Category Archives: Chef

Chef boosts application IQ with Habitat launch

artificial intelligence, communication and futuristicChef has launched a new open source project called Habitat, which it claims introduces a new approach for application automation.

The team claim Habitat is a unique piece of software which enables applications to be freed from dependency on a company’s infrastructure. When applications are wrapped in Habitat the runtime environment is no longer the focus and does not constrain the application itself. Due to this USP applications can run across numerous environments such as containers, PaaS, cloud infrastructure and on premise data centres, but also has the intelligence to self-organize and self-configure, the company claims.

“We must free the application from its dependency on infrastructure to truly achieve the promise of DevOps,” said Adam Jacob, CTO at Chef. “There is so much open source software to be written in the world and we’re very excited to release Habitat into the wild. We believe application-centric automation can give modern development teams what they really want — to build new apps, not muck around in the plumbing.”

Chef would generally be considered a challenger to the technology industry’s giants having only been founded in 2008, though the company has made positive strides in recent years specializing in the DevOps and containers arenas, two of the more prominent growth areas. Although both of these areas are prominent in marketing campaigns and conference presentations, applications into the real-world have been more difficult.

The Habitat product is built on the idea that infrastructure dictated the design of an application. Chef claims by making the application and its automation the unit of deployment, developers can focus on business value and planning features that will make their products stand out rather than on the constraints of infrastructure and particular runtime environments.

“The launch of Habitat is a significant moment for both Chef and the entire DevOps community in the UK and EMEA,” said Joe Pynadath, ‎GM of EMEA for Chef Software, Chef. “It marks our next evolution and will provide an absolutely transformative, paradigm shift to how our community and customers can approach application management and automation. An approach that puts the application first and makes them independent of their underlying infrastructure.  I am extremely excited to see the positive impact that our Chef community and customers throughout Europe will gain from this revolutionary technology.”

Will containers change the world of cloud?

Global Container TradeThe rise of containers as a technology has been glorious and confusing in equal measure. While touted by some as the saviour of developers, and by others as the end of VM’s, the majority simply don’t understand containers as a concept or a technology.

In the simplest of terms, containers let you pack more computing workloads onto a single server and in theory, that means you can buy less hardware, build or rent less data centre space, and hire fewer people to manage that equipment.

“In the earlier years of computing, we had dedicated servers which later evolved with virtualisation,” say Giri Fox, Director of Technical Services at Rackspace. “Containers are part of the next evolution of servers, and have gained large media and technologist attention. In essence, containers are the lightest way to define an application and to transport it between servers. They enable an application to be sliced into small elements and distributed on one or more servers, which in turn improves resource usage and can even reduce costs.”

There are some clear differences between containers and virtual machines though. Linux containers give each application, its own isolated environment in which to run, but multiple containers share the host servers’ operating system. Since you don’t have to boot up an operating system, you can create containers in seconds not minutes like virtual machines. They are faster, require less memory space, offer higher-level isolation and are highly portable.

“Containers are more responsive and can run the same task faster,” adds Fox. “They increase the velocity of application development, and can make continuous integration and deployment easier. They often offer reduced costs for IT; testing and production environments can be smaller than without containers. Plus, the density of applications on a server can be increased which leads to better utilisation.

“As a direct result of these two benefits, the scope for innovation is greater than its previous technologies. This can facilitate application modernisation and allow more room to experiment.”

So the benefits are pretty open-ended. Speed of deployment, flexibility to run anywhere, no more expensive licenses, more reliable and more opportunity for innovation.

Which all sounds great, doesn’t it?

CaptureThat said, a recent survey from the Cloud & DevOps World team brought out some very interesting statistics, first and foremost the understanding of the technology. 76% of respondents agreed with the statement “Everyone has heard of containers, but no-one really understands what containers are”.

While containers have the potential to be
the next big thing in the cloud industry, unless those in the ecosystem understand the concept and perceived benefits, it is unlikely to take off.

“Containers are evolving rapidly and present an interesting runtime option for application development,” says Joe Pynadath, ‎GM of EMEA for Chef. “We know that with today’s distributed and lightweight apps, businesses, whether they are a new start-up’s to traditional enterprise, must accelerate their capabilities for building, testing, and delivering modern applications that drive revenue.

“One result of the ever-greater focus on software development is the use of new tools to build applications more rapidly and it is here that containers have emerged as an interesting route for developers. This is because they allow you to quickly build applications in a portable and lightweight manner. This provides a huge benefit for developers in speeding up the application building process. However, despite this, containers are not able to solve the complexities of taking an application from build through test to production, which presents a range of management challenges for developers and operations engineers looking to use them.”

There is certainly potential for containers within the enterprise environment, but as with all emerging technologies there is a certain level of confusion as to how they will integrate within the current business model, and how the introduction will impact the IT department on a day-to-day basis.

“Some of the questions we’re regularly asked by businesses looking to use containers are “How do you configure and tune the OS that will host them? How do you adapt your containers at run time to the needs of the dev, test and production environments they’re in?” comments Pynadath.

While containers allow you to use discovery services or roll your own solutions, the need to monitor and manage them in an automated way remains a challenge for IT teams. At Chef, we understand the benefits containers can bring to developers and are excited to help them automate many of the complex elements that are necessary to support containerized workflows in production”

Vendors are confident that the introduction of containers will drive further efficiencies and speed within the industry, though we’re yet to see a firm commitment from the mass market to demonstrate the technology will take off. The early adopter uptake is promising, and there are case studies to demonstrate the much lauded potential, but it’s still early days.

In short, containers are good, but most people just need to learn what they are.

