Chef is a platform used to manage systems and automate cloud infrastructure. With Chef Workstation, developers are able to turn infrastructure into code that can then be used to automate management and server deployment.
Furthermore, these application developers can install the Chef DK (DK stands for Development Kit) onto a Chef Workstation. With the Chef DK a DevOPs specialist can define the different components that they will use to manipulate and communicate with the Chef Server.
Chef software is also geared towards the management of various types of nodes which include cloud based virtual machines, servers, network containers and devices. Chef also manages Windows, Linux, and the mainframe in addition to various different systems. With Chef, DevOps and IT professionals are able to collaborate on applications and deploy them across the IT infrastructure.
Here is a rundown of what's included in the Chef DK software development kit:
- Ohai system detail detection tool
- Chef and Knife command-line tools
- Test Kitchen (testing tool)
- Cookstyle (testing tool)
- Foodcritic (testing tool)
- Test Kitchen
- Chef-client agent for communication between Chef Server and managed nodes
InSpec Auditing Framework
In Chef, the management of each node is handled by cookbooks which are compilations of code packages called recipes. Each recipe is a description of the state a resource ought to be in at any given instant. From the Chef workstation you can compile these recipes into cookbooks which also include attributes, libraries, metadata, and other files that are necessary for supporting each configuration.
Since it's an agent-based tool, Chef uses chef-client to bring in all of the configuration information for a managed node from the Chef Server. What's more, using the Ruby programming language, chef-client installs to each node for executing the current configuration.
The advantage of this agent-based configuration in which the data is pulled from a central server is that it is not disrupted by a poor network connection. It also allows for more fluid release of updates. Chef Server runs on any major version of Linux.
The DevOps community shares cookbooks on GitHub as well as the specialized repository Chef Supermarket, and users can use, edit, and manage their own versions of each cookbook.
A policy feature in the Chef server gives an administrator the ability to define the different operational processes and the types of servers, identify various environment stages, map data and define cookbook details. InSpec can also be used by IT professionals to find out what has been deployed in order to ensure that any pending deployments do not break any regulations.
Chef Software Options
Although it's technically open source, Chef offers a packaged platform for businesses and organizations. It's called Chef Automate and its price various depending on how many nodes are required.
Chef automate also includes a panel for managing workflow and governance capabilities, making it possible for a DevOps professional to deploy cookbooks and apps across different groupings of nodes. There are also compliance controls features in Chef Automate.
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