What users are saying about

Ansible

66 Ratings

Chef

31 Ratings

Ansible

66 Ratings
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Score 8.9 out of 101

Chef

31 Ratings
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Score 8.6 out of 101

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Likelihood to Recommend

Ansible

Ansible did a great job helping us patch simple security vulnerabilities on many servers. The code for the fix were no more than about 100 lines. We patched each vulnerability in about 10 minutes. We patched both the HeartBleed/OpenSSH along with the Shellshock Bash vulnerability on 200+ servers in a few days.
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Chef

Chef is really great when teams are attempting to migrate over from legacy systems. In our case, it was a switch over from AIX to Linux. Thus, it was a great opportunity to use Chef to build out deployment cookbooks that could then be used win order to set up the new servers in preparation for the upgrade.
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Pros

  • It is very lightweight so it is great for running simple repetitive tasks such as restarting services, copying files, or running simple shell commands.
  • Ansible is fantastic for deploying servers in a cloud environment. The modules are very simple and easy to understand and deploying server images is surprisingly fast.
  • Ansible provides phenomenal documentation and has a very supportive community that works diligently to make modules as lightweight as possible without removing functionality.
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  • Chef is very easy to learn. Written in ruby, Chef code is high enough level for non-ruby coders to get a general idea of what the script is doing.
  • Chef can be a one stop shop for writing code, testing infrastructure, and deployment of applications.
  • The Chef support team is very helpful in their auto manager support as well as active support in their Slack channels from development engineers & architects.
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Cons

  • Basic support for Windows
  • Underdeveloped GUI with limited features
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  • One main concern with Chef is the maintainability of Chef master.
  • The Chef-client should be installed on every node we want to do any automation.
  • It is mostly Ruby and there's a learning curve. Need to understand the fundamentals of Chef very throughly to play around with attributes, templates etc etc.
  • The Chef-client agent needs to be run on the nodes frequently to update the details of it state to master. And also to index the nodes based on tags.
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Alternatives Considered

  • Ansible is much simpler to get up and running with than Chef, as it requires no infrastructure or agent process or any configuration on the target machine. All you need is SSH access! However, you lose the capabilities that Chef server offers such as data bags (centralized data store with support for encryption), authorization rules, inventory status, periodic configuration pulls, version locking etc.
  • Ansible combines both infrastructure orchestration and configuration capabilities, therefore it can be used as a single tool to both create and configure your VMs on the cloud. However, it lacks the comprehensive support of various cloud resource types that Terraform offers. Terraform can be integrated with Ansible instead to implement an end-to-end process.
  • Ansible is a great replacement for Bash scripts. It natively supports many modules that will save you so many lines of codes, enforces readable YAML structure and is still very flexible and powerful.
Aiman Najjar profile photo
Ansible and salt stack seem to be the new cool kids on the block because they are easier to setup and manage across smaller teams. I think the use of puppet is dying down in favor for these new technologies. I would like to see chef use cases with simpler implementation.
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Return on Investment

  • Ansible is a great investment if used for its well-suited scenarios. It has had a positive impact on my clients who used it to modernize their application deployment process. Ansible has 1) increased the reliability of the deployment process and 2) reduced scripts maintenance overhead.
  • Since Ansible is simpler and faster to get started with - compared to centralized configuration management solutions - it can be tempting to use it initially for simpler applications/infrastructure that are anticipated to evolve to complex ecosystems, you may find yourself having to rewrite in another tool in such cases.
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  • Lower downtime
  • Increased time to market by a factor
Pavel Jeloudovski profile photo

Pricing Details

Ansible

General
Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No
Additional Pricing Details

Chef

General
Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No
Additional Pricing Details