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dhcp (53) Versions 2.1.3

Installs and configures DHCP

cookbook 'dhcp', '= 2.1.3', :supermarket
cookbook 'dhcp', '= 2.1.3'
knife supermarket install dhcp
knife supermarket download dhcp
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Data bag and environment driven DHCP server.

  • Supports setting up Master/Master isc DHCP failover.
  • Includes Support for ddns
  • Includes LWRPs for managing hosts, groups and subnets.

Large parts were borrowed from work initially done by Dell, extended by Atalanta Systems and reworked by Matt Ray and Opscode. Big thanks to all of them.


Tested on Ubuntu 12.04 CentOS 6 using Chef 10+


  • only setup to handle ipv4
  • no generic classification support
  • ddns is tied to dns_zones databags



Stubb recipe that does nothing. Good for including LWRP's but not the other recipe stuffs.


The node will install and configure the dhcp-server application.
Configuration is through various dhcp_X bags, and the current role/environment

Node Attributes

Allmost everyone of the parameters and options are able to be overode in the
host/group/network scope these are general defaults for the server.

Check out the man page for details on dhcpd.conf options/params.

attribute Type Default description
node[:dhcp][:hosts_bag] String dhcp_hosts The name of the data bag that holds host items
node[:dhcp][:networks_bag] String dhcp_networks The name of the data bag that holds network items
node[:dhcp][:groups_bag] String dhcp_groups The name of the data bag that holds group items
node[:dhcp][:hosts] Array [] The list of hosts items that this server should load
node[:dhcp][:groups] Array [] The list of group items this server should load
node[:dhcp][:networks] Array [] The list of network items this node shoul load
node[:dhcp][:interfaces] Array [] The Network Interface(s) to listen on. If an empty list then we will listen on all interfaces.
node[:dhcp][:failover] Boolean false Enable Failover support buy setting to true
node[:dhcp][:allows] Array ["booting", "bootp", "unknown-clients"] Global Dhcpd allow entries

DHCP Global Options

attribute Type Default description
node[:dhcp][:options]['domain-name-servers'] String "," List of dns servers to send to clients in the global scope
node[:dhcp][:options]['host-name'] String " = binary-to-ascii (16, 8, \"-\", substring (hardware, 1, 6))" Options for global scop host-name settings. The default here will generate a host as mac address if the node doesn't provide a hostname or is not defined in dns/hosts/groups.
node[:dhcp][:options]['domain-name'] String "\"#{domain}\"" Set domainname in the global scope to this nodes domain

DHCP Global Parameters

These are all just k/v entries in the global params hash. All values are type: String

attribute Type Default description
node[:dhcp][:parameters]["default-lease-time"] String "6400" Set the default lease time in the global scope
node[:dhcp][:parameters]["ddns-domainname"] String "\"#{domain}\""` Set the ddns domain to this nodes domain
node[:dhcp][:parameters]["ddns-update-style"] String "interim" ddns Upadte style
node[:dhcp][:parameters]["max-lease-time"] String "86400" Max Lease time
node[:dhcp][:parameters]["update-static-leases"] String "true" Make sure we push static ip adresses defined in groups/hosts to the dns server
node[:dhcp][:parameters]["one-lease-per-client"] String "true" When a client requests an ip it will release any held leases.
node[:dhcp][:parameters]["authoritative"] String "" This setting has no value on purpose thats how isc-dhcpd wants it.
node[:dhcp][:parameters]["ping-check"] String "true" Enable Adress collision checking
node[:dhcp][:parameters]["next-server"] String "#{ipaddress}" Set this server as the global next-server
node[:dhcp][:parameters]["filename"] String '"pxelinux.0"' For tftp file name Note: the quotes are nessicary for this option in the fall throught to dhcpd config.

Platform Default Attributes

RHEL Platforms*

attribute Type Default
node[:dhcp][:dir] String "/etc/dhcpd"
node[:dhcp][:package_name] String "dhcp"
node[:dhcp][:service_name] String "dhcpd"
node[:dhcp][:config_file] String "/etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf" on RHEL < 6 it defaults to "/etc/dhcpd.conf
node[:dhcp][:init_config] String "/etc/sysconfig/dhcpd"

Debian Platforms

attribute Type Default
node[:dhcp][:dir] String "/etc/dhcpd"
node[:dhcp][:package_name] String "isc-dhcp-server"
node[:dhcp][:service_name] String "isc-dhcp-server"
node[:dhcp][:config_file] String "/etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf"
node[:dhcp][:init_config] String "/etc/default/isc-dhcp-server"

Data Bags

Data bags drive the lionshare of the dhcp configuration. Beyond the global settings. It is not required to configure
any bags other than dhcp_networks to get up and running, But if you want to statically map a network or have handy
Host names provisioned by dhcp you will have to add either dhcp_groups/dhcp_hosts bags and items.

