Chef and Microsoft Windows

Chef and Windows make a great team. Use Chef to automate your Windows stack and get the speed and agility you need.

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Optimize Your Use of Windows

With Chef, you have complete control over your Windows infrastructure. Use Chef to:

  • Reduce your reliance on golden images.
  • Manage registry keys, software packages, users, groups, and access to files and directories.
  • Execute custom batch and PowerShell scripts.
  • Apply fine-grained permissions using Windows security groups.

The Chef client runs as a lightweight Windows service for easy monitoring.

Automate Configuration Tasks

Chef lets you automate every aspect of Windows management. This example shows you how to install Git on Windows, using the chocolatey_package resource.

chocolatey_package 'git.install' do
  options "-params '\"/GitAndUnixToolsOnPath/NoAutoCrlf\"'"
  version '2.8.0'
  action  :install

There are two optional parameters that are passed to the Git installer. The first, GitAndUnixToolsOnPath, ensures that all the Git tools are included in PATH, and not just Git. The second, NoAutoCrlf, ensures that Git does not perform any line-ending conversions when checking out or committing text files.

If you need to install Chocolatey on a node, simply run the default recipe in the Chocolatey cookbook.

include_recipe "chocolatey"

Chef and Desired State Configuration (DSC)

DSC is a PowerShell-based configuration system for Windows that is provided by Microsoft. Chef fully supports DSC and, together, Chef and DSC make a powerful combination for managing your infrastructure, both in your data center and on Microsoft Azure.

Chef and DSC share common concepts, such as the notion of policy-based convergence. Properties in DSC are similar to attributes in Chef. Resources in DSC are similar to Chef resources and they incorporate Microsoft’s knowledge of Windows components. Examples of DSC resources include Active Directory, SQL Server and IIS. Any DSC resource can be included in a Chef recipe.

To get started, take a look at Chef and Microsoft’s Desired State Configuration (DSC), where Chef’s Adam Edwards and Microsoft’s Jeffrey Snover discuss how to use DSC with Chef. Another good resource is  Chef and DSC, given by Chef’s Steve Murawski.

All the Tools You Need

The Chef Development Kit comes with all the development and testing tools you need to write Chef code for your Windows infrastructure.

See How It’s Done

Chef has a proven track record when it comes to Windows. Listen to the folks at MSN describe how they use Chef to manage their site, which is hosted on Azure.

Learn More

Want to learn more about using Chef with Windows? Go to  Learn Chef. There’s a whole set of  tutorials for Windows users. See how easy it is to get started.

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