.10.10 INFO: windows_package[Alteryx 10.5 x64] installed Alteryx 10.5 x64 at 10.5.9.15014
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing alteryx_server_r_package[R Predictive Tools] action install (alteryx-server::default line 9)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing windows_package[Alteryx Predictive Tools with R 3.2.3] action install (c:/chef/cache/cookbooks/alteryx-server/resources/r_package.rb line 29)
10.10.10.10 INFO: windows_package[Alteryx Predictive Tools with R 3.2.3] installed Alteryx Predictive Tools with R 3.2.3 at latest
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing alteryx_server_service[AlteryxService] action enable (alteryx-server::default line 11)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing windows_service[AlteryxService] action enable (dynamically defined)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing alteryx_server_runtimesettings[RuntimeSettings.xml] action manage (alteryx-server::default line 13)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing template[C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\RuntimeSettings.xml] action create (c:/chef/cache/cookbooks/alteryx-server/resources/runtimesettings.rb line 49)
10.10.10.10 INFO: template[C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\RuntimeSettings.xml] backed up to c:/chef/backup\ProgramData\Alteryx\RuntimeSettings.xml.chef-20160614173804.691694
10.10.10.10 INFO: template[C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\RuntimeSettings.xml] updated file contents C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\RuntimeSettings.xml
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing ruby_block[Generate secrets] action run (c:/chef/cache/cookbooks/alteryx-server/resources/runtimesettings.rb line 61)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing alteryx_server_license[XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX] action activate (alteryx-server::license line 7)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing execute[Activate License] action run (c:/chef/cache/cookbooks/alteryx-server/resources/license.rb line 30)
10.10.10.10 INFO: execute[Activate License] ran successfully
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing alteryx_server_service[AlteryxService] action start (alteryx-server::license line 9)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing windows_service[AlteryxService] action start (dynamically defined)
10.10.10.10 INFO: windows_service[AlteryxService] configured with {:service_name=>"AlteryxService"}
10.10.10.10 INFO: windows_service[AlteryxService] started
10.10.10.10 INFO: Chef Run complete in 151.656322 seconds
10.10.10.10 INFO: Running report handlers
10.10.10.10 INFO: Report handlers complete

 

Looking at the log above, we went from a new Windows server to one running Alteryx Server in 2 and a half minutes!

 

How can I customize it?


The recipes included in the cookbook are a great place to start, but the power of Chef cookbooks lies in customization. For example, what if you didn't want to install the Alteryx R Predictive Tools? Maybe you want to resolve those WARN messages from the last run. (Those warnings were generated because we'd called the alteryx_server_service twice with the same name.) Perhaps you want to enable logging. Let's create a wrapper cookbook to check off those three items.

 

Set up the cookbook

 

$ chef generate cookbook alteryx-server-cookbook-blog
Compiling Cookbooks...
Recipe: code_generator::cookbook
...
$ cd alteryx-server-cookbook-blog
$ ls -la
total 48
drwxr-xr-x  12 user  users   408 Jun 14 12:54 .
drwxr-xr-x  35 user  users  1190 Jun 14 12:54 ..
drwxr-xr-x   9 user  users   306 Jun 14 12:56 .git
-rw-r--r--   1 user  users   126 Jun 14 12:54 .gitignore
-rw-r--r--   1 user  users   643 Jun 14 12:54 .kitchen.yml
-rw-r--r--   1 user  users   591 Jun 14 12:54 Policyfile.rb
-rw-r--r--   1 user  users    76 Jun 14 12:54 README.md
-rw-r--r--   1 user  users  1029 Jun 14 12:54 chefignore
-rw-r--r--   1 user  users   264 Jun 14 12:54 metadata.rb
drwxr-xr-x   3 user  users   102 Jun 14 12:54 recipes
drwxr-xr-x   4 user  users   136 Jun 14 12:54 spec
drwxr-xr-x   3 user  users   102 Jun 14 12:54 test

 

Awesome. We've got the skeleton laid out. Now let's edit our metadata.rb and add the line depends 'alteryx-server', '>= 0.11.3':

 

name 'alteryx-server-cookbook-blog'
maintainer 'The Authors'
maintainer_email 'you@example.com'
license 'all_rights'
description 'Installs/Configures alteryx-server-cookbook-blog'
long_description 'Installs/Configures alteryx-server-cookbook-blog'
version '0.1.0'

depends 'alteryx-server', '>= 0.11.3'

 

Now we can write our recipe. Let's go ahead and edit recipes/default.rb

 

alteryx_server_package 'Alteryx Server'

alteryx_server_runtimesettings 'RuntimeSettings.xml' do
  config(
    controller: {
      logging_enabled: true
    }
  )
end

alteryx_server_license node['alteryx']['license']['key']

alteryx_server_service 'AlteryxService' do
  action :start
end

 

Nice. Now we've got a recipe that will install Alteryx Server, run the configuration, license our installation, and start the Alteryx Service. We've left out the alteryx_server_r_package call, passed a new configuration option to enable logging, and removed the second call to alteryx_server_service. That takes care of not installing the Alteryx R Predictive Tools, enables logging, and won't trigger those WARN messages.

 

Note: It's a better idea in the long run to put RuntimeSettings config options into an attributes file. For an example post like this, it's just easier to put it in the recipe. To enable logging through attributes, put the line default['alteryx']['runtimesettings']['controller']['logging_enabled'] = true in attributes/default.rb.
Then delete everything from do to end in the alteryx_server_runtimesettings 'RuntimeSettings.xml' call.

 

Upload the cookbook


You'll need to have a Hosted Chef account or a Chef server configured for this bit. We'll use Berkshelf to manage our dependencies and to upload our new cookbook. Make sure you have a Berksfile that looks like this.

 

source 'https://supermarket.chef.io'

cookbook 'alteryx-server-cookbook-blog', path: '.'

 

Now that we've got that taken care of, run berks install && berks upload.

 

Provision the node


Let's run the command below. Again, substitute values as necessary.

 

$ knife bootstrap windows winrm $HOST -x $ADMIN -P $PASSWORD -r 'recipe[alteryx-server-cookbook-blog::default]' -j '{"alteryx":{"license":{"key":"XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX","email":"YOU@EXAMPLE.COM"}}}' -N alteryx-server-cookbook-blog
Creating new client for alteryx-server-cookbook-blog
Creating new node for alteryx-server-cookbook-blog

Waiting for remote response before bootstrap.10.10.10.10 .
10.10.10.10 Response received.
Remote node responded after 0.01 minutes.
Bootstrapping Chef on 10.10.10.10
...
10.10.10.10 Checking for existing directory "C:\chef"...
10.10.10.10 Existing directory found, skipping creation.
10.10.10.10
...
10.10.10.10 Attempting to download client package using PowerShell if available...
10.10.10.10 powershell.exe -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted -NoProfile -NonInteractive -File  C:\chef\wget.ps1 "https://www.chef.io/chef/download?p=windows&pv=2012&m=x86_64&DownloadContext=PowerShell&v=12" "C:\Users\ADMINI~1\AppData\Local\Temp\chef-client-latest.msi"
10.10.10.10 Download via PowerShell succeeded.
10.10.10.10 Installing downloaded client package...
10.10.10.10
10.10.10.10 C:\Users\Administrator>msiexec /qn /log "C:\Users\ADMINI~1\AppData\Local\Temp\chef-client-msi30134.log" /i "C:\Users\ADMINI~1\AppData\Local\Temp\chef-client-latest.msi"
10.10.10.10 Successfully installed Chef Client package.
10.10.10.10 A subdirectory or file C:\chef\trusted_certs already exists.
10.10.10.10 Installation completed successfully
10.10.10.10 Writing validation key...
10.10.10.10 Validation key written.
10.10.10.10
...
10.10.10.10 C:\Users\Administrator>(echo.{"alteryx":{"license":{"key":"XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX","email":"YOU@EXAMPLE.COM"},"runtimesettings":{"engine":{"gallery_url":"http://devgallery.alteryx.com/"},"portfolio":{"authorization_server":"devgallery.alteryx.com","authorization_url":"api/licenseserver/authenticate/"}}},"run_list":["recipe[alteryx-server-cookbook-blog::default]"]} ) 1>C:\chef\first-boot.json
10.10.10.10 Starting chef to bootstrap the node...
10.10.10.10
10.10.10.10 C:\Users\Administrator>SET "PATH=C:\Windows\system32;C:\Windows;C:\Windows\System32\Wbem;C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\;C:\Program Files\Amazon\cfn-bootstrap\;C:\opscode\chef\bin\;C:\ruby\bin;C:\opscode\chef\bin;C:\opscode\chef\embedded\bin"
10.10.10.10
10.10.10.10 C:\Users\Administrator>chef-client -c c:/chef/client.rb -j c:/chef/first-boot.json
10.10.10.10 INFO: *** Chef 12.11.18 ***
10.10.10.10 INFO: Platform: x64-mingw32
10.10.10.10 INFO: Chef-client pid: 3196
10.10.10.10 INFO: Setting the run_list to ["recipe[alteryx-server-cookbook-blog::default]"] from CLI options
10.10.10.10 INFO: Run List is [recipe[alteryx-server-cookbook-blog::default]]
10.10.10.10 INFO: Run List expands to [alteryx-server-cookbook-blog::default]
10.10.10.10 INFO: Starting Chef Run for alteryx-server-cookbook-blog
10.10.10.10 INFO: Running start handlers
10.10.10.10 INFO: Start handlers complete.
10.10.10.10 INFO: HTTP Request Returned 404 Not Found:
10.10.10.10 INFO: Loading cookbooks [alteryx-server-cookbook-blog@0.1.0, alteryx-server@0.11.2]
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing alteryx_server_package[Alteryx Server] action install (alteryx-server-cookbook-blog::default line 6)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing windows_package[Alteryx 10.5 x64] action install (c:/chef/cache/cookbooks/alteryx-server/resources/package.rb line 18)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing remote_file[c:\chef\cache\package\AlteryxServerInstallx64_10.5.9.15014.exe] action create (dynamically defined)
10.10.10.10 INFO: remote_file[c:\chef\cache\package\AlteryxServerInstallx64_10.5.9.15014.exe] created file c:\chef\cache\package\AlteryxServerInstallx64_10.5.9.15014.exe
10.10.10.10 INFO: remote_file[c:\chef\cache\package\AlteryxServerInstallx64_10.5.9.15014.exe] updated file contents c:\chef\cache\package\AlteryxServerInstallx64_10.5.9.15014.exe
10.10.10.10 INFO: windows_package[Alteryx 10.5 x64] installed Alteryx 10.5 x64 at 10.5.9.15014
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing alteryx_server_runtimesettings[RuntimeSettings.xml] action manage (alteryx-server-cookbook-blog::default line 8)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing template[C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\RuntimeSettings.xml] action create (c:/chef/cache/cookbooks/alteryx-server/resources/runtimesettings.rb line 62)
10.10.10.10 INFO: template[C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\RuntimeSettings.xml] backed up to c:/chef/backup\ProgramData\Alteryx\RuntimeSettings.xml.chef-20160614211839.964107
10.10.10.10 INFO: template[C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\RuntimeSettings.xml] removed backup at c:/chef/backup\ProgramData\Alteryx/RuntimeSettings.xml.chef-20160614201209.493305
10.10.10.10 INFO: template[C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\RuntimeSettings.xml] updated file contents C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\RuntimeSettings.xml
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing ruby_block[Generate secrets] action run (c:/chef/cache/cookbooks/alteryx-server/resources/runtimesettings.rb line 75)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing alteryx_server_license[XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX] action activate (alteryx-server-cookbook-blog::default line 16)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing execute[Activate License] action run (c:/chef/cache/cookbooks/alteryx-server/resources/license.rb line 30)
10.10.10.10 INFO: execute[Activate License] ran successfully
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing alteryx_server_service[AlteryxService] action start (alteryx-server-cookbook-blog::default line 18)
10.10.10.10 INFO: Processing windows_service[AlteryxService] action start (dynamically defined)
10.10.10.10 INFO: windows_service[AlteryxService] configured with {:service_name=>"AlteryxService"}
10.10.10.10 INFO: windows_service[AlteryxService] started
10.10.10.10 INFO: Chef Run complete in 94.781296 seconds
10.10.10.10 INFO: Running report handlers
10.10.10.10 INFO: Report handlers complete

 

There you have it. We've converged a fresh installation in about a minute and a half. The run with Alteryx R Predictive Tools takes a bit longer, so that's why we're seeing the speed-up here. And we've gotten rid of those annoying WARN messages.

 

Now let's take a look at our overrides file at C:\ProgramData\Alteryx\RuntimeSettings.xml to confirm our logging setting.

 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<SystemSettings>
    <Controller>
        <LoggingEnabled>True</LoggingEnabled>
        <ServerSecretEncrypted>REDACTED</ServerSecretEncrypted>
        <StorageKeysEncrypted>REDACTED</StorageKeysEncrypted>
    </Controller>
    <Engine>
        <NumThreads>3</NumThreads>
        <SortJoinMemory>1092</SortJoinMemory>
    </Engine>
</SystemSettings>

 

We're good to go. The Alteryx Server is up and running, no WARN messages were logged, we didn't install the Alteryx R Predictive Tools package, and logging is enabled.

 

Closing Thoughts

 

As you can see, using Chef to configure Alteryx Server results in some huge gains. We save time and ensure predictable and repeatable results. For all of you Chefs out there, go ahead and clone the cookbook from GitHub. Poke around and let us know if you find any issues or submit a pull request.

Jake M
DevOps Engineer

Not a ninja. Not a rock star. Just a guy who likes to automate stuff.

Not a ninja. Not a rock star. Just a guy who likes to automate stuff.

Comments
_olivierbisthoven
Alteryx Certified Partner

 

I'would like to install Alteryx server on a virtual machine running Windows 2012 r2 server.

Up to now I use vagrant + virtualbox to intall and provisionning the server.

 

Can I use this Chef recipe to install alteryx using Chef solo with Vagrant ?

 

Alteryx
Alteryx

That setup works just fine. Here's an example Vagrantfile we use:

 

Vagrant.configure('2') do |config|
  config.vm.communicator = :winrm
  config.vm.box = 'mwrock/Windows2012R2'
  config.vm.provider :virtualbox do |v, _override|
    v.gui = true
  end
  config.vm.provision :chef_solo do |chef|
    chef.add_recipe 'alteryx-server'
    chef.version = '12.10.24'
  end
end
_olivierbisthoven
Alteryx Certified Partner

Thanks ... still some nuts and bolts with security and connections and all should work fine

 

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