Installing Zimbra using Chef for school project

hi everyone!
I have absolutely no experience using Chef.
I am writing because I am doing a scool project right now,
and because of this I need to install a Zimbra server using Chef. I need to do it on a Linux VM in Microsoft Azure. It does not matter which distro I’ll use.

That is all I have to do. I need to document the installation process and pass the results to other people involved in the project. Because I have absolutely no experience with Chef I have no idea how to do this.
So can someone please tell me how I can do this the simplest way?

Knowing chef is not enough to successfully install and configure applications... you need to know the application itself.
By going through qucikly the Zimbra docs it seems to a simple "download tar, unpack tar, run" approach. First you should be comfortable with Zimbra to silently install it with its Once you figured that out then visit

where you should learn how to create your first cookbook and start playing with chef.
After that you should give it a try to figure out how to install Zimbra silently with chef and if you are stuck with a specific issue... then drop it here :slight_smile:

Thank you for your answer and your help. I have not learned how to create my first cookbook yet,
but I have found this instead:

I tought i could use it to solve my problem faster. I tought I can use this cookbook here to install Zimbra.
But it did not work and I have a specific question now. I tried to do it on Oracle Linux 6.9.
I installed chef solo, I downloaded these files from github, and told chef to use the web.json file.
I used the command this way: chef-solo -j /var/chef/web.json

to me it seems like it starts to execute the commands in the default.rb file, but it fails right at the beginning. the error I get is: "Error executing action ‘run’ on resource ‘execute[create_optzimbra]’

do I do something wrong here?

You really need to take a look at and walk through some of the tutorials there so you understand what is going on. Otherwise you are going to run into problems over and over again and not going to learn what it is you are doing.

@simark has given a really good step through of what you need and the Learn Chef site will help you accomplish that. Copying from something else (especially when it’s 2 years old!) without understanding the fundamentals isn’t going to help.

I think you really need to learn (you said this is a school project, right) what these tools are and how they work before trying to run some arbitrary code blindly.

I don’t mean to be harsh; but chef is a very powerful tool, and I don’t think you are going to find much help without getting a basic understanding of how it works so that you can ask pointed , intelligent questions. IMHO

yes you are right. but chef is not the main focus of this school project so I wanted to do this part as quickly and easily as possible

Chef is not a scripting too that you can just install and expect it to run. Even with a script, you have to have some idea what’s going on under the hood.

I can’t imagine an instructor making an assignment like this without expecting you to have to acquire some knowledge about Chef in order to complete it successfully.

Take a look some of the tutorials that have been mentioned and I’m sure you’ll find the time you invest to be worthwhile.

Szia Akos,

If you want to move forward with this installation then go under folder and open the default.rb file.

If you have experience with Linux then you will understand the commands.

Few things:

  1. Fresh install VM machine
  2. VM needs to have connectivity to Internet
  3. Read about Chef templates

To understand the Chef resources you can use this page:


thank you for your encouraging words. I managed to make it work. all I had to do was to modify the partition and the Zimbra installer references in default.rb. Besides that I had to correct the etc/hosts file manually because Chef didn’t configure it the right way for some reason. After these Chef installed Zimbra succesfully.

köszömöm Mihály!