Introducing Chef v2
This post introduces the Chef application by Chef and shows how the platform improves the way you administer hardware in a DevOps environment.
Life as a system admin before Chef
System administrators ensure that systems are up and running all the time. If one system goes down in the network, the system notifies an admin to apply a fix. Now imagine a scenario where multiple systems fail together, and a single admin cannot fix all of them fast enough. At this point, Chef comes to the rescue.
What is Chef?
Chef is a declarative configuration management and automation platform used to translate infrastructure into code. Chef enables you to use code to fix a physical hardware environment. Chef ensures that every system automatically sets itself to the right state that meets the requirements you defined in the code. In case any system fails, your hardware refers to the code and resets the state in that environment.
Chef is an automation tool that converts infrastructure, including policies and configurations, to code. This feature enables Chef to manage and configure multiple systems with ease. The code can be tested and continuously deployed by using Chef. This process guarantees that you apply appropriate standards and that you maintain and keep the hardware operating environment is up and running.
Chef consists of the following main components:
- Chef server: As the center of operations, the Chef server stores, manages, and provides configuration data to all the other Chef components.
- Workstations: Workstations are personal computers or virtual servers where you create, test, and modify the configuration code. You can have as many workstations as you need.
- Nodes: Nodes are the servers that Chef manages. These machines take advantage of the benefits of automation. Chef manages nodes that are virtual servers, containers, network devices, and storage devices. Chef installs a client on every node that Chef manages.
The following image shows a basic setup:
The Chef server provides a communication pathway between the workstations and the nodes where the Chef client deploys configurations. The Chef server stores all configuration files, cookbooks, metadata, and other information created on the workstations.
Following are the components of a Chef server:
- Recipe: The code that consists of configurations written in Ruby.
- Knife: A command used for establishing communication between recipes and the server. Recipe is the instruction, and Knife is the tool that makes the instructions work and sets the appropriate state on the server environment.
- Cookbook: A collection of all the Recipes.
Chef, a powerful configuration management tool, has useful features to administer your DevOps environment. Chef continually adds new and improved features to help you manage your systems better. Leading IT firms like Facebook®, Amazon® Web Services (AWS), the HP® Public Cloud, and others use this tool. You can probably find ways to use Chef, too.
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