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Chief is an Application Container for use with Amazon Web Service Auto-Scaling Groups.


An application container provides the following:

  1. setup environment variables
  2. start a set of processes based on a Procfile

AWS Auto-Scaling Groups

A auto-scaling groups are great. Chief helps make them even better.


  1. Install Chief — npm install -g chief
  2. Export an Upstart Job — sudo chief upstart -o /etc/init/chief.conf
  3. Install an Application Bundle to /home/ubuntu/bundle/master

Chief reads the environment configuration from the AWS user-data property, and passes it to your application.

Application Bundles

Chief can run any kind of application, not just Node.js. Chief runs Procfile application; the root of your bundle must contain a Profile like the following:

web: node server.js
log: node logger.js


Chief is designed to work in production. Each process in your Procfile is started independently, and will be restarted if it crashes.

  • application logs are kept at /var/log/chief/<proc-key>.log
  • start using upstart — sudo start chief
  • stop using upstart — sudo stop chief


  • configure upstart script via command line
  • support process scaling i.e. web=2,log=1
  • add log aggregation