Get it All in Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Business Edition

We’ve been talking a lot about the features of Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Business Edition (previously known as Parallels Desktop for Mac Enterprise Edition), and I want to dig in a little more to be clear on all of the features from the new Parallels Desktop 11 Pro Edition that you also get in […]

The post Get it All in Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac Business Edition appeared first on Parallels Blog.

AWS goes hipster, plans pop-up shop in London

AWS is opening a pop-up shop in London following other openings in San Fran and NYC

AWS is opening a pop-up shop in London following other openings in San Fran and NYC

Amazon Web Services has announced plans to take its AWS Pop-up Loft programme to London in early September in a bid to reach out to local UK startups.

The temporary shops will be a place where developers, engineers and entrepreneurs can come to learn about AWS services, get trained up on the company’ services, meet clients, and receive guidance on cloud migration.

The company has opened similar pop-up shops in in San Francisco and New York City, but the most recently announced shop, which is due to open September 10, is the company’s first crack at it outside the US.

The UK is a hotbed of innovation and London is one of the main places where we see talented, ambitious entrepreneurs coming together to test ideas and start new businesses that leverage cloud computing,” said Werner Vogels, chief technical officer and vice president,

“With the AWS Pop-up Loft in London we will be bringing together a host of AWS resources, and some of the brightest and most creative minds in the industry, to help startups across the UK. We look forward to working alongside the next generation of UK businesses and helping them to reach their full potential,” Vogels said.

Intel and Chef will also be supporting the pop-up shop.

Patrick Bliemer, managing director, Intel Northern Europe said: “The startup community is a fundamental driver of technology innovations fuelling the rapid growth of the digital services economy. Intel is excited to be working closely with AWS on the AWS Pop-up Loft program to help enable environments around the world where users have access to the tools and expert guidance they need to bring new ideas and innovations to market.”

CenturyLink open sources more cloud tech

CenturyLink has open sourced a batch of cloud tools

CenturyLink has open sourced a batch of cloud tools

CenturyLink has open sourced a number of tools aimed at improving provisioning for Chef on VMware infrastructure as well as Docker deployment, orchestration and monitoring.

Among the projects open sourced by the company include a Chef provisioning driver for vSphere, – a tool for creating, composing and validating Docker images, and – a tool that helps improve Docker image visualisation in order to help give developers more visibility into their workloads.

“The embrace of open-source technologies within the enterprise continues to rise, and we are proud to be huge open-source advocates and contributors at CenturyLink,” said Jared Wray, senior vice president of platforms at CenturyLink.

“We believe it’s critical to be active in the open-source community, building flexible and feature-rich tools that enable new possibilities for developers.”

While CenturyLink’s cloud platform is proprietary and developed in house Wray has repeatedly said open source technologies form an essential part of the cloud ecosystem – Wray himself was a big contributor to Cloud Foundry, the open source PaaS tool, when developing Iron Foundry.

The company has also previously open sourced other tools, too. Last summer it punted a Docker management platform it calls Panamax into the open source world, a platform is designed to ease the development and deployment of any application sitting within a Docker environment. It has also open sourced a number of tools designed to help developers assess the total cost of ownership of multiple cloud platforms.

AWS and Chef cook up DevOps deal

Chef is moving onto the AWS Marketplace

Chef is moving onto the AWS Marketplace

IT automation specialist Chef and AWS announced a deal this week that would see Chef’s flagship offering offered via the AWS Marketplace, a move the companies said would help drive DevOps cloud uptake.

Tools like Chef and Puppet Labs, which use an intermediary service to help automate a company’s infrastructure, have grown increasingly popular with DevOps personnel in recent years – particularly given not just the growth but heterogeneity of cloud today. And with DevOps continuing to grow – by 2016 nearly a quarter of the largest enterprises globally will have adopted a DevOps strategy according to Gartner – it’s clear both AWS and Chef see a huge opportunity to onboard more users to the former’s cloud service.

As one might expect, the companies touted the ability to use Chef to migrate workloads off premise and into the AWS without losing all of the code developed to automate lower level services.

Though Chef and Puppet Labs can both be deployed on and automate AWS cloud resources the Chef / AWS deal will see it gain one-click deployment and a more prominent placement in its catalogue of available services.

“Chef is one of the leading offerings for DevOps workflows, which engineers and developers depend on to accelerate their businesses,” said Dave McCann, vice president, AWS Marketplace. “Our customers want easy-to-use software like Chef that is available for immediate purchase and deployment in AWS Marketplace. This new partnership demonstrates our focus on offering low-friction DevOps tools to power customers’ businesses.”

Ken Cheney, vice president of business development at Chef said: “AWS’s market leadership in cloud computing, coupled with our expertise in IT automation and DevOps practices, brings a new level of capabilities to our customers. Together, we’re delivering a single source for automation, cloud, and DevOps, so businesses everywhere can spend minimal calories on managing infrastructure and maximise their ability to develop the software driving today’s economy.”

AWS Unveils OpsWorks Cloud DevOps Solution

Amazon AWS just announced DevOps (beta) a no-charge solution for managing applications in the AWS cloud using Chef recipes, built on technology developed by Peritor, the creators of Scalarium, which was acquired by AWS in 2012:

AWS OpsWorks is a DevOps solution for managing applications of any scale or complexity on the AWS cloud. AWS OpsWorks features an integrated experience for managing the complete application lifecycle, including resource provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, software updates, monitoring, and access control. 

AWS OpsWorks lets you model and visualize your application with layers that define how to configure a set of resources that are managed together. You can also define the software configuration for each layer, including installation scripts and initialization tasks. When an instance is added to a layer, all the configuration steps are applied for you. AWS OpsWorks promotes conventions but is flexible enough to let you customize any aspect of your environment. Since AWS OpsWorks uses Chef recipes, you can leverage hundreds of community-built configurations such as PostgreSQL, Nginx, and Solr.

Read details.