Using AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate to Automate Cloud Compliance


AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate is a program that ensures continuous automation, deployment and configuration. It has a user interface that provides visibility to the nodes and their state. As such, users can handle routine tasks like operating system configurations, software configurations, database setups, package installations and others with ease.

With AWS OpsWorks, users no longer need the Chef server installation and provisioning service; it updates the server automatically and provides backups to the user. It is compatible with other Chef-enabled tools like Knife and registers the new nodes with the server automatically.

Users set up the service through AWS SDKs, AWS Management Console and the AWS Command Line Interface after which the user operates it using Chef-compatible tools. It also uses proven AWS services like Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon CloudWatch and Amazon EBS to create the components that feature in your managed server.

This way, it is easy to manage hybrid systems like those administered on Windows or Linux servers; users only need to define their server configurations for the nodes across hybrid systems to assemble to the desired configuration state. 


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How OWCA Ensures Compliance in Cloud Computing 

Initially, users needed to install Chef Inspec manually to run compliance code solutions via chef. The recent upgrade of OWCA to the 1.6x version comes with an integrated compliance service that allows users to view the results in one dashboard through Chef’s user interface.

Chef, Habitat and Inspec create platforms for automating tasks regarding security auditing, infrastructure configuration and application releases. With the automatic installation and AWS-managed backups, it is now easier to use your OWCA server.

Chef Automate ties Habitat, Inspec and Chef together with an elaborate dashboard, which allows the aggregation of data from multiple environments. Its compatibility with Chef Server on the Amazon EC2 instance helps users to control inbound and outbound network access on Amazon Virtual Cloud thus, detecting and correcting problems in the cloud almost instantly. 


How to Launch an Automated Server for Cloud Computing 

First, you need to scan problems in your cloud using the Scan Jobs feature on Chef Automate. Scan Jobs allows you to audit existing servers without making prior configurations of a client’s server. Once it scans your systems, it provides feedback on whether they are safely configured or not and remediate configuration problems.

Chef Workstation has a new feature called chef-run that performs ad-hoc configurations on one or many machines by executing local chef recipes against remote targets over WinRM or SSH. As such, the chef client remains installed and makes use of every resource provided. 

Note that Chef-run is only useful when making ad-hoc tasks. However, when you need to configure the nodes for continuous automation, you need to bootstrap them. AWS auto scaling feature makes this easy as you can redefine the groups of EC2 instances, which will add or alleviate nodes based on the network traffic and CPU load, among other metrics.

OWCA also allows users to define the groups they want to manage and bootstrap using Chef. You begin by downloading the starter kit on OWCA, which includes a customised User Data file. However, users who have systems running on unsupported environments like Ubuntu need to use add-ons from the auto-generated user data file.


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