Today we’re pleased to announce the public availability of the first Chef Server 12 Release Candidate. This release brings the differentiating features of Enterprise Chef, namely multi-tenancy and role-based access control, into Open Source Chef.
## What’s New
Chef Server 12 brings a host of improvements that will be welcomed by existing Open Source and Enterprise customers alike. Here are just a few:
#### All PostgreSQL, All the Time
Eighteen months ago, we released Chef 11 to the world. It was awesome, and it increased the scalability of the Chef Server to new levels. At the time, we had just rewritten the entire core of the API in Erlang and had migrated all of the data that the server stores from CouchDB to PostgreSQL. We soon followed up with Enterprise Chef 11, which brought this same scalability to our commercial customers.
Over the past year, we’ve been working tirelessly on removing the final bits of the CouchDB-backed Ruby API from the multi-tenancy features of the Chef Server, and we’re pleased to announce that, with this release, we’ve completed that task.
#### Advancing the Chef Server Platform
With the removal of CouchDB and the consolidation of the Chef Server API into one codebase, we’ve been able to reduce the complexity and the footprint of the Chef Server platform. This starts with a 20% reduction in package size and a 25% reduction in the number of active services running on the Chef Server.
Building on top of this, we now have a fresh, consistent, and open-source codebase that will help us accelerate new feature development around the ways that you interact with your Chef Server. Some of our most-requested features like external authentication, external groups via LDAP, and templated organization policy can be built atop Erlang and PostgreSQL — a technology stack that we’re heavily invested in at Chef and one that won’t be going away anytime soon.
#### Search Improvements – Solr 4 Brings the Speed
Chef uses the Apache Solr search server to handle the search-based discovery for your Chef infrastructure. The version of Solr (1.4) that ships with the Chef 11 Servers was released in November 2009. In technology terms, that’s ancient. Over the past 5 years, the Solr team has shipped some amazing features and improvements to their product, and we’re pleased to announce that the Chef community will now get to experience those.
Since its inception, one of the most frequently requested improvements to Chef Server has been to reduce the amount of time that it takes for a saved object to become searchable. In Chef 11 and earlier, that latency was anywhere between one and sixty seconds. If you had a heavily loaded Chef Server, then it may take even longer while the asynchronous process sending your data to Solr was catching up to the request load. At the worst of times, Hosted Chef would experience search latencies longer than 10 minutes.
Solr 4 has allowed us to solve this problem. We’ve been running this version of Solr in Hosted Chef for a few months now, and **the average search latency is just over one second**.
#### Instant Access to Premium Features
For the first time ever, every user of Chef will have instant access to try out any of the premium features provided by Chef Software simply by running
chef-server-ctl install $premium-feature-name
Those premium features include:
* **Analytics Platform:** Get visibility into your Chef servers, verify compliance and keep up with changes, all with the Chef analytics platform.
* **Management Console:** Use the web-based management console to manage RBAC, edit and delete nodes, and reset private keys. Keep up to date with what’s happening during chef client runs across an entire organization or on specific nodes.
* **Reporting:** Capture and visualize what happens during the execution of chef-client runs across all of your Chef-managed infrastructure.
* **High Availability:** Ensure that your Chef service is uninterrupted within your data center or AWS region, even if a Chef server fails.
* **Replication:** Maintain a single worldview across multiple locations and ensure consistency across your network, no matter how many data centers or cloud availability zones you use in your enterprise.
All of these features are free for installs of fewer than 25 nodes, and come with a 30 day free trial for larger installs.
#### Chef Identity – Run Your Own Supermarket
Chef 12 now ships with Chef Identity included, allowing external applications like Supermarket and Chef Analytics to authenticate with Chef Server. Take a look at the blog post for Supermarket for instructions on setting this up.
## Where to Get It
To download the Chef Server 12 RC, visit http://downloads.getchef.com/chef-server and select your operating system.
Once you’ve got the package downloaded, follow the instructions at http://docs.getchef.com/server/.
If you’re upgrading from a previous release, the following versions are currently supported:
* Enterprise Chef 11.1.8 and later
* Open Source Chef Server 11.1.0 and later
## Known Issues
The following issues are known and will be addressed before the final release of Chef Server 12:
* **Secure LDAP:** For existing Enterprise Chef users of external authentication over LDAPS, this feature is currently broken.
* **Push Jobs Feature:** The Push Jobs package does not currently install on Chef Server 12. We will be updating the package metadata before the final release to address this issue.
## What’s Next
Today’s release is the first release candidate of Chef Server 12. Because this is the first time we’ve been able to speak publicly about Chef 12, the amount of feedback that we’ve been able to gather from you, our community and customers, has been limited. We’re asking that you kick the tires on this release like you would any new release. You can even drive it like a rental car if you’d like :). Whether you’re a new user or upgrading from an existing install, we’re interested in hearing about your experiences. If you run into something unexpected, we encourage you to do one of two things:
Our support and engineering teams will be monitoring these channels extensively over the next days and weeks, taking in your feedback and preparing Chef 12 for final release.
On behalf of the entire team at CHEF,