Enhanced Deployment and Installation Experience of Automate HA (Highly Available)

The Chef Automate 4.10.1 release on September 6, 2023, brings with it an enhanced user experience of deploying and installing Automate HA (High Availability). The high availability deployment of Automate,i.e., Automate HA, is more resilient, scalable, and simpler to operate than ever before. 

Why Automate HA 

High Availability indicates that an application or system offers a high level of availability indicating that the system/application is unlikely to fail owing to the failure of any one device/server or traffic overload. Chef Automate HA is designed to avoid loss of service by reducing or managing failures and minimizing downtimes. Automate HA brings with it many benefits in terms of time and scale. For instance: 

  • High uptime of critical infrastructure to provide stability of systems 
  • Need-based scaling on infrastructure to help optimize cost 
  • Avoid single point of failure of installed systems 
  • Reduced time to overcome system disaster 

Deployment Models supported by Automate HA 

Customers who need a ‘high availability’ solution can use Automate HA to choose a deployment model that best meets their business and technical requirements. 

Some of the salient improvements across all the above deployment types are discussed below: 

Config generator to auto-generate a deployment config 

Previously, deployment configurations required a lot of parameters to be filled in manually. However, the new Automate CLI command — “config gen” enables users to create an auto-generated deployment configuration file with something as simple as answering a few questions. On running the command, Automate will ask the user a set of pre-defined questions in an interactive manner. Based on the answers that the user gives, Automate will generate a configuration file that can be used for deployment. Auto-generating configuration files reduce errors that can creep in during manual entry of parameter values.  

One can still patch the config and update values as required. 

Verification checks before deployment 

Verification checks are a utility to help pre-diagnose issues that might impact the deployment and to get the system health on demand. As a part of the Automate HA deployment process, a bunch of verification checks related to various aspects of cluster health is checked pre-emptively. For every check that fails, users are provided with remediation steps too. Based on the results of the verification checks, one can decide whether one wants to proceed with deployment or make relevant changes to have a stable system after deployment. 

There is also an option to skip such tests. The “Skipped” flag can be used in the deployment command to skip such tests. This can be useful for sandbox or dev environments. 

Ease of post-deployment maintainability 

Once the Automate HA cluster has been deployed, one can seamlessly monitor and maintain the cluster from a single central bastion system. There are a bunch of CLI utilities like 'status, status summary, verify' that can be used proactively to protect and maintain the health of the cluster. 

Manage cluster from central bastion system 

All relevant commands required to install, deploy, run, and maintain different types of backend and frontend nodes in Automate HA cluster are available from a single central bastion control system. Now, users need not log into each type of node and manage them separately. Rather, all nodes can be configured, controlled, and managed from a single bastion control system. This should not only improve the efficiency of users managing the cluster but also facilitate ease of use. 

Parity in performance with previous HA solutions from Chef 

Over the years, Chef has offered different types of HA solutions. Each solution helped a specific set of customers be successful. But it also led to variations in the performance promise and capabilities of the solution. To unify everything, Automate HA as a solution will not only meet the performance and capability aspects of parity but also provide a migration path for customers to transition from their existing HA solutions and start using Automate HA. 

By doing this, users will benefit from improved automation, out-of-the-box capabilities, and stability of solutions. 

Integrate with existing private instance of Chef Supermarket 

New services have been added in Chef Automate to ensure that solutions that use Chef Server as an identity provider can continue using the same via the Chef Automate interface too. As an example, existing users of private instance of Chef Supermarket can now integrate such instances into Chef Automate and ensure that the same works with Automate HA too. 

To conclude, one can say that the focus on automation and the ability to reduce installation and usage complexities should simplify the process of deploying Automate HA and maintaining it. 

Please refer to https://docs.chef.io/automate/ha/ to start using the solution. Alternatively, if you need help deploying automate HA, get in touch with our professional services team to choose the best plan for you.  

For any queries or suggestions,  please reach out to [email protected]

Ankur Mundhra

Ankur Mundhra is a Senior Product Manager at Progress Chef.

Vivek Yadav

Vivek Yadav is a Software Engineering Manager at Progress Chef. 

Anugraha Benjamin

Anugraha Benjamin is a Product Marketing Manager at Chef.