Chef Software added a handful of new automation features to various enterprise-focused platforms targeting the transition to cloud and use of containers. Most of the updates integrate functions across the company’s various platforms.
The company’s continuous automation platform (Chef Automate) directly integrates with its compliance automation framework (InSpec). The move is said to provide a more consistent workflow for validating security requirements and compliance controls.
Chef’s Automate platform also integrates with the company’s application supervisor technology (Habitat). The integration extends Habitat’s functions for deploying and managing applications from legacy platforms to container-based, cloud-native microservices.
“Continuous automation enables operations to deliver services in conjunction with developers, as a team, with Chef becoming the common language for which the teams can communicate — removing roadblocks across platforms and applications,” explained Edwin Yuen, analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, in a blog post. “This improves the outcomes of the developer’s work, with increased efficiency, speed, and reduced risk.”
The Automate platform late last year gained a managed service option running through Amazon Web Services (AWS). The move provides AWS customers with access to the Chef service in a cloud or on-premise environment.
The Habitat platform gained the use of scaffolding to support faster packaging of apps built-in with new languages and frameworks. The packaged apps can then be exported to different runtimes like Docker and ACI for use on containers such as Kubernetes, OpenShift, and Mesosphere.
Habitat also gained 20 core build plans designed to allow enterprises a quicker path to packaging applications. In addition, Habitat now will automatically rebuild packages accepted and curated as “core” as “their dependencies are updated.”
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.
InSpec Incubation Projects
The compliance-focused InSpec framework added incubation projects tied to AWS, Microsoft Azure, and VMware vSphere. The projects migrate compliance code to the cloud, and provide resources to test and configure the cloud platforms.
A recent enterprise cloud survey conducted by RightScale found compliance to be the second biggest challenge for companies deemed “cloud focused” in their use of cloud platforms.
The same survey found Chef running a close second to Docker in terms of DevOps platforms used by enterprises. However, the data also revealed that Docker had eaten into Chef usage since the same survey was conducted last year.
Yuen explained others in the space, including Red Hat’s Ansible product and Puppet, have their advantages and disadvantages “depending on how they are being used beyond their core platforms.”
“There are certainly competitors in the automation arena but Chef is extremely well positioned with their technology, products, and partners,” Yuen noted. “I certainly see Chef leading the way by becoming not just an automation provider used by enterprises but by becoming the enterprise wide automation platform of choice.”