Today I had to move a Chef server from an Ubuntu 12.04 machine to a Debian 6 box. The simplest path, which worked for me was to:

  • Setup chef on the new machine
  • Shutdown the services on the old host
  • Compress and move the contents of /etc/chef and /var/lib/chef on the old server
  • Shutdown services on the target system
  • Uncompress the tarball on the new server
  • Export the contents of the chef CouchDB database on the old system
    • Use the CouchDB Python package (installable via pip / easy_install as ‘couchdb’)
    • Dump the data with couchdb-dump > /tmp/chef.json
  • Copy the json file to the new host and import it by:
  • Restarting the services on the new host
  • Telling Chef to rebuild its indices (otherwise Solr won’t know about the existing data in CouchDB) via knife index rebuild
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