Chef + Microsoft Azure

Read our White Paper, “DevOps and the Cloud: Chef and Microsoft Azure”

Chef and Microsoft Azure make a great team. Use Chef to manage both Windows and Linux VMs on Microsoft Azure and enjoy a consistent experience across all platforms. Chef's integration with the Microsoft Azure portal makes it easy to configure any VM.

Chef helps you migrate existing workloads to Microsoft Azure. With Chef, you can quickly deploy in a way that's consistent, secure and visible to all stakeholders.

Chef partnered with Microsoft to develop functionality that adheres to Microsoft best practices. As a result, Windows developers and IT professionals will find Chef to be a natural fit.

Simplify and Speed Up Configuration Tasks

Use Chef to manage every aspect of your Microsoft Azure cloud environment. Here's a simple example. How often do you need to create storage containers whenever you configure a new VM? With Chef, you can write code that makes this common task a versionable, repeatable process.

azure_storage_container container_name do
  storage_account stg_account
  access_key stg_key
  action :create

This code creates a storage container named container_name, if it doesn't already exist. It's a part of the Azure cookbook. There's also a Chef plug-in, made specifically for Microsoft Azure, called knife-azure. With this plug-in you can, for example, set affinity groups, set the name of a storage account, and set the host name of the VM. Download the plug-in, add your security credentials, and you're ready to go.

Using the Microsoft Azure portal, you can deploy a correctly configured Chef client to the VM You don't need to enable additional protocols or do anything with the VM besides boot it and connect to the Chef server.

Chef and Desired State Configuration (DSC)

DSC is a PowerShell-based configuration system for Windows that is provided by Microsoft. 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. Using Chef's forthcoming DSC support, any resource that exists in DSC will be available in the Chef DSL.

Although we're still developing our DSC support, you can get a sense of where we're heading. Take a look at Power Chef - Enhanced PowerShell Integration for Chef Recipes. Adam Edwards gave this presentation at ChefConf 2014. Another good resource is PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) and DevOps in Windows Azure. This talk occurred at Microsoft's TechEd 2014. In it, Chef's Julian Dunn demonstrates how to use DSC from Chef (his demo begins at approximately 51:00).

Optimize Your Use of Microsoft Azure

Use Chef to:

  • Create and manage storage accounts
  • Create and manage BLOB storage containers
  • Create and manage SQL Azure servers
  • Create and manage both Windows and Linux VMs

Get started with Chef to maximize the speed and efficiency of your Microsoft Azure infrastructure.

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.

See How It’s Done

Want to see a demo of how to use Chef with Microsoft Azure? Watch Mark Russinovich’s keynote at ChefConf 2014. You might also be interested in Chef Deployments with Azure.

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.