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Microsoft TechEd 2014: A Chef’s-eye View

picture of Chef's booth at TechEd

Chef had a significant presence at Microsoft TechEd two weeks ago. TechEd is Microsoft’s annual user conference with 15,000 attendees (yup, you read that right — so about 15x the size of ChefConf). It was great to meet the hundreds of folks who dropped by our booth to talk about configuration management on Windows, the Azure integration that we previously announced at //Build and ChefConf, PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) and much more.

I announced some of the exciting work we are doing to integrate Chef with PowerShell DSC. You can watch the full session presentation on MSDN’s Channel 9. Our portion starts around 50:00.

In summary:

  • A future release of Chef will provide a bridge layer between DSC resources and Chef resources.
  • The bridge layer maps DSC resources into native Chef resources according to a series of rules (avoiding conflicts with reserved Chef keywords, for example)
  • Any DSC resources that you write, or that third-party developers write, will be automatically available in Chef.

You can see some example code here. The DSC library isn’t public yet as we’re still refining it, but you can see what the recipe interface will look like.

Chef merits a mention in The DSC Book, co-written by PowerShell MVP Steve Murawski and Don Jones, and given away at the show. Although all the printed copies are gone, the PDF is still available at powershell.org, and it’s a great introduction for system administrators looking to learn more about DSC. Steve also appeared on this week’s episode of The Ship Show podcast, entitled “The State of DevOps Life in the Windows World”, and explains how he sees Chef as complementary to DSC.

It’s really exciting to see Microsoft reinforcing the message that automation is the future with powerful tools like PowerShell DSC. After all, who really wants to spend their life clicking wizards? We look forward to working more with Microsoft to make Chef even more delightful on Windows.

Julian Dunn

Julian is a former Chef employee

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