How Chef Works

The best way to learn Chef is to use Chef Get Started

How Chef works

Chef turns infrastructure into code. With Chef, you can automate how you build, deploy, and manage your infrastructure. Your infrastructure becomes as versionable, testable, and repeatable as application code.

Chef relies on reusable definitions known as recipes to automate infrastructure tasks. Examples of recipes are instructions for configuring web servers, databases and load balancers. Together, recipes describe what your infrastructure consists of and how each part of your infrastructure should be deployed, configured and managed.

Recipes use building blocks called resources. A resource describes some piece of infrastructure, such as a file, a template, or a package to be installed. You can use the many resources included in Chef, or create your own to manage unique configurations and legacy systems.

The Chef server stores your recipes as well as other configuration data. The Chef client is installed on each node in your network. A node can be a physical server, a virtual server or a container instance. The Chef client periodically polls the Chef server for the latest recipes and checks to see if the node is in compliance with the policy defined by these recipes. If the node is out of date, the Chef client runs them on the node to bring it up to date.

Plans and Pricing

Essentials
Free
Features
  • (Linux, Windows, Mac OS, and more)
  • Up to 25 Nodes (Hosting up to 5 Nodes)
Support
Subscription
As low as $6 a node per month
Features
  • (Linux, Windows, Mac OS, and more)
Support
Enterprise
Contact for Pricing
Features
  • (Linux, Windows, Mac OS, and more)
Support
Premium Features
Management Console
Analytics Platform
High Availability
Replication
Available as a Hosted Service
Packages
Essentials
Free
Subscription
As low as
$6 a node per month
Enterprise
Contact for Pricing
Up to 25 Nodes
(Hosting up to 5 Nodes)
Unlimited
Unlimited
Premium Features
Management Console
Analytics Platform
High Availability
Replication
Available as
a Hosted Service
Support
30 Days
Unlimited 24x7

High Availability

Maximize the uptime of your Chef server with high availability (HA). HA helps ensure that your Chef service is uninterrupted within your data center or AWS region, even if a Chef server fails. Chef's HA feature supports distributed replicated block devices (DRBD) as well as Amazon's elastic block storage (EBS) volumes and the remapping of its elastic IP (EIP) addresses.

Learn more about High Availability.

Replication

With replication, you can use a single Chef server as a central location for developing policy. Other Chef servers in other geographic areas periodically poll the primary for any changes. They stay current with your latest cookbooks, environments, roles and databags. 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.

Learn more about Replication.

Analytics Platform

Get visibility into your Chef servers, verify compliance and keep up with changes, all with the Chef analytics platform. See what's happening on your Chef server in real time with action logs. Use the information to enforce compliance with your company's policies. Integrate the data with your favorite external systems, such as HipChat. Notify the relevant people or automated tools about changes to the Chef server so that they can react in real time.

Management Console

Use the web-based management console to control access to objects, such as nodes and cookbooks, through RBAC. You can also 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.

Hosted Chef

Let us manage your Chef server. Take advantage of hosted Chef, our powerful SaaS offering, and hand the work over to us. You can manage 5 nodes for free. If you have a Chef subscription, hosted Chef is available to you at no additional charge.

Learn Chef by using Chef Get Started