You can generate example bags by using these handy commands

% knife data bag create dhcp_networks
% knife data bag create dhcp_groups
% knife data bag create dhcp_hosts
% knife data bag from file dhcp_networks examples/data_bags/dhcp_networks
% knife data bag from file dhcp_groups examples/data_bags/dhcp_groups
% knife data bag from file dhcp_hosts examples/data_bags/dhcp_hosts


Looked up via node[:dhcp][:networks_bag]. Describes networks this dhcp server should be configured to provide services for.
Per-network options can be provided as an array of strings where each string is a dhcp option.
Make sure you escape "'s properly as dhcpd is touchy about the format of values.

  "id": "192-168-1-0_24",
  "routers": [ "" ],
  "address": "",
  "netmask": "",
  "broadcast": "",
  "range": "",
  "options": [ "next-server" ]


Looked up via node[:dhcp][:grougroups] Items for this bag are group entries as per the man page.
Groups are sets of machines that can be configured with common parameters. A group can be bare. I.e.
Contains no host or parameters entries whatsover, and just defines options.

The only required key in a host def is the "mac": key. Everything else is optional

Example Group Bag
"id": "test",
"pxe": "ubuntu-precise",
"parameters": [
"use-host-decl-names on",
"max-lease-time 300",
"default-lease-time 120",
"next-server \"someplace\""
"hosts": {
"some-vm": {
"parameters": [ ],
"mac": "11:22:33:44:55:66",
"ip": ""
"another-host": {
"mac": "22:33:44:55:66:77"

There are a few keys that merit more discussion:

"hosts": key dhcp_group Items

Groups in isc-dhcp can define lists of hosts. In this example we are using the use-host-decl-names on
tell dhcp to use the "some-vm" and "another-host" entries as the host-name for these clients.
As well as setting other per-group parameters.

Each Host in the hosts Hash can have a number of settings, but the only required setting is "mac": the mac address
for the host.

Key Description
"mac": mac address of this host
"ip": ip address of this host
"parameters": an array of isc-dhcpd parameters as-per the global parameter setting.
"pxe": This key is used by my pxe cookbook to figure out what pxe item you want this group to boot too. That Pxe cookbook should be released soon (hopefully).


Dhcp hosts bag is looked up via node[:dhcp][:hosts_bag], and contains Host Items.

Example Most Basic host:

  "id": "vagrant-vm",
  "hostname": "vagrant.vm",
  "mac": "08:00:27:f1:1f:b6",

Example Complex host:

  "id": "pxe_test-vm",
  "hostname": "pxe_test.vm",
  "mac": "08:00:27:8f:7b:db",
  "ip": "",
  "parameters": [ ],
  "options": [ ],
  "pxe": "ubuntu-precise"



Manipulate host entries in dhcpd


Action Description
add _default_ Add this host record
remove Delete this host record


Param Type Default
hostname String
macaddress String
ipaddress String
options Array []
parameters Array []
conf_dir String "/etc/dhcp"


Add a Node

dhcp_host "myhost" do
  hostname   ""
  macaddress "08:00:27:f1:1f:b6"
  ipaddress  ""
  options   [ "domain-name-servers" ] 

Remove a node

dhcp_host "myhost" do 
  action :remove
  hostname ""

If you undefine an entry it will also get removed.



Action Description
add _default_ Add this host record
remove Delete this host record


Param Type Default Desciption
name String :name_attribute
hosts Hash {} This is a hash of host entries that follow the host-databag format. See the example entry in examples directory
parameters Array []
conf_dir String "/etc/dhcp" The directory where the config files are stored


hosts_data = { 
  "some-vm"=> {"parameters"=>[], "mac"=>"11:22:33:44:55:66", "ip"=>""},

group "some_group" do
  parameters [ "default-lease-time 120", "next-server \"someplace\""]
  hosts hosts_data


Action Description
add _default_ Add this host record
remove Delete this host record


Param Type Default Desciption
subnet String :name_attribute The network subnet
broadcast String
netmask String
routers Array []
options Array - []
range String
peer String nil Peer server for this segment
conf_dir String "/etc/dhcp"


dhcp_subnet "" do 
  range ""
  netmask ""
  broadcast ""
  options [ "next-server" ]
  routers ""

License and Author

Author Jesse Nelson
Author Matt Ray
Contributor Chaman Kang
Contributor Will Reichert
Contributor Simon Johansson
Contributor Robert Choi
Contributor Hippie Hacker
Contributor [Eric Blevins(
Copyright Copyright (c) 2013 Jesse Nelson
Copyright 2011 Atalanta Systems
Copyright 2011 Dell, Inc.
Copyright 2011 Opscode, Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.

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