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Chef is IT workload automation software from the company of the same name (formerly Opscode) in Seattle, Washington.https://dudodiprj2sv7.cloudfront.net/product-logos/S2/8n/T70VQ0BGK1KH.JPEGGet Cookin with ChefChef is a tool that is being used as part of a DevOps enablement movement that we are implementing throughout our business unit, and hopefully our organization in the future. It will help automate the manual task of creating and configuring new servers, testing existing servers for compliance regulations, as well as providing on-going maintenance for our infrastructure.,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.,Chef could do a better job with integration with other DevOps tools. Our company relies on Jenkins and Ansible, which took some development and convincing for plug-ins to be created/available. It would be nice if kitchen didn't only have a vagrant/virtual-box prerequisite. Our company one day stop allowing virtual-box to run without special privileges, and that caused a lot of issues for people trying to do kitchen tests. Chef could use more practice materials for the advanced certification badges. There was not a lot of guidance in what to study or examples of certain topics.,9,Able to reduce the numbers of hour a particular team would take for server maintain and deployment. Implementing Chef requires a change in paradigm for teams that are not open to the DevOps lifestyle. Half of the teams where Chef was introduced reverted backed to their old manual ways of doing things. Our timeline for code deployment went from once every two to three months, to about 1 month, then eventually once every 2 week sprint.,Ansible and Puppet Enterprise (formerly Puppet Data Center Automation),Bitbucket, Jenkins, Logstash, Splunk Enterprise, DatadogChef for IaC and reliable deploymentsWe use multiple Chef servers. We had 2 Chef servers hosted in our Business Unit, one for production and another for pre-production. We developed on that and maintained them too. Apart from these 2 we have organizational wide Chef servers which can be used by any BU and a central tools team maintains those servers. We are using Chef not only for IaC but also for deployment purposes.,Chef helps maintain all the servers of one logical group to be in the same state. This helps in maintaining a standard across all the servers. Concepts in Chef like roles, environments and tags helps a lot in logical grouping and executing corresponding cookbooks on them to maintain the stability. We use Chef not only for infrastructure as code but also for reliable deployments.,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.,8,Chef is a good tool for baselining servers. It will be a good ROI when there are huge number of servers. For less number of servers maintaining a master will be an over head. One good ROI will be that the Operations Team also gets into agile and DevOps methodologies. Operational teams can start writing scripts/automations to keep their infra more stable and their application stack more reliable. Implementation of Chef eliminates the manual mode of doing things and everyone aligns to automation mind set. It helps in change of culture.,Ansible,GitHub, Jenkins, AWS OpsWorksCentralized Configuration ManagementChef is a great technology for centralized configuration management. Therefore it's perfect for configuring complex, interconnected systems where parameters may be shared, or facts (e.g. ip address,..etc) about other nodes are needed to populate configuration files. Chef provides advanced capabilities such as encrypted data bags (to store configuration variables), versioning, roles, cookbooks repositories,..etc. It's very advanced and great system for managing large and complex clusters.,Centralized Configuration Management; Chef really excels at that as it provides a wide range of features that are well thought of, such as data bags, encrypted data bags, roles, shared repositories, cookbooks versioning, environment locking..etc Chef is based on Ruby and therefore it has all the capabilities of this powerful scripting language, unlike other tools that has its own DSL. This means greater flexibility to implement really custom logic. Chef community has made an impressive progress with regards to automated testing of cookbooks.,Chef complexity sometimes backfires when managing large clusters. Since a node can have different sources for variables, it can easily get messy and hard to troubleshoot.,9,Any configuration management when done correctly will have a significant ROI. Chef in particular is great because the architecture, the language syntax and design is very innovative.,Ansible, Puppet Data Center Automation and Docker,Docker, Puppet Data Center Automation, AnsibleChef reviewUsed as the infrastructure-as-code tool for everything that we use.,Unit testing Integration testing Deployments,Agent-less Push type jobs support,10,Lower downtime Increased time to market by a factor,Ansible,JIRA Software, TeamCityChef @ SAPChef is used as a middleware for our private managed cloud software. Chef is used in an in-house utility called Arc, that installs a Chef-agent in each server that users spin up, and then run all the cookbooks that are in the run list. The business problems [it addresses] are: tidy up servers, control the diverse apps versions, generate a catalogue of apps and configs for the company's usage.,Attributes in files can be changed once, instead of walking all over the recipes. Ohai - generates machine parameters non-stop. Databags keep some more secured information for usage with the recipes.,Chef, unlike Ansible, must use its own agent. Ansible just uses the "already" pre pared "SSH" utility. Engine run time - need to speed up the time for cookbooks run, like in ZEROMQ of SALTSTACK.,9,AD - active directory connection, which was done with Ohai and was a super generic cookbook that was marvelous and reduced all the setups in each server. Amazing time-saving cookbook.,Ansible and Docker,Jenkins, JIRA Software
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Chef
31 Ratings
Score 8.6 out of 101
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Chef Reviews

