Chef KubeCon 2019 Highlights: Lean, Mean, and Open to Cloud-Native

The record breaking attendance at this year’s KubeCon 2019 North America further solidifies the fact that Kubernetes is one of the hottest technologies to come into the ring in the last few years. In addition to changing the way organizations run and manage workloads at scale, Kubernetes has also driven a new and rapidly growing ecosystem. The sponsor showcase was packed with more than 250+ sponsors from all categories of the CNCF vendor landscape.

The showcase provided a great opportunity for Chef to talk to attendees about our current CNCF projects – Chef Habitat for Application Definition and Packaging, Chef InSpec for Security and Compliance, and Chef Infra for Configuration Automation.

Al Shimel from the Digital Anarchist did a live interview with Chef CTO Corey Scobie, where they talked about Chef’s continued expansion of capabilities in the cloud-native space, what he sees as gaps in the creation and security of containers, and Chef’s recent move to 100% open source.

“What you get when you package an application with Chef Habitat is the leanest, meanest, most efficient containers you could possibly imagine… this is a far cry from what people think when they think about Chef.”

– Corey Scobie, Chef CTO

Watch the full interview here.

Chef Michael Sorens Presents at the OPA Summit

In addition to KubeCon and the CNCF conference, more than 50+ day-zero events were held on the preceding Monday. Chef participated as a sponsor at the event and also participated in the Open Policy Agent (OPA) summit day-zero event.

At the OPA summit, Michael Sorens from Chef spoke on how Chef leverages OPA as the core engine for the Chef Automate authorization system. Chef has made contributions to the OPA code base, as an early adopter of OPA. Adopting OPA has enabled Chef to streamline how policy decisions are presented in Chef Automate and improve customer experience. 

Security and compliance across environments remains a challenge for organizations. Chef InSpec can be used to ensure Kubernetes clusters remain compliant once launched and can also be used to monitor and secure application dependencies being run in containers and VMs.

Chef Habitat Amplifies the Value of Kubernetes

Back at the Chef booth, the team was busy showing attendees how Chef Habitat could help them accelerate their adoption of Kubernetes. As Scobie explained during his interview:

“Where Habitat intersects so incredibly well with Kubernetes is that the value you get out of Kubernetes is greatly amplified, the simpler the containers you put into it. Kubernetes is a fantastic micro-partitioning technology that allows you to cut-up compute into very small chunks. But if what you do is bring all the baggage of the stuff you’re putting into existing deployments into the container world, you end up in an environment that is as equally complex to manage, if not more complex to run.”

Scobie also explained how Chef Habitat adds value to the creation of containers for both cloud-native and non-cloud native applications. Chef Habitat enables companies to create a clean abstraction between the application and the underlying components (that are just required to operate some underlying base-line operating system). The most powerful part of Chef Habitat is  that it does not care what technology was used to construct an application, nor does it care about the destination. Whether you want to run an application in a cloud-native environment, on bare metal, in the cloud, or in a container, you can! Chef Habitat is totally flexible.  This enables customers to accelerate their adoption of Kubernetes, and also minimizes the time and effort needed by customers to create and version build packages to support multiple environments.

As one KubeCon attendee so eloquently put it after seeing a Chef Habitat demo: “nothing does what Habitat does”. It is the only solution that provides a consistent path and tool set for enterprises with mixed-application environments.   

Chef Habitat Also Found Itself in Good Company with the Launch of Helm 3

One of the biggest announcements of the show was the launch of Helm 3. Helm is an application package manager that runs on top of Kubernetes. While Helm and Chef Habitat are both part of CNCF’s Application Definition & Image Build category, they’re very complementary solutions. Chef Habitat simplifies and automates the process of defining dependencies and implementation requirements to generate packages that can be run on bare metal & virtualized systems, as well as natively exported into container images. When deploying in Kubernetes environments, images created with Chef Habitat can become the source artifact for a Helm chart for the best of both worlds: Chef Habitat ensures a quality container image, and Helm helps management and scaling of services running in Kubernetes. A Helm 3 Deep Dive recorded at KubeConf is available on YouTube: Helm 3 Deep Dive – Taylor Thomas, Microsoft Azure & Martin Hickey, IBM.

For those looking to learn more about Chef Habitat, check out the webinar Creating Platform Agnostic Packages with Chef Habitat.

Heather Peyton

Heather was a Product Marketing Director at Chef responsible for messaging around the Chef Enterprise Automation Stack. Prior to Chef Heather held DevOps related positions at CA and Worksoft. Heather started her tech career working for CompuCom, a large VAR/SI, where she focused on helping large organizations evaluate and deploy new and transformative technologies.