Automation Rules @ University of Pennsylvania

We’re getting 2013 started right with yet another story of Opscode Chef customer awesomeness. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. They’re also using Hosted Chef to do some pretty rockin’ things with their infrastructure.

Within Wharton Computing, small IT teams are responsible for supporting a wide range of applications, workflows, and compute needs with a heterogeneous infrastructure. This creates a number of challenges:

●      Managing Amazon EC2 resources that power IO-intensive Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS), a division that provides a platform for financial data research to more than 30,000 users globally

●      Managing multiple operating systems (supporting everything from application servers and developer workflow tools to DNS and student mail services) across physical, virtual, and cloud resources

●      Standardizing local development environments with tools that allow developers to simultaneously code against modern and legacy platforms

Various teams within The Wharton School’s IT organization have leveraged Hosted Chef to automate configuration management for Amazon EC2 resources powering WRDS, Linux nodes supporting core services, as well as local virtual machines for application development. Accomplishments include:

●      Easily transitioned between EC2 instance types to pinpoint ideal balance between resources and cost when deploying new WRDS products

●      One administrator migrated 80 RHEL 5/6 nodes from CFEngine to Hosted Chef, improving functionality, flexibility, customizability, and resource performance

●      Used desktop virtualization platforms with Chef to build local development environments

●      Collaborated on cookbooks to reduce duplication and improve transparency across IT teams

If you’d like to read how Wharton accomplished this in their own words, check out their in-depth blog here. If you’d like to read the Opscode case study on this story, please go here. And if you’d like to know what Sanjay Modi, Technical Director for Knowledge@Wharton, had to say about Hosted Chef, simply read below:

“Hosted Chef automates complex tasks that are otherwise time and resource intensive, but more importantly it allows us to focus our efforts on innovating and improving the quality of our services. It also opens the door to more collaboration and efficiency across the organization.”


Here at Opscode, we’re proud to be helping renowned institutions like Wharton transform the way they approach infrastructure.

Please be sure to look out for many more customer stories throughout 2013.

Lucas Welch

Former Chef Employee