Chef (software)

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Chef (software)
Stable release 11.10.4[1] / February 20, 2014; 7 months ago (2014-02-20)
Development status Active
Written