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Chef Automate (First 10 nodes free)

Chef | 1.8.85

Linux/Unix, CentOS 7.2 - 64-bit Amazon Machine Image (AMI)

Reviews from AWS Marketplace

18 AWS reviews

External reviews

41 reviews
from G2

External reviews are not included in the AWS star rating for the product.


    Information Technology and Services

Powerful but Quirky

  • January 26, 2016
  • Review verified by G2

What do you like best?
* Keeps recipes in version control.
* Simple to modify system recipes
* Keeps systems in sync
What do you dislike?
* Can revert developer/administrator changes with little notice.
* Documentation can be out of date, suggesting commands that don't work with no clear suggestion for replacements.
* Individual node configuration is kept separate from recipes, not version controlled.
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
* Keeps a variety of servers maintained with proper configuration.
* Propagates changes to many servers simply.
* Makes transferring server roles between hardware much simpler.


    M. Serhat D.

Made for DevOps and Easy Deployment

  • January 15, 2016
  • Review verified by G2

What do you like best?
Chef is one of my favorite tools lately. It makes painful and risky deployments easy and fast. Chef is also providing a quite flexible infrastructure which lets you to manage many nodes easily. You can simply integrate your other DevOps practices with Chef. It helps you to understand your infrastructure better and minifies security risks before your service goes down. Definetely Chef is a great tool to minimize your downtime. I'm a Ruby developer and Chef has a good support for both Ruby and Rails environments. Also Chef recipes written with Ruby, which is time saving for me.
What do you dislike?
Hosted and premium versions are more expensive than I can afford. Also management console, analytics and high availability features are not included in free version.
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Chef makes our deployments easy and efficient. In the past deployments were stressful and time-consuming for us and Chef helped us to deal with deployments. Also check and read about Puppet, Ansible, Capristano and other DevOps tools which you can use together with Chef.
Recommendations to others considering the product:
Before going with Chef, I suggest you to read well written documentation first and then check cookbooks for ready-to-use solutions before writing your own.


    Online Media

Best infrastructure as code tool!

  • January 13, 2016
  • Review verified by G2

What do you like best?
The DSL is ruby based, it makes sense, and there is a vibrant community that is very helpful.
What do you dislike?
Initial setup can be a bit confusing. Chef-solo, chef-client, chef-zero, etc. Managing cookbooks is also confusing until you set up berkshelf, which is a third-party tool.
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
It solves the problem of having 'snowflake' servers - with Chef, every server is set up identically, which leads to a much more dependable environment. It also saves time when spinning up new machines.
Recommendations to others considering the product:
There are both free and paid options. Since chef 12, the enterprise and open source versions are very similar - but there are some paid options that are interesting, like analytics and chef delivery.


    Paul B.

Effective and smart way of config management, with a bit of a learning curve

  • January 11, 2016
  • Review provided by G2

What do you like best?
Once you get running with Chef it's a very useful tool for config management, and a huge step forward over traditional methods.
What do you dislike?
The learning curve can be a bit steep, there is plenty of terminology and patterns to wrap your head around. Once it clicks though it's easy enough to use.
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Used in the past to deploy and manage small - medium clusters.


    Nagarjuna Y.

Devops made easy

  • January 07, 2016
  • Review verified by G2

What do you like best?
Awesome documentation & training resources given by the Chef are easily understandable.I have used only the opensource and free versions of chef-solo (except for the trail period) in all the organisations I have worked with till now.I use chef in conjunction with vagrant to improve & automate the stuff in development life cycle.Librarian-chef is most useful bundler plugin for chef based infrastructure which one must try automates the things with simple commands.
What do you dislike?
They divided the Chef tool into three categories for the sake of business which is very disappointing
1. Hosted Chef
2. Enterprise (On-Premise Version)
3. Opensource Version which comes with less add-on and no support

Though there is a vast community present who are using chef for businesses it tuff to rely on opensource chef unless we have very experienced professionals.Pricing disappoints me a lot being a small organisation.Chef commitment to opensource is still doubtful which is an scary thing.
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Cloud Deployment, Build Automation, Server configuration Management
Recommendations to others considering the product:
Do you wanna save the amount of time managing server configuration for your systems? Then yes I would recommend Chef for you.For small organisation hire a experienced professional to save money that need to be spend on tech support while using chef otherwise train them to get expertise so that they can confidently manage your infrastructure.

Choosing Hosted chef is best option for the organization with newly trained staff which would save organisation from critical situations.


    Human Resources

Strong Core Software, Disappointing Community Additions

  • December 24, 2015
  • Review provided by G2

What do you like best?
The diverse collection of community cookbooks.
What do you dislike?
The lack of maintenance on the majority of community cookbooks, which requires me to re-invent the wheel rather than use a pre-existing framework.
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Reproducible infrastructure. Chef is a great tool for infrastructure management, as long as you know what you're doing. Chef's documentation does not hand-hold users through its set-up, use, or troubleshooting so I've regularly relied on third-party blogs/instructions to maintain my Chef cookbooks. If you're looking for a tool that guides you through installation, configuration, and use, I recommend Puppet.
Recommendations to others considering the product:
If you're new to configuration management ideas in general, Chef has a steep learning curve. The Chef software gives its admins just enough rope to hang themselves. If you're already familiar with the Chef DSL (or config management DSLs in general), Chef is a powerful tool.


    Ashutosh N.

