Chef is the automation platform for configuring and managing your VMware infrastructure. Chef automates the entire stack. Provision VMs, templates, and networks. Automate your migrations to vCloud Air.

Reliably Deploy On Premises and in the Cloud

Together, Chef and VMware give you the tools you need to reliably deploy applications on premises and in the cloud.

Use Chef to Deploy On Premises

Use Chef to provision and manage VMs with VMware vCenter. Chef’s knife-vsphere plugin lets you integrate Chef with your existing vSphere Client installation. You can use knife to list, clone, and delete VMs that are managed with vCenter. You can also:

  • List data stores, resource pools and clusters.
  • Execute commands on running VMs.
  • Customize attributes such as vCPUs, VRAM, and IP addresses when you use customization specifications to clone a VM.
  • Clone and bootstrap Windows and Linux VMs.

The knife-vsphere plugin lets you clone an image, bootstrap it with Chef, and assign a Chef role to it with a single command. Check out the knife-vsphere plugin at

Use Chef to Deploy to vCloud Air

Use Chef to automatically provision and manage instances that are in VMware vCloud Air with the knife-vcair plugin. You can use knife to:

  • Provision new vCloud Air VMs and bootstrap them with Chef.
  • List the currently deployed vCloud Air VMs and vApps.
  • List the vCloud Air templates or images you can use to deploy VMs.
  • List the networks that are available to the current vCloud Air organization.
  • List the NAT rules for the current vCloud Air organization’s network.
  • List the firewall rules for the current vCloud Air organization.
  • List the public IP addresses for the current vCloud Air organization.

Check out the knife v-cair plugin at

Use Chef to Deploy On Premises and to vCloud Air

Use the two plugins together to move applications between your data center and vCloud Air.

On vCloud Air, use Chef’s knife-vcair plugin to create a sandbox. Move the application to the cloud for testing. When the application is ready for production, move it back to the data center, where you can manage the environment with the knife-vsphere plugin, just as you always have.

With Chef and vCloud Air, developers can quickly deploy their applications to test environments. IT personnel can maintain control of production environments and workloads.

Model Once, Deploy Anywhere

VMware’s vCloud Application Director (vCAD) provides a drag-and-drop interface that lets you build deployment blueprints that support a variety of platforms. Chef integrates with vCAD to automate the deployment and configuration of your infrastructure.

For example, here’s a three-tier application that’s based on the Chef-managed service providing all three components.

The Chef-managed service was customized for each tier of the application by using the UI to override various properties.

Want to see a demo? Watch the talk given at ChefConf 2014.

Use Chef with VMware Fusion or VMware Workstation

Use Chef to manage development machines that run under VMware Fusion or VMware Workstation. Chef works with an open-source tool called Vagrant to quickly create and provision new development environments that run in VMs. For VMware Fusion, use the vagrant-vmware-fusion plugin. For VMware Workstation, use the vagrant-vmware-workstation plugin. Here are the installation instructions.

The VMs created by Vagrant run the same Chef configuration code as your production servers, and this means that they faithfully reproduce server conditions on local developer workstations. You can standardize your development environment and bring new team members on board quickly, without the need for each application developer to understand every operational detail of your production infrastructure. The VMs used for development will closely match the production environment, and you can say goodbye to a large class of bugs caused by mismatches between development and production configurations. You’ll never again hear “but it worked on my machine…”

Use Chef with VMware vCenter Server

Use Chef to automatically provision and manage groups of hypervisors on VMware vCenter. The Chef community’s knife-sphere plugin lets you integrate with your existing vSphere Client installation.

Use Chef with VMware vSphere ESX

Use Chef to automatically provision and manage virtual machines that are hosted by either the free or licensed version of VMware vSphere ESXi. Management commands are available from knife, the Chef command line tool that runs on an administrator’s workstation. The Chef community’s knife-esx plugin gives you full control of ESX-hosted virtual machines.

Optimize Your Deployments

Together, Chef and VMware help you:

  • Avoid manual configurations.
  • Eliminate inconsistency.
  • Build once, deploy anywhere.
  • Realize quick wins with standardized applications, middleware and databases.
  • Deliver complex, multi-tier applications.

From now on, you have a single solution that allows for both abstraction and personalization. Build one service and then use application policies to customize it.

Enable Web-Scale IT

Chef helps you adopt the practices of web innovators with an architecture that supports modern trends in IT automation:

  • High scalability. Manage 10,000+ VMs with a single Chef server, or use Chef’s SaaS option.
  • Advanced workflow. Use Chef to implement best practices such as A/B testing and test-driven infrastructure.
  • Flexible, policy-based configuration. Easily define recipes for complex cloud use cases and for enterprise application delivery. The Chef server stores and indexes the attributes of each node in your network for dynamic configuration.
  • Reusable recipes. Reuse recipes with custom data for specific situations. Chef lets you separate configuration policy from configuration state.
  • Service-oriented interface for customization. All of Chef’s functionality is exposed through consistent REST APIs. This gives you tremendous flexibility when designing custom workflows.

Learn More

Want to learn more? Check out Learn Chef to see how easy it is to get started with Chef or contact us at for an in-depth discussion.