Running the Show: Configuration Management with Chef

Administration, Cloud Computing, Ruby
Location: Ballroom A8
Average rating: ***..
(3.53, 19 ratings)

Few applications are architecturally simple. As soon as you grow, you find yourself using multiple subsystems and machines to scale. Cloud-based environments such as EC2 make this an attractive and cost-efficient option, but create new headaches in configuration management.

Chef is the latest development in open source systems integration, a powerful Ruby-based framework for managing servers in a way that integrates tightly with your applications and infrastructure. As developers become increasingly responsible for operations, Chef lets you manage your servers by writing code, not running commands.

In this tutorial we cover:

  • Your first Chef cookbook
  • Chef concepts such as nodes, cookbooks and nodes
  • Anatomy of a cookbook
  • Storing and versioning your cookbooks
  • What happens when you run Chef
  • Using Chef’s Web UI
  • Configuring per-instance data using JSON
  • Lightweight configuration with Chef Solo
  • What comes for free: managing Apache, Ubuntu, MySQL and friends
  • Chef for Rails apps
Photo of Edd Wilder-James

Edd Wilder-James


Edd Dumbill is co-chair of the O’Reilly Open Source Convention, and leads the design and implementation of conference software at O’Reilly.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Burvil N/A
07/21/2009 8:16am PDT

Would have been helpful to have tie-ins between different parts of the presentation. Diagrams illustrating this and maybe other comments would also be helpful. Very detailed, comprehensive overview of subject. My only reservation is not about the presentation itself, but that the technology, although maturing very quickly, would not fit well in our environment. Not only are there a lot of plugins for JBoss, DB2 and other technologies we use, we are not cutting edge at all, and would need for Chef to become mature for me to use it. Again, the presentation itself was well done and very informative.

Picture of Tucker Bradford
Tucker Bradford
07/20/2009 2:13pm PDT

Very informative. I probably should have looked into Chef before the session so that I would have better context. Bye the end of the break I had several use cases and was really excited about deploying Chef. I also think that more real world examples, samples, and demos would have been useful. The rails example at the end was just right, but some of the hello world type examples could be rewritten to show relevance to real world situations. Thanks for a great session!

Ian Kallen
07/20/2009 10:12am PDT

Good job covering a lot of material.

  • Intel
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Facebook
  • Gear6
  • Kaltura
  • Liferay
  • MindTouch
  • Novell, Inc.
  • Open Invention Network
  • Rackspace Cloud
  • Schooner Information Technology
  • Silicon Mechanics
  • Symbian Foundation
  • Twilio
  • WSO2
  • Yabarana Corporation

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