Chef is a systems integration framework tool, which is built to bring the benefits of configuration management to entire infrastructure running on cloud, on-premises or in a hybrid environment. With Chef, we can easily adapt to our business’s changing needs. Main goal of using Chef is to introduce automation to our entire infrastructure.
With Chef, we can solve traditional configuration management problem by treating infrastructure-as-a-code. We can store each setup and configuration in a recipe and they in-turn are stored in cookbooks. Chef is composed of Cookbooks, Chef server and Chef agents. Chef cookbooks are stored in a central repository on Chef server. We will install chef agents on all our infrastructure physical and virtual nodes servers and control its configuration with Chef server.
With the help of Chef, we can manage infrastructure ranging nodes between Five to Five thousand. Chef can easily be integrated with cloud-based platforms, such as:
- Google Cloud Platform
- Microsoft Azure
Recipes and cookbooks are the heart of the configuration management and are written with Ruby programming language. This domain specific language is designed to be simple so that it can be understood by everyone. As all the configurations are in a code, we can test this multiple times for failures / success rates and by this we can avoid unnecessary downtimes.
Chef development kit contains all the tools that we need to develop and test our infrastructure. It defines a common workflow for cookbook development. And we will use knife, a command-line tool that provides an interface between a local chef-repo and the Chef server.
Chef has a fast growing, active and smart community for support. Because of its maturity and flexibility, it is currently used by many organizations. With Chef we can accomplish the following:
- Automate manual tasks
- Configure thousands of nodes within minutes
- Automate entire infrastructure
- Configure systems under consistent status check
- Record the entire infrastructure as a repository which can be used as a blueprint to launch a new one
Today most of the cloud service providers provide UI’s to configure, manage and launch virtual machines. We can provision compute and/or storage and push patches and software releases to appliances/applications. However, this process is prone to human error. This is when we need a configuration management tool which can build, deploy, update our infrastructure. This is where Chef comes to the picture, benefits offered by Chef makes infrastructure management easy by automating tasks and saving time by removing manual tasks.