Chef is looking to ease containerized application lifecycles with its Habitat Builder software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. The product is targeted at enterprise developers dealing with multiple cloud-native platforms.
The SaaS allows developers to package applications without initially needing to specify an export format or runtime. Those decisions can be made when the application is being deployed.
The platform can detect which coding language is being used and build support for the application. There is also native integration with Github for source code and with Docker Hub for container format export.
Specific Kubernetes support includes a native operator to allow for simple export of Habitat packages into a cluster. For Cloud Foundry, the platform has a container exporter that inserts necessary defaults into Habitat-run services.
Deployments are overseen by the Habitat Supervisor that can automate functions such as configuration, enabling clustering topologies, and managing service lifecycles.
Marc Holmes, vice president of marketing at Chef, said the product can help enterprises that are finding it difficult to keep up with the burgeoning container market.
“We’re different in that we are focused on better application packaging,” Holmes said. “We are not trying to create a new workflow for companies.”
With container testing and deployments growing across the enterprise space, a number of platforms have popped up, designed to ease management. However, that increase in choice is also stunting some adoption as enterprises wait for some stability across the market.
Holmes said Chef is attempting to counter this concern by keeping its platform as open as possible in terms of its ability to support various container products.
“There’s nothing wrong with what’s being offered out there, but the reality is that people have complicated portfolios,” Holmes said. “We can support both simple use cases and what are real team problems, like having to deal with diverse architectures.”
A testimonial from GE Digital claimed use of Habitat Builder resulted in a 30 percent reduction in the time required to create an initial cluster, and a further 30 percent time reduction for subsequent cluster creation.
Stephen Elliot, program vice president for DevOps, multi-cloud management and software-defined compute at IDC, said that while the Chef platform can drive more automation across the software development and release pipeline, it may be challenged in attracting attention.
“The elephant in the room is getting developer’s attention,” said Elliot. “Developers at every level are being targeted by just about every vendor. It’s hard to get their attention…The technology value of new products has to show developers how their job gets easier and what’s in it for them tomorrow. It’s an extraordinarily competitive marketplace.”
Elliot did note Chef has done a good job of “messaging and executing on infrastructure as code and using automation as a core platform capability.”
“[Chef] has lots of production customers, and have been associated with modern technologies,” Elliot said. “Now they have to use their IT champions and gain access to adjacent developer and DevOps teams.”
Chef launched Habitat last year, with a focus on providing a new way for developers to create apps without having to decide early on a specific infrastructure. It quickly gained a managed service option running through Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The platform earlier this year gained updates to support faster packaging of apps built-in with new languages and frameworks. It also added 20 core build plans designed to allow enterprises a quicker path to packaging applications, and the ability to automatically rebuild packages.