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Why use Chef for automation and orchestration

Chef has been a leading open source tool for automating the provisioning and configuration of servers for the better part of a decade. In recent years the company added InSpec and Habitat to the portfolio, open source projects that automate policy compliance testing and the deployment and configuration of applications, respectively. The company’s flagship commercial offering, Chef Automate, brings all of these pieces together.  

Chef Automate provides a suite of enterprise capabilities for workflow, node visibility, and compliance, and integrates with the open source products Chef, InSpec, and Habitat. Chef Automate comes with support services for the entire platform, including the open source components. In addition to providing views into operational, compliance, and workflow events, it includes a pipeline for continuous delivery of infrastructure and applications.

Chef components and workflow

The Chef DK (development kit) workstation is where users interact with Chef. On the workstation users author and test cookbooks using tools such as Test Kitchen (to generate test VMs) and interact with the Chef server using the command line tools. For instance, Knife is a command-line tool that provides an interface between a local Chef repo and the Chef server. Knife helps users to manage nodes, cookbooks, data bags, and the installation (bootstrap) of the Chef client onto nodes, among other tasks. Most files in a Chef cookbook are written in Ruby, although some configurations are written in YAML.


The Chef architecture. 

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