Finding Habitat

A few months ago I caught up with Julian Dunn in Ghent about what he was up to. His talk on orchestration was instrumental in forming our approach to solving the problem with Consul and his blog post on docker showed me he was thinking deeply and critically about some interesting topics. I reached out to him to learn more about what … Read More

Promoting Cookbooks into a Private Chef Supermarket with TeamCity

We want the ability to control which versions of which cookbooks we rely on and that those cookbooks are available to us even if the author removes them from GitHub. In fact with the recent craziness on dependency management and after listening to an episode on availability on Arrested DevOps, I’m starting to think that this isn’t just for large … Read More

Orchestration Maturity Model with Chef

One of our earliest questions about configuration management tools is how we would do orchestration with them. We realized early on that with chef the orchestration story was fairly weak, especially compared with something like salt. But chef’s other benefits outweighed the weaknesses so we moved forward. The whole time though I was confused about why Chef hadn’t invested more … Read More

Chef Cookbook Builds in TeamCity

As more and more teams are coming on board with Chef, I’ve began to standardize our pipeline and ensure that everyone meets quality gates for the infrastructure they are creating. This started with finally figuring out how to get Test Kitchen working with Windows, then quickly migrated to getting it running in TeamCity. Our entire division uses TeamCity … Read More

chef-vault Tutorial

This week I researched chef-vault and struggled quite a bit with the documentation, so I thought I would write a bit of a tutorial on the technology for those who are interested in quickly understanding how it might work for their organizations. Why chef-vault? Encrypted data bags force you to copy the shared secret that is used for decryption to your … Read More

Tutorial for Test Kitchen with Azure

As I wrote in the last post, Test Kitchen as one of the things that attracted me to Chef. There was a problem, though: running Windows on virtual machines automatically is difficult. I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to create a vagrant image using Matt Wrock’s excellent blog as a resource, and haven’t quite gotten it there yet. … Read More

Test Kitchen: Required, not Optional

When I first started reading through the Learning Chef book I became quite fascinated and enamored by Test Kitchen. The community created such a wonderful way to introduce testing into their workflow. That’s fantastic! Integration and support of Test Kitchen was one of our reasons for partnering with Chef. We had a way to create a test-driven infrastructure, which would … Read More

Technology < Partnership

Last year our organization made a major decision to use Chef for our configuration management. People often ask me why we chose Chef over Puppet, SaltStack, or Ansible. I tell them that we chose Chef over the others because they have a better sales organization. I’m only half kidding. I’ve come to believe that the essence of success … Read More

Programming Ruby (Pickaxe) Book Review

When I started learning Chef in earnest I realized quickly that my need to know what was happening was leading me to need to dive into a book on Ruby and figure out what all the magic I was seeing in Chef was really about. Chef has an amazing way of being usable for those who don’t know … Read More

Customizing Chef Book Review

When I was stuck trying to understand simple concepts about Chef, I bought two books: Learning Chef (read the review) and Customizing Chef by Jon Cowie. Learning Chef gave me the basic concepts, but Customizing Chef gave me the deep understanding I needed to evaluate the tool for my large, complicated organization. In the closed-source Microsoft world, you figure out what … Read More