Cloud infrastructure is a test you don't want to cram for.

Automated infrastructure from Chef's Chef helps it make the grade; no cramming required.
"We couldn't do it without Chef. It would be impossible for any human to manage the complexity that Chef takes on." Chris Williams, BookRenter Co-Founder and DevOps Manager

The Challenge

BookRenter invented the textbook rental category in 2006 with a mission to make education more affordable and accessible for students of higher education and K-12 institutions. The company allows students to rent textbooks for up to 80 percent off the retail price by providing them with the best price, highest quality books, and most flexible rental experience through its campus store or online at As one of the fastest growing startups in Silicon Valley, and facing stiff competition in the marketplace, BookRenter needed to not only ramp up its server capacity to serve its customers (going from fewer than 10 servers to more than 100 in 2011), it also needed to rapidly deploy a second backup datacenter in a different location.

The Solution

With automation in its DNA, BookRenter deployed Chef to rapidly spin up additional servers and handle application updates and editing without manual interference. It also built the capability to launch a mirror site in a separate datacenter in a matter of minutes, a preemptive move in the event of any kind of outage at its primary datacenter.

The Results

  • Easily replicate and manage backup datacenter.
  • Ease of use/reduction of human error.
  • Time savings.
  • Quick access to shared knowledge for all developers.
  • Increase agility and reliability to more efficiently manage platform configuration.
  • Repeatable infrastructure.
  • Contribute to, and receive help from, Chef's community of developers.
  • Peace of mind.