Installing Chef: Day 1 (Chef Server)


Installing Chef: Intro

Chef Server

I know what you’re thinking right now. “Dude, I read the getting started on the Chef Docs page, and they said to install the ChefDK, in fact that’s all you need. What an IDIOT”

Calm down, that’s half right. Another thing Chef is, is many things to different people. Chef seems as though it was developed mainly with DevOps in mind and that’s not a bad thing. With that being said it’s initial purpose seems, as far as the ChefDK is concerned, is to be used to easily stand up and stand down a small gathering of servers in order to run an app. If that’s your only purpose the ChefDK might be all you need. But we’re not only managing a cluster of web front ends and a database here, we have a complete datacenter to tackle.

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Installing Chef: Intro

Why are you here?

The question is simple, I already know why you’re here and what you’ve been through. Let me ask you a couple of questions to confirm:

  • You work in IT, probably operations, probably at some kind of company with some kind of “datacenter”?
  • Your environment is mostly Windows (clicky-clicky) and every last thing you and your coworkers do is a painful, repetitive process?
  • You’ve heard of one or all of these items: devops, datacenter automation, infrastructure as code, self-healing infrastructure, or the like?
  • Your boss (unfortunately?) also heard of the above?
  • You’ve done your research, you’ve looked up things like PowerShell DSC, you’ve read blogs about Puppet, Chef, Salt, etc. etc?
  • You’ve maybe even created a DSC config and applied it for “fun”, possibly even after just copying and pasting it from the web?
  • You’ve maybe even gone down the path of trying to stand up a DSC Pull server, all gung-ho about automating all of your servers!
  • You’ve maybe failed at that? (Don’t worry you’re not alone) or maybe you didn’t but you realize there’s no way I can manage this, “We have too many servers!” (again, you’re not alone)
  • More research?
  • After your research you notice Puppet Open Source doesn’t seem to cut it, Salt doesn’t seem ready yet…and Chef is completely open source and uses DSC, so you know it’ll work with your Windows Servers… seems like the obvious choice! Now we’re getting somewhere.
  • I’m going to guess that you sat down opened up Chef Docs and stood up your first Chef server..
  • I’m going to guess you’re reading this right now, lost, alone and crying in a corner. Nothing makes sense. “how do I get started??”

Relax, let’s get you there.
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