Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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Chef Expands App Automation Tools 

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The shift to cloud-native platforms and faster delivery of distributed applications via containers is driving efforts to automate not only app development but also management of hybrid infrastructure and compliance requirements.

With that in mind, DevOps specialist Chef released a batch of new tools this week aimed at application and compliance automation while extending partnerships with leading infrastructure and cloud vendors.

Chef moved last year to consolidate functions such as security and governance into its flagship platform dubbed Automate with the aim of providing a single workflow for continuous application delivery. On Tuesday (May 23), the company said it is adding application and compliance automation capabilities.

The automation tool has been integrated with a new application supervisor called Habitat that now includes a Builder service for packaging and managing enterprise apps. One goal is automating the deployment and management of applications running on bare metal as well as virtual or container runtimes.

The new Builder service includes a "scaffolding" capability intended to speed the packaging of apps built using programming languages and frameworks like Ruby and Node.js. Those packaged apps can then be exported to container runtimes such as Docker or the Application Container Image format and run on container environment like Kubernetes, OpenShift and the Mesosphere datacenter operating system.

Meanwhile, the compliance capability has been folded into Chef's InSpec automation framework with the goal of validating security requirements and compliance controls. Chef also released incubator projects to bring compliance code to the cloud. The projects target Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) Microsoft Azure (NASDAQ: MSFT) and VMware vSphere (NYSE: VMW).

The incubator projects provide resources to test and audit the public cloud platforms and access their configurations using InSpec.

Among Chef's growing list of partners are public cloud and virtualization leaders. The company announced late last year the ability to launch Chef Automate natively from the AWS cloud. It has also work with Microsoft on new tools for managing Azure infrastructure using the Automate platform.

Meanwhile, integration of Chef into VMware platforms includes that addition of the automation tool with the last version of the vRealize cloud management platform running on both Windows and Linux, the partners said.

These and other tools respond to growing pressures on DevOps teams to provide continuous delivery of distributed applications. According to an industry survey released by Chef in March, developers see a need for greater automation as they adjust to the new hybrid IT reality and soaring workloads. That is driving requirements for efficiency improvements while squeezing more production out of existing resources, the company argues.

"Applications are where all the value is to a business; both internally and with customers," noted Adam Jacob, Chef's co-founder and CTO.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 25 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as Executive Editor for Electronic Engineering Times.

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