Open Source Automation Platform Lets DevOps Teams Define Infrastructure as Code

Open-source DevSecOps company Chef this week released v16 of its Chef Infra infrastructure provisioning automation platform. This release adds half a dozen new features, including support for YAML, a new Unified mode, an automation upgrade for its "cookbooks," and expanded platform support.

Chef Infra is designed to allow DevOps and infrastructure-and-operations teams to define infrastructure as code using simple, declarative definitions for common administrative tasks. Chef Infra "ensures painless migration and management with a single process to manage on-premises and cloud estates," the company says.

"In Chef Infra Client 16 we've put an emphasis on ensuring that our community and customers can create, customize, and update their Chef policy with as little friction as possible," said Nick Rycar, Chef technical product marketing manager, in a blog post.

The Chef configuration management and automation platform uses a pure-Ruby domain-specific language for writing system configuration recipes, which can be combined into cookbooks for easier management. Chef-the-company was an early innovator in the DevOps space, and currently bills itself as a DevSecOps provider. "DevSecOps" integrates DevOps with security practices and the "Security as Code" concept.

The list of new features in this release includes:

  • YAML support – Chef recipes written in YAML enable quick and easy execution, streamlining new user onboarding and easing use for those introduced to Chef via the InSpec testing and auditing framework. A new YAML-to-Ruby converter eases the use of helpers, node attributes, looping and other functions.
  • Unified Mode – Allows resource authors to opt-in to a single phase of execution for Chef resources and Ruby code, streamlining the customization process. Enables IT staff without Ruby coding experience to author cookbooks.
  • Cookbook upgrade automation – Improvements to the Cookstyle utility combine cookbook analysis with auto-correction capabilities to make upgrading legacy cookbooks easier.
  • Expanded platform support – Includes ARM (AArch64) support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Amazon Linux 2, CentOS, Ubuntu, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
  • Reduced size and increased speed – This release of the platform is smaller and faster, consuming up to 33% less disk space and improving  Windows performance with the knife command-line tool by up to 450%, the company says. .

"As DevOps needs and capabilities continue to scale in global enterprises, more teams and more widely varied types of users are introduced to automation platforms," said IDC analyst Jim Mercer. "Chef Infra 16 offers users at both ends of the spectrum --new entrants and experienced engineers -- new capabilities to keep their organizations and their cloud environments running smoothly."

A year ago this week, Chef's management made the decision to expand the scope of its open-source licensing to include 100% of its software under the Apache 2.0 license. "We believe the best software is created by collaborating with the people who use it, so that it encapsulates the goals, expertise and innovations of the diverse Chef community," the company's CEO, Barry Crist, said at the time.

The company also announced end-of-support for pre-Chef 15 versions.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].