Chef aims to create the secret recipe for DevOps success

Company says that business is benefiting from company's focus on the high-speed delivery of applications.
Written by Colin Barker, Senior Reporter on
The makers of Chef, the automated provisioning and configuration tool, are trying to turn up the heat under the software development market with a series of enhancements and announcements around the Chef Delivery tool.

Released at the beginning of the month, Chef Delivery is already getting some purchase in the fast growing DevOps market with the help of some blue-chip IT companies like HP. With Chef Delivery, the company says it "has captured success patterns of its most innovative customers and distilled them into a product".

At the moment, the product is only available on an "invitation-only" basis and when asked why, a company spokesperson said that it was so the company could verify the information it was gathering about the working habits of its customers.

Chef Delivery provides a framework for automated testing, continuous integration and continuous delivery, the company said. Users include Bloomberg, Disney, Facebook, GE Capital, Intuit, Target, and Yahoo.

The software includes:

  1. Pipeline: Chef Delivery provides a shared pipeline and workflow for software development that takes code from a workstation belonging to a developer or an operations engineer through build, test and production.
  2. Platform for Collaboration: Each step of the Delivery pipeline incorporates automated testing to provide developers, operations engineers, compliance and security officers and IT architects feedback on proposed changes. The common workflow lets gives all these of them visibility into the flow of changes through the pipeline. Policies can be applied at each step to "ensure maximum change control and governance", the company said.
  3. Analytics: Chef Delivery provides metrics for all stages of a development pipeline with audit capabilities that helps users track both pipeline performance and activity, manage permissions and access change history from a dashboards.

The company said that the product should be available soon and will be sold on a subscription basis. The Chef Delivery architecture is integrated with the Chef Server to work with complex enterprise IT environments, and integrates with an array of operating systems and runtime environments, including public cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, as well as runtime environments such as Docker containers.

Helping to bring a common workflow

"Over the last three or four years we have worked with many of our customers on Chef Delivery but also with several others - people like Facebook and Yahoo," Alex Ethier, VP of product at Chef told ZDNet.

"What we have noticed," said Either is "that all of the companies that work at making software work quickly and efficiently all end up making software in pretty much the same way". In other words they work to common workflow.

"Now all of these steps[in this workflow] have different phases and these phases define what is happening," he said.

As an example, said Either, when you submit a change in the system there will be a first stage that will receive the change and there will then be multiple phases. "One phase will be, say, a code quality check and at this stage the user can define what the quality will be and this will be the only area that they can control", he said.

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