Glen Knight

NYC Based IT Professional

What is Chef?

Chef Logo
Chef is a configuration management and deployment tool, designed for the management of nodes within an environment. Configuration management is the process of managing systems that ensures consistency of different settings, according to a known blueprint. It doesn’t rely on institutional or tribal knowledge gathered from multiple resources on the development or ops team, and is an important part of IT Automation.

See the Wikipedia article on Configuration Management for more information information surrounding the process and different use cases and paradigms involved.

First established in 2009, Chef, the company and the software, has evolved to be a very robust and complete CI/CD, Configuration Management, and Infrastructure Compliance tool. It is written in Ruby and Earlang, and uses pure Ruby as a DSL for writing system configurations. These configurations are referred to as “recipes”, and if you haven’t noticed, most of the Chef vernacular is kitchen-related.

It is available for both on-premise as well as cloud-based environments like AWS and Azure. It is also scalable for small and large scale deployments.

Chef’s primary purpose is for configuration management of nodes within an environment.

It has evolved over the years to be a very robust and complete Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, and Infrastructure compliance tool.

Chef has the following offerings:

  • On-premise – a private implementation of Chef on site or using a cloud based solution like Amazon Web Services, or Microsoft Azure
  • Hosted – which provides a cloud based hosting solution, providing support and implementation assistance
  • Open Source – this version is completely free, but doesn’t come with many of the add-ons of the enterprise version
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