Chef

Chef

Chef

Chef is both the name of a company and the name of a configuration management tool written in Ruby and Erlang. It uses a pure-Ruby, domain-specific language (DSL) for writing system configuration "recipes". Chef is used to streamline the task of configuring and maintaining a company's servers, and can integrate with cloud-based platforms such as Internap, Amazon EC2, Google Cloud Platform, OpenStack, Soft Layer, Microsoft Azure and Rackspace to automatically provision and configure new machines. Chef contains solutions for both small and large scale systems, with features and pricing for the respective ranges.

The user writes "recipes" that describe how Chef manages server applications and utilities (such as Apache HTTP Server, MySQL, or Hadoop) and how they are to be configured. These recipes (which can be grouped together as a "cookbook"for easier management) describe a series of resources that should be in a particular state: packages that should be installed, services that should be running, or files that should be written. These various resources can be configured to specific versions of software to run and can ensure that software is installed in the correct order based on dependencies. Chef makes sure each resource is properly configured and corrects any resources that are not in the desired state.

Chef can run in client/server mode, or in a standalone configuration named "chef-solo". In client/server mode, the Chef client sends various attributes about the node to the Chef server. The server uses Solr to index these attributes and provides an API for clients to query this information. Chef recipes can query these attributes and use the resulting data to help configure the node.

Traditionally, Chef was used to manage Linux but later versions support Microsoft Windows as well.

It is one of the four major configuration management systems on Linux, along with CFEngine, Bcfg2, and Puppet. Chef is more than a configuration management tool, along with Puppet, Ansible and Otter it's one of the industry's most notable Infrastructure as Code (IAC) tools.