Chef is a popular configuration management tool developed in Ruby. It helps you create recipes that define how Chef should manage your infrastructure and applications. You can also use Chef to manage your Azure infrastructure. In today’s post, I will give a short overview of Chef and show you how to install it on Windows.
There are plenty of online resources to get up to speed on Chef. To get started, you can read this overview of the Chef components. In this series, I will focus mostly on managing Azure with Chef. In the upcoming posts, we are going to create recipes, cookbooks, and templates.
To automate your infrastructure in terms of configuration, deployment, and management, Chef uses small units of policies and configurations called cookbooks. In a cookbook, you can find several components like recipes, files, libraries, templates, and so on. A recipe is the most fundamental component in a cookbook and is simply a collection of resources that defines all requirements to configure a subset of your infrastructure. Chef maintains a collection of cookbooks, but you can also use thousands of community-maintained cookbooks with Chef.
To develop and test your cookbooks, you have to have at least one workstation. You need to use Chef Development Kit (ChefDK) on this workstation in order to have the required set of tools, including command-line utilities such as chef and knife. You can also use the popular Test Kitchen tool to test cookbook data across different platforms.