Chef is neat and awesome

  • December 23, 2015
  • Review provided by G2

What do you like best?
Open Source
Community support.
Documentation is great.
Well written Chef blogs to understand steps and procedure.
Automated deployment of application in a farm.
Availability of well written cookbooks.
Ease of development with just enough knowledge of Ruby.
What do you dislike?
Installation should be made little faster.
knife-plugins support is less
Some of the cookbooks are not maintained..
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
We wanted to do one-click installation of application on cloud.
Did a setup right from bare-metal provisioning and then used Chef for application deployment on Private Cloud. Developed shell scripts which triggers chef-client once a machine is ready on blade server. Used knife-plugins to manage private cloud farm.

Some of the benefits realized were ease of testing cookbooks using test-kitchen and Vagrant. Chef-solo was also helpful.
Recommendations to others considering the product:
I recommend to use Chef because of following reasons :

Community support is amazing. You have developers/users in the list who help to solve your problems. You need not be proficient in Ruby, just know-how of Ruby is enough to start developing recipes. Most of the cookbooks available on Chef's git-hub page can be re-used and customized as per your requirement. It also supports majority of Operating Systems. I have worked with other configuration management and remote execution systems, but it all depends what your need is and which one fits your environment. Rather than wading through so many tutorials, decide on one and be on it.


    Rodrigo R.

Excelent server automation tool

  • December 22, 2015
  • Review provided by G2

What do you like best?
There are plenty of well written, documented and supported Chef recipes for dealing with all sorts of server automation, like users management, database management, Solr configuration, full application stack configuration (Sensu, Gitorious, Redmine), SSH, and many more commonly used software. All of them are open-source and have plenty of customization options. Chef itself has good documentation.

Dependencies management is very easy and robust by using librarian-chef.

Chef's verbose mode is very helpful when debugging what a recipe is doing and there's also a dry runner mode which won't actually run anything in the server, which is also helpful in some cases.

Unlike Puppet there's no domain specific language to learn, which is a big advantage for me. You only have to learn a bit of Ruby, which is an easy language to learn and use and you are able to perform any logic pretty easily when compared with Puppet which is quite limiting when you need some custom logic which is not handled by their DSL and you are forced to extend their DSL.

Chef can be configured through an specialized server that will orchestrate all managed servers or they can be used without setting up any Chef server, through chef-solo. Chef-solo can be integrated with Vagrant as well to help setting up a development environment very quickly.
What do you dislike?
I'd prefer Chef's focused on chef-solo for most of its beginning tutorials as I find it the easier mode to start with and also the most useful one for most small organizations. The fact that chef-solo is not the tutorials assume makes it harder for a beginner to understand how it works.

I also think they could be more backwards compatible in new releases. I remember it took me quite a while to fix some old recipes I had so that it would work in newer Chef releases...

They use JIRA to manage their tickets and I really don't like JIRA.
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
We integrate Chef and Capistrano to manage our servers and deploy our applications. Since both are written in Ruby, we can share a dynamic configuration written as a Ruby DSL that is used by both Chef recipes and Capistrano tasks. We use Capistrano to run Chef in the servers requiring changes.

For example, we manage multiple environments and applications in a shared set of servers. We have a database server and two application servers and we are able to properly manage the database in the database server through Chef, configure Solr, install packages in the application servers, set up nginx in the right server and everything that is required for the application to run and finally run the deploy procedure using Capistrano tasks, which are more well suited to handle deploys and rollbacks than Chef is. The server management part is handled by Capistrano running chef-solo in the right servers. Then the deploy proceeds as usual with regular Capistrano tasks. All with a single command line that will inform the application, which application server to deploy to and the environment (production, Cert, experimental, staging and others).

Being able to run a single command to handle the full deployment cycle gives a lot confidence specially because there are lots of steps involved for our applications to be properly configured and run in our servers... It would be really easy to forget some of those steps in a big release without the automated recipes.
Recommendations to others considering the product:
I'd recommend starting with the chef-solo mode, which is much easier to start with and well suitable even for more complex servers infra-structure. Also, take some time to learn some Ruby if you are not comfortable with the language.


    Mohammad Hossein M.

Simple yet Elegant

  • December 22, 2015
  • Review provided by G2

What do you like best?
When you are a rapid web designer/developer, you never want to be late on delivery.
Chef should be your choice if you want to automate or config a system the way you want.
It's easier than what you might think.
Test it today!
What do you dislike?
I've never had a problem with Chef, so I do not dislike anything about it.
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
1. Saving time,
2. Saving Money,
3. Saving Clients
4. Learn how to think big about my future web dev needs.
Recommendations to others considering the product:
Just use it once and you'll love it.


    Jared M. S.

I use it for production technology at a cyber security startup and absolutely love it

  • December 22, 2015
  • Review provided by G2

What do you like best?
I love the ease of use, specifically the short time required to get set up and start iterating on a project using chef to manage complex configurations across large clusters of servers.
What do you dislike?
There a few things I don't like, but one in particular is that when first learning chef I found it hard to find exactly what I needed in the documentation and tutorials. Eventually, however, I was able to dig through enough documentation that I found what I needed.
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
I am using Chef to automate configuration across many servers that require rapid iterations of changes to configuration. Without chef, I wouldn't be able to deploy changes to hundreds of machines spread across the world.
Recommendations to others considering the product:
Rather than trying to parse through many tutorials, just get started on a project with it. You'll find that Chef's intuitive design makes this method of learning easy!