Cloud / AWS / Azure / Chef /

Chef - the proven process for enterprises that successfully adopt DevOps

22 September 2015 | Author: Peter

base2Services uses the power of Chef to manage client's application servers. Chef allows us the ability to rapidly deploy and continuously monitor a network of servers.

These servers can be in the cloud, a server room or locked in a private network. They can run on Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. They can even run in virtual machines.

In simple terms, Chef installed on a network gives access to all servers via one "master server". One command through this server can configure and provision each server on a network. This avoids the need for manual and individual server configuration.

The result is less deployment time and lower costs for our clients.

How We Use Chef

Chef provides us with a uniform way of monitoring and configuring servers. We create almost a master plan for a server cluster. This determines the moving parts in the infrastructure behind powerful apps.

We then upload what is fittingly called a “recipe” to the main Chef server. The server then distributes information to Chef client servers. The recipe determines set-up and configuration of servers attached to the master.

Traditionally, this type of set up would require system administrators to configure infrastructure server-by-server. In medium to large scale projects configuring these tasks consumes a huge amount of time. Chef communicates all these tasks so system admin need only do it once.

Tasks such as logins and passwords, maintaining user roles and database configurations are all managed through Chef.

This is a huge advantage as it automates almost every stage of deployment. It then allows the implementation of rapid changes resulting in minimal interruption and downtime.

The One We Trust

Chef is our go-to cloud configuration management tool. E-commerce web applications through to messaging platforms are all suited to Chef managed infrastructure.

A single, simple package that contains the application logic handles data processes. It can determine things from operating system type and whether other configurations are correct. And much like Docker, using Chef on different operating systems isn't a problem. Chef handles the hard work replacing hundreds of lines of code with just one.

It raises error messaging and provides greater control over client servers. We can then test, resolve errors, and determine resources needed for different levels of application.

The Evolution of Chef

Chef has been a major player in cloud server management for years but technology like this was at first only available to big companies.

Developed to manage Linux servers, it has since taken huge steps towards owning the landscape. One of those steps is the release of new recipes that control Windows based environments.

Chef is also written in Ruby – a language fast becoming the language of choice thanks to popular application frameworks like Ruby on Rails.

This means Chef too is gaining in popularity. From its humble beginnings it is now powering companies like Facebook, AirBnb and Mozilla. Who knows where it will go next?

The Bottom Line

At base2, we have clients running different environments who need individual solutions. We pride ourselves on providing deployment and process solutions for each of them.

Not only do we use Chef during deployment and testing, we also set usable processes and protocols for clients to follow. Sometimes these processes mean big changes for companies. Yet ultimately they free up systems administrators and encourage further product improvement and development.

Using Chef, we not only deploy server infrastructure in a streamlined fashion, we teach clients how to carry on with their new server set-up.

For our clients it means they are equipped with superior server infrastructure and Chef best practices. They are often left wondering why they didn't start using Chef earlier. For us, Chef represents consistency. And consistency breeds excellence. It becomes a journey for both us and our clients.