Chef expands its horizons

Explore Assurity 27 July 2018 Mrinal Mukherjee

In May, I attended the Chef Conference (‘ChefConf’) in Chicago during which there were exciting announcements describing how Chef is focusing on more than just infrastructure and compliance and bringing automation to applications and the entire software delivery lifecycle.

Some key announcements revolved around a new and revamped Chef Automate 2.0, the beta version of the Chef workstation, updates in Chef Compliance and major updates in how Habitat handles application automation.

Participants in a recent survey by Dimensional Research, sponsored by Chef, reported pain in all phases of the application lifecycle. Of the 347 application and operations professionals polled worldwide, only 12 percent said three-quarters or more of application automation at their companies are aligned with DevOps processes.

In addition, 61 percent said the build process takes days or longer and 57 per cent said deployment takes just as long. It also found lift-and-shift to be the dominant application migration strategy.

Chef Automate

Chef Automate is the company’s continuous automation platform. The 2.0 version aims to rebuild the solution’s performance, scale and analytic capabilities. New features include enhanced operational visibility and debugging, compliance scanning and reporting in any environment and a Go-based microservices architecture.


The company’s DevOps solution, Workstation, was updated with new standard desktop/laptop experiences and better cohesion between tools. With Workstation, being released in beta, the company is addressing reports of difficulty in getting started with Chef.


Chef Application Automation, also known as Habitat, enables teams to build, deploy and manage ‘any app, anywhere’. New capabilities include Habitat Builder on-premises and expanded ecosystem integrations including Kubernetes Operator, Azure Container Service, Helm chart exporter, Open Service Broker integration and Splunk operational analytics integration.

Chef Compliance Automation / InSpec

Lastly, Chef Compliance Automation or InSpec was updated with cloud configuration compliance, more than 30 new resources and improved performance.

“Enterprise software development and delivery is so often gated by the operational concerns of infrastructure – from desktops to servers, storage and networks – applications end up as a second-class citizen,” said Corey Scobie, SVP of product and engineering at Chef. “This is insufficient to thrive in a world where the primary interface to customers, and therefore revenue, is the application. The targeted solutions we introduced today enable executives and their organisations to make that critical shift quickly and easily.”

In summary, the event went a long way in morphing the bias which many had of Chef being a niche infrastructure automation tool to a formidable accompaniment of software to ease automation tasks. The next year should be an interesting one in which Chef goes out to the market with this new message. Watch this space!