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Chef is a powerful automation platform that transforms complex infrastructure into code, bringing your servers and services to life. Whether you’re operating in the cloud, on-premises, or a hybrid, Chef automates how applications are configured, deployed, and managed across your network, no matter its size. The workstation, Chef Server, and nodes are the three major components of Chef. Chef is written in Ruby and Erlang language. It is product of Opscode.
Major Components in details:
A workstation is a computer that is configured to run various Chef command-line tools that synchronize with a chef-repo, author cookbooks, interact with the Chef server, interact with nodes, or applications like Delivery. The workstation is the location, from which most users do most of their work, which includes the following:
- Developing cookbooks and recipes (and authoring them using Ruby syntax and patterns).
- Keeping the chef-repo synchronized with version source control.
- Using command-line tools.
- Configuring organizational policy, including defining roles and environments and ensuring that critical data is stored in data bags.
- Interacting with nodes, as (or when) required, such as performing a bootstrap operation.
The Chef server acts as a hub for configuration data. The Chef server stores cookbooks, the policies that are applied to nodes, and metadata that describes each registered node that is being managed by the chef-client. Nodes use the chef-client to ask the Chef server for configuration details, such as recipes, templates, and file distributions. The chef-client then does as much of the configuration work as possible on the nodes themselves (and not on the Chef server). This scalable approach distributes the configuration effort throughout the organization.
A node is any machine—physical, virtual, cloud, network device, etc.—that is under management by Chef.
Resources are the fundamental building blocks of chef configuration. Ex: Networking, packages, file system, user etc.
A cookbook is the fundamental unit of configuration and policy distribution. A cookbook defines a scenario and contains everything that is required to support that scenario:
- Recipes that specify the resources to use and the order in which they are to be applied
- Attribute values
- File distributions
- Extensions to Chef, such as libraries, definitions, and custom resources
The Chef Analytics platform is a feature of Chef that provides real-time visibility into what is happening on the Chef server, including what’s changing, who made those changes, and when they occurred. Individuals may be notified of these changes in real-time. Use this visibility to verify compliance against internal controls.
From IT automation to configuration management, Chef relies on recipes and resources so you can manage unique configurations and feel secure knowing Chef is checking your nodes and bringing them up to date for you.
Here are some key features of chef:
- Manage nodes from a single server.
- Cross-platform management for Linux, Windows, Mac OS, and more.
- Integrates with major cloud providers.
- Premium features available.
Thus, Chef is a thin DSL (domain-specific language) built on top of Ruby. This approach allows Chef to provide just enough abstraction to make reasoning about the infrastructure easy. Chef includes a built-in taxonomy of all the basic resources one might configure on a system, plus a defined mechanism to extend that taxonomy using the full power of the Ruby language. Chef has an extended API and more programmer friendly. Ruby was chosen because it provides the flexibility to use both the simple built-in taxonomy, as well being able to handle any customization path the organization requires.
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