Learning Chef


Over the last couple weeks I’ve been learning Chef to automate setting up all these Amazon EC2 server’s i’ve been using. In the past I’ve had a large ops team supporting me or only a handful of servers so I haven’t got my hands dirty with DevOps before. So far its been fun, I’ve been using enterprise Chef for my testing so the getting started was a 10 minute process. I’m not sure if opscode’s host solution offers enough value to use it long term. Hosting for low usage one off services is incredibly cheap thanks to cloud providers like Digital Ocean, so its really a matter of is the UI a win. I’m not sold so far since my usage is about repeatability and managing everything with code, I’m not sure how setting a role in a UI fits into that world.

For the learning process the Chef getting started guide is pretty good but its a long way to go from there to doing something real. The biggest learning curve for me was learning a philosophy on how to use chef. I found this Chef Anti-Patterns article by Doug Ireton really helped me get my head around how people are using Chef. For the nuts and bolts of getting an app installed Jamie Winsor’s guide to Authoring a Chef Cookbook was great.