Chef is a popular tool for configuration management of IT infrastructure. Its flagship enterprise solution, Chef, is a strong choice for experienced DevOps teams who want to automate their development and deployment infrastructure.
Infrastructure automation tools such as Chef and its competitor Puppet have grown rapidly in the past few years, as businesses recognize how they can make IT management easier, more efficient, and more flexible. In particular, Chef has become well-known for its concept of “infrastructure as code,” in which machine-readable files (called Chef recipes) are used to describe how computing hardware and network infrastructure should be installed and configured.
No matter how your infrastructure is deployed – whether in the cloud, on-premises or a hybrid combination of the two – Chef’s infrastructure automation capabilities allow you to respond and adapt to a changing business landscape.
Here’s a look at six of the most important benefits of Chef.
1. Accelerating Software Delivery
The “speed” of software development refers to how quickly the software is able to change in response to new requirements or conditions. Analysts measure speed in terms of both how frequently the software is deployed and the period of time between a new commit to the code base and the subsequent deployment.
High-performing IT organizations are the ones that are able to deploy their software on demand and within one hour of a new commit. Automating your IT infrastructure – building new environments, testing and reviewing changes to the code base, deploying new software versions and more – is one of the most important shifts you can make to bring your business up to speed.
2. Increasing Service Resiliency
Of course, speed is far from the only important factor. It’s not enough to review and deploy changes quickly if these changes also add bugs or make crashes a more likely occurrence. By catching bugs and issues before they occur and monitoring for problems, infrastructure automation increases your system’s resiliency just as much as it accelerates delivery speed.
An application’s efficiency and resiliency are measured by two metrics: the rate that new changes break the system and the mean time to recover from downtime. Efficient IT organizations typically have a change failure rate of less than 15 percent, and take less than an hour to recover.
3. Improving Risk Management
The third indicator of high-performing IT organizations is risk, which is defined as the quality of changes made to the software. Like speed and efficiency, risk is assessed using two metrics: the frequency of compliance audits and the mean time to remediate after the discovery of a defect or vulnerability.
Chef’s infrastructure automation capabilities are able to lower risk and improve compliance at all stages of development. Your compliance and security policies can be encoded as part of a Chef recipe and tested automatically before deployment.
4. Accelerating Cloud Adoption
The allure of the cloud is strong these days, and infrastructure automation with Chef helps get you there. Although many organizations are interested in migrating to the cloud, such a move represents a serious undertaking, with many potential bumps and roadblocks along the way.
By automating your cloud infrastructure and handling routine manual actions, Chef frees up time for your DevOps team to be more agile and efficient. Your applications and workloads can be moved quickly and smoothly, while your servers and infrastructure are automatically installed, configured, and provisioned according to Chef recipes that you write ahead of time.
5. Managing Both Data Center and Cloud Environments
Of course, thanks to the incredible growth of cloud computing, organizations can choose from any number of cloud providers depending on their business needs and objectives. In addition, many organizations choose to remain partially or fully on-premises for a variety of reasons – and therefore require a solution that fits their needs.
Under the Chef umbrella, you can manage all your cloud and on-premises environments at once, including servers running the Windows, Linux, IBM AIX, and Solaris operating systems. Chef is also a “cloud agnostic” solution, allowing you to keep using it even as you change cloud providers.
6. Delivering All Your Infrastructure – Any App, Everywhere, Continuously
These days, many organizations feel stifled and paralyzed by their own IT infrastructures, which grow increasingly complicated with an ever-higher number of applications and hardware. As a result, teams have to devote time and effort to unraveling this knotty problem, which in turn causes greater inefficiencies and lower output.
Chef is able to cut through this complexity to streamline your IT operations and workflow. From building and testing all the way through delivery, monitoring, and troubleshooting, Chef provides a pipeline for continuous deployment that you can use to achieve more and make better decisions.
The true value of Chef lies in its holistic nature, providing benefits across your entire IT ecosystem. Alongside its continuous deployment pipeline, Chef can also perform automated testing to detect compliance issues and security vulnerabilities, and provide dashboards and reports that give you greater insights into your situation. By using Chef, you’ll become better organized and better informed – a recipe for IT success.