Chef in a Nutshell
The Chef software family allows users to configure their IT systems and monitor them constantly.
In classical environments, configuration is done manually or with long shell scripts – making it non-reproducible or only applicable once. When using Chef, you state your desired state and your expectations of the configured system in an OS-independent way.
This configuration is portable across platforms and violations of your expectations will be automatically detected, reported and corrected.
Chef InSpec – Verify your IT systems‘ compliance and security posture, using CIS-certified benchmarks.
Chef Infra Client – Discover the „Test & Repair Principle“: Keep your infrastructure current and revert all manual changes within seconds.
Chef Habitat – Roll out software across different systems, platforms and runtime engines like Kubernetes or Docker.
Chef Automate – Implement a company-wide dashboard for managed servers, desktop clients, applications and their compliance status.
„DevOps“ is not a buzz word but a radical change of mentality and tools, which requires a long-term effort.
One of its main ideas is to spend more time on tasks that add value than on repetition or hand-overs between departments.
Starting with DevOps is not a sprint, but a marathon involving training, communication, exercise and mutual understanding.
As part of our Chef consulting, we guide you through all these related changes which are crucial to introducing tools like Chef – because DevOps is more about interactions than tools.
Professional Services + Development
If you just set up a web server in the cloud, things tend to be straightforward. But most projects, especially in an enterprise context, are mainly one thing: really complex.
Our consultants have been working with Chef for years and know when to deviate from the usual patterns. Starting with hands-on training and guiding you along the full implementation cycle, we can help you avoid the obstacles you would run into if you were purely self-studying. Our goal is to enable you and your employees to be self-sustaining within the Chef ecosystem, while offering you specialized consulting later on.
As every big project has its special requirements, we also develop technology just for you: Custom resources for Chef and InSpec, helper libraries and inventory plugins – even specialized drivers to enable you to test on your own infrastructure.
We love open source and publish our contributions to the ecosystem whenever possible.
Software licenses are complex and confusing. We offer to be your partner in this area, by checking your actual requirements and finding the best solution together with the vendor themselves.
tecRacer has been selling Chef licenses for years, from small customers to international enterprises. Contact us and talk to people who actually know the software that you want to buy – not somebody who just offers everything.
As every journey should start with thorough preparation, we are offering you the official Chef curriculum. And as reality rarely follows your textbooks, we are adding our practical project knowledge on top.
While there are many books and video courses on Chef, much of it is either dated or created out of pure theory. Instead of buying this book from 2013, you should get some first-hand knowledge of how things evolved over time.
tecRacer as CHEF Principal Partner 2020
tecRacer has been awarded Principal Partner status in 2020, the highest partner level of Chef.
With this status, Chef only distinguishes those partners who have the highest level of expertise, have a major influence on the market and can master both small and large customer projects with confidence.
Parallel to this, the cooperation at conferences and user groups has continued to grow: tecRacer has created the Chef Usergroup Germany. The Usergroup will not only invite speakers from tecRacer and other companies, but also Chef employees from different countries have expressed interest in reporting on news and their experiences.
Chef and tecRacer complement each other since 2017 in the area of Chef Professional Services, Consulting, Reselling and Training. The segment for the DACH area has been experiencing continuous growth for years.
tecRacer is Chef Partner of the Year Financial Services
ChefConf Online started this year with a big announcement for us. We have received the Chef Hartman award as “Partner of the year Financial Services”! This special award goes to companies that drove successful customer outcomes, developed special solution expertise and leveraged Chef’s GTM to drive growth. It makes us proud to be part of the whole Chef world. Thank you Chef, thank you Barry for this award!
Testing Physical Machines with kitchen-static (Part 2)
After introducing how to work with physical machines and Test Kitchen last time, we will look at a feature to allow central orchestration of available machines.
Hard-wiring the IPs of machines for our physical tests only works if there is a 1:1 relation between developers and available servers. Sadly, that is probably not the case in any project due to cost and efficiency reasons. Additionally, every advanced project has some pipeline architecture for automated testing.
Testing Physical Machines with kitchen-static
This article shows how to work with Test Kitchen on physical machines using the kitchen-static Driver. If you need to deliver a product (bundle of server and software) instead of just configuration, some tasks cannot be run on virtual machines alone but need testing on actual hardware.
The need for testing on physical machines comes from a current project, where physical servers are part of a large industrial solution and are provisioned with Chef.
As with all projects, one should keep the Dev/Prod Parity Principle in mind, which states that development and production environment should be as similar as possible. For example, physical systems include components which are not available in your usual VMware- or AWS-based environment: Installation of vendor specific drivers, configuration of hardware components (ILO, BMC, …) or even setting certain types of Windows Network Teaming.