Chef + Docker: Automating Container Workflows

More than likely most of you are familiar with Linux containers but let’s briefly review what the buzz is about.

Application containers are an operating system feature that allows you to run your app in an isolated environment without the need for a separate kernel. They’re kind of like a mini-VM without all the overhead.

Containers give you a great way to start and stop applications and control the resources they use. They’re also easy to deploy, especially with tools such as Docker.

Chef is the first (and only, as far as we know) IT automation platform to show how to incorporate containers into an industrial strength workflow. If you attended #ChefConf last week, you saw Mandi Walls deliver a delightful demonstration of how Chef can automate the creation, management, and monitoring of Docker containers.

Check out Mandi’s demo, below. You’ll see how:

  • Chef creates a container image.
  • Chef provisions and configures a Docker host environment.
  • Chef launches container instances.
  • Chef configures, monitors, and manages the new containers while they run.
  • Chef lets you analyze what you’ve done using a new feature called actions.

The result is a process that’s versionable, testable, and repeatable. Using Chef with Docker helps you build a container workflow that’s ready for production and automated build environments.

To be clear, we’re still in the early stages, but we’re working hard on moving these capabilities forward and are pumped about what we’ll deliver in the future.

Lucas Welch

Former Chef Employee