Replace chef-solo with chef-client local mode

Replace chef-solo's core with chef-client "local-mode," to run chef without an external Chef Server


As a Chef user,
I want to run and use Chef without a server,
so that I am using the same API and core features,
and so that I can use any published cookbooks.

Case in point, the chef-solo-search cookbook exists to provide search-like functionality so that users of chef-solo can use public cookbooks unmodified.

The knife-solo RubyGem exists to make it easier to distribute the parts of a "chef repository" to target nodes. However, it has a completely different workflow than what users who have a Chef Server use, leading to confusion and differences in help systems such as IRC and the mailing list.

Amazon Web Services "OpsWorks" uses chef-solo as its implementation, which leads to issues with workflow and support similar to knife-solo.

There doesn't exist a clear and easy way for chef-solo users to migrate to a chef-client/Chef Server implementation and vice versa, due to the lack of "server" features.


This RFC proposes to replace chef-solo with chef-client --local-mode. Thechef-solo command will continue to exist, and to the extent possible, work with existing solo-specific workflows without modification.

This means that chef-solo using "local mode" must be 100% backwards-compatible with existing chef-solo usage.

The local mode feature of chef-client uses chef-zero, an in-memory API-complete implementation of the Chef Server. This would give "solo" users the capability of performing searches, "saving" node objects, and easily saving and retrieving data bags. The chef-zero server can persist data to disk, allowing that to be distributed to other nodes as necessary.

The application implementation of chef-solo would be changed to invoke chef-client with Chef::Config[:local_mode] set to true by default in the application class.


Chef has always had chef-solo, a standalone recipe execution engine that can run recipes on nodes. However, as new chef-client/Chef Server features are added, they slowly trickle down to chef-solo, if they even get implemented at all. This makes solo users unable to have complete consistency when consuming cookbooks from the community.

This will also simplify the codebase, as there is a great deal of duplication between Chef::Application::Solo and Chef::Application::Client. This would create a single place to go for the application config - the Chef::Application::Client class.


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