Chef – Configuration Management Tool

  • By
  • May 5, 2022
  • DevOps

Chef – Configuration Management Tool –


What is chef:

  • Chef is a name of company and it also name of a configuration Management Tool that was written in Ruby language.
  • Chef is an open source tool it was developed by Opscode in year 2009, Adam Jacobs is co-founder of Opscode, adam jacobe known as founder of chef.
  • In chef use ruby programming language to develop its basic building block like recipe and cookbook.
  • On April 2,2019 the company announce the all their products are now open-source under the Apache 2.0 License.
  • Chef is used by facebook, AWS opsworks, HP public cloud etc.
  • Chef is an administration tool whatever system administrators use to do manually, now all admin tasks are automating using the chef.
  • Chef is a configuration management technology which automates administrator tasks.
  • Configuration management tool turns your code into infrastructure, so your code would be repeatable, testable and versionable.

Why Chef?

Chef is very popular configuration management tool for automated infrastructure setup. It basically developed and written in Ruby and Erlang  developed in Chef is Open-Source automation Configuration Management tool which automate the infrastructure provision. It was develop in Ruby Lanaguage. It is very popular in DevOps technology for deploy manage and configure number of servers and various application on huge number of physical servers as well as cloud bases servers.

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Features of Chef –

Feature of chef −

  • Chef use Ruby language for development of chef and its domain structure. Check does not create any assumption of target system for configuration, it take directly status of target system and that basis create respective assumption.
  • Chef is one of best choice for manage systems, applications based on physical virtual and cloud environment.

Disadvantages of Chef –

  • The drawbacks of Chef are as follows −
  • To manage cookbooks chef solo is mandatory, it is one of major drawback of chef, Solo is required to control cookbooks. 
  • As per today situation chef perfect fit only for AWS cloud.
  • To lean chef not easy who not familiar with Ruby language, so ruby knowledge required to become perfect in chef
  • Chef documentation is lack, not enough documentation available.


Advantages of Chef Configuration Management Tool:

  1. Complete Automation
  2. Accelerating software delivery time
  3. Improve Risk Management
  4. Manage Cloud as well as Data Center.
  5. A Streamlined IT operations and workflow
  6. Increase uptime
  7. Improve performance
  8. Ensure Compliance
  9. Prevent Error
  10. Reduce Cost

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Component of Chef (Key Building Block):

Workstation: (where you write code):

  • Workstations are personal computers or virtual serves where all configuration code is created, tested or changed.
  • DevOps engineer actually sits here and write codes. This code is called recipe. 
  • A collection of recipe is known as cookbook.
  • Workstation use knife to communicate with the chef server.
  • It use knife command line tool which is use to upload cookbook on the server.


  • A cookbook is a collection of recipes. They are the basic building blocks which get uploaded to Chef Server.


Chef-Server (Where we store code):

  • The chef-server system work as a middle system or medication between workstation and client nodes.
  • All cookbooks are store on chef-server
  • We can host server as per requirement on local as well as remote location.


Chef-Node (where we apply code):

  • Nodes are the system where apply the code and perform configuration
  • Ohai fetches the current state of the node its located in.
  • Node communicates with the chef-server using the chef-client.
  • Each node can have a different configuration required
  • Chef-client is installed on every node.


  • Tool to establish communication among workstation, server and node. Knife is a command-line interface tool runs on workstation to communicate with chef-servers.

Chef Client:

    • Tool runs on very chef node to pull code from the chef-server.
    • Chef client gather the current configuration of system status.
  • It download the required system configuration as per the requirement from the chef- server


  • It maintains current state information of chef code.


  • Tracking the state of system resources to ensure that the changes should not reapply repeatedly.


  • Where we get custom code which is available on central server as per the development of chef community.

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Chef Vs Ansible Comparison: 

If we compare the chef and Ansible, both are very popular tools for automation configuration management, they have many similarities and differences but as per real time environment that make huge impact and we choose one of the best for suited current scenario.

Ansible Pros –

  • Easy and Fast Configuration:

The biggest advantages of ansible is very easy and fast installation process. For work on ansible does not required any specific knowledge, anyone can work with ansible very easily.

  • Easy to Manage:

Ansible use YAML for its configuration and management, YAML is very easier for new learner cause of its simplicity it not required other programming skill, so non-programmers can easily manage ansible.

  • Anyone Can Learn Ansible:

Ansible can learn anyone and become professional, to become devops engineer must require to master in automation tool, so ansible easy learn with simple and easy way.

Ansible Cons:

  • Few Functions:

Its reality ansible is easy to use and best for new learner but still ansible is under development, ansible provide fewer functionality when we compare it with competitive tools such as chef and puppet.

  • Unable to handle complex task:

Ansible not a perfect tool up yet to handle complex tasks because of it simple design. For perform complex tasks ansible become weak for good experience peoples.

  • Less Support:

Ansible provide low cost plan for the commercial products but at cheapest version ansible not provide support,for other version also support option like 8*5 options.

Chef Pros –

  • Better Functions Available:

Chef is more complex structure than Ansible so it provide more function offering. When experience user wanted more advance feature then chef provide a plethora of functions to be explore to use.

  • Better support options:

Chef has stable in market and older as compare with ansible means it gives enough time to develop grow for stability in market so its support become stronger base. For new users it provide large support community to help you learn.

  • Able to handle complex tasks:

Chef have big market share and more advanced than ansible which can handle extremely complex tasks. Means as per requirement of complex project we can use chef cause it have options to perform that critical tasks.

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Chef Cons-

  • High Costing:

Chef is heavy costlier, for handle large number of nodes. It’s not a huge issue for big companies but it high costing for small companies.

  • Complex to learn and operate:

It is not easy for new learner as compare with ansible, even experience professional also struggle to work chef, chef going tough after learning cause of it is complex tool.

  • Must have programming background:

Chef specially design for who have experience in programming. Since Ruby DSL is the configuration language, so learner need to good understanding of ruby to become to a master in chef. 



Abhijeet Dahatonde

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