Chef
31 Ratings
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Score 8.6 out of 101
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November 28, 2018

User Review: "Get Cookin with Chef"

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Chef is a tool that is being used as part of a DevOps enablement movement that we are implementing throughout our business unit, and hopefully our organization in the future. It will help automate the manual task of creating and configuring new servers, testing existing servers for compliance regulations, as well as providing on-going maintenance for our infrastructure.
  • 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.
  • Chef could do a better job with integration with other DevOps tools. Our company relies on Jenkins and Ansible, which took some development and convincing for plug-ins to be created/available.
  • It would be nice if kitchen didn't only have a vagrant/virtual-box prerequisite. Our company one day stop allowing virtual-box to run without special privileges, and that caused a lot of issues for people trying to do kitchen tests.
  • Chef could use more practice materials for the advanced certification badges. There was not a lot of guidance in what to study or examples of certain topics.
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.
Read this authenticated review
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July 09, 2018

User Review: "Chef for IaC and reliable deployments"

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use multiple Chef servers. We had 2 Chef servers hosted in our Business Unit, one for production and another for pre-production. We developed on that and maintained them too. Apart from these 2 we have organizational wide Chef servers which can be used by any BU and a central tools team maintains those servers. We are using Chef not only for IaC but also for deployment purposes.
  • Chef helps maintain all the servers of one logical group to be in the same state. This helps in maintaining a standard across all the servers.
  • Concepts in Chef like roles, environments and tags helps a lot in logical grouping and executing corresponding cookbooks on them to maintain the stability.
  • We use Chef not only for infrastructure as code but also for reliable deployments.
  • 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.
Chef is useful for maintaining the servers in a known stable state for in-house datacenters. It helps to achieve infrastructure as code and helps in deployments as well. It is suitable for when there are a huge number of servers and you have to bring up the entire application stack in a safe and reliable way. It also helps in baselining the servers with same packages and corresponding versions.
Read this authenticated review
Aiman Najjar profile photo
March 02, 2018

Chef Review: "Centralized Configuration Management"

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Chef is a great technology for centralized configuration management. Therefore it's perfect for configuring complex, interconnected systems where parameters may be shared, or facts (e.g. ip address,..etc) about other nodes are needed to populate configuration files. Chef provides advanced capabilities such as encrypted data bags (to store configuration variables), versioning, roles, cookbooks repositories,..etc. It's very advanced and great system for managing large and complex clusters.
  • Centralized Configuration Management; Chef really excels at that as it provides a wide range of features that are well thought of, such as data bags, encrypted data bags, roles, shared repositories, cookbooks versioning, environment locking..etc
  • Chef is based on Ruby and therefore it has all the capabilities of this powerful scripting language, unlike other tools that has its own DSL. This means greater flexibility to implement really custom logic.
  • Chef community has made an impressive progress with regards to automated testing of cookbooks.
  • Chef complexity sometimes backfires when managing large clusters. Since a node can have different sources for variables, it can easily get messy and hard to troubleshoot.
Chef is great for managing complex and interconnected ecosystems. The centralized server makes it easy to gather facts from all nodes and store all parameter in centralized repository. For example, consider a scenario where your shared, main database hostname is going to change. With Chef, you can change the data bag and it will update all applications that are using this parameter.

For simpler, quick and dirty needs. Chef overhead may not always be necessary. In those cases, Chef solo can be used but I still see other tools are more appropriate for that case.
Read Aiman Najjar's full review
Pavel Jeloudovski profile photo
May 17, 2018

"Chef review"

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Used as the infrastructure-as-code tool for everything that we use.
  • Unit testing
  • Integration testing
  • Deployments
  • Agent-less
  • Push type jobs support
Best tool amongst the ones I've used for CM.
Read Pavel Jeloudovski's full review
Ofir Gutmacher profile photo
February 06, 2018

User Review: "Chef @ SAP"

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Chef is used as a middleware for our private managed cloud software. Chef is used in an in-house utility called Arc, that installs a Chef-agent in each server that users spin up, and then run all the cookbooks that are in the run list.

The business problems [it addresses] are: tidy up servers, control the diverse apps versions, generate a catalogue of apps and configs for the company's usage.
  • Attributes in files can be changed once, instead of walking all over the recipes.
  • Ohai - generates machine parameters non-stop.
  • Databags keep some more secured information for usage with the recipes.
  • Chef, unlike Ansible, must use its own agent. Ansible just uses the "already" pre pared "SSH" utility.
  • Engine run time - need to speed up the time for cookbooks run, like in ZEROMQ of SALTSTACK.
Well, in case we have more than 10,000 servers, and configuration must be run on them, we use Chef.
Read Ofir Gutmacher's full review
Kevin Van Heusen profile photo
March 24, 2017

User Review: "Chef - Making Devops lives easier!"

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use Chef for building out our environments in our development organization. It solves the problem of having a repeatable setup, once the Chef scripts are defined we can reliably deploy a similar environment as many times as needed. We don't need to guess at what we used to install on windows machines.
  • Configuration by code means that we can check in the Chef setup in a source control repository and everyone can view what changes are being made.
  • Great Windows support, Chef treats Windows as a first class customer and has great support for configuring various Windows OS properties.
  • Good documentation and support from the Chef team.
  • Chef client setup is a bit complicated, would be nice to have a streamlined installer instead of requiring command line
  • Chef user interface could be improved, would be nice to have UI options for some of the setup parameters.
  • Would be nice to be able to do one off installs/run commands. We have clients already setup talking to a server, would be a good opportunity to send commands to them.
Chef is great for ensuring you have a repeatable infrastructure. Gone are the days of manually tweaking settings and then trying to remember what you did six months later. Chef enables your team to keep tabs on what's being changed due to its ability to keep its configuration and scripts inside source control. You can look at the history of what was configured and when.
Read Kevin Van Heusen's full review
Dan Lepinski profile photo
August 03, 2016

User Review: "Chef - Automate Server Deployment"

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use Chef within our Infrastructure Engineering team. Each of our cookbooks is built with the purpose of automating the deployment of a server. Our end goal is to be able to simply run Chef to build out an server with no user intervention. We currently use Chef to perform functions like, but not limited to: Adding Linux and Windows servers to Active Directory, installing IIS and creating functioning sites, installing various applications, and configuring HAProxy servers. Within a minutes, we are able to run a Knife command to build a server in our AWS account, and have that server completely functional within 30 mins.
  • Server deployment. We can knife servers within 30 minutes.
  • Automates software installs.
  • If built out correctly, it takes care of all the little configuration details Admins forget when deploying a new server.
  • There is tons of documentation out there to help you accomplish just about anything with Chef.
  • Coding experience is required. The more you know, the more you'll be able to do with Chef. Chef training is recommended.
  • Sometimes your cookbooks will break due to changes in dependencies. Not Chef's fault, but a fault with the overall path. It can be difficult to track down the issues at times.
  • Chef is overwhelming at first. There's a lot of odds and ends to take in that I found you just needed to learn with time, patience, and practice.
Chef is suited for just about any situations in which you need to automate a process on a server. Once you've built out a cookbook, the chef run with take care of everything for you. Assuming nothing changes, you never have to worry about it again. The great thing about it is it's meant to automate everything so you, and your colleagues don't have to worry about it anything. You can make changes in one cookbook that can then update an entire farm of servers.
Read Dan Lepinski's full review
No photo available
October 09, 2015

Review: "To Chef or not to Chef? That is the question."

Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
I developed chef cookbooks to initially be used with provisioning our vagrant instances so that developers could have a working copy of the dev environment on their local machines. Since then, we have used chef to provision dev servers and also with packer to build images. It is primarily used with the dev team.
  • Provides a programmatic approach to automation that makes sense for developers.
  • There seems to be issues when using a cookbook on vagrant via chef solo and on a production environment being orchestrated by rightscale. Would love it if the cookbooks worked seamlessly between the two.
Depends if your operations team has a programming background. If your operations team is not well versed in programming then it might be difficult or you are working with an outdated team. Things like puppet, ansible, or even saltstack seem to be more user friendly for older operations people. Also, the learning curve for chef can be intimidating.
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Chef Scorecard Summary

About Chef

Chef is IT workload automation software from the company of the same name (formerly Opscode) in Seattle, Washington.

Chef Integrations

Chef Technical Details

Operating Systems: Unspecified
Mobile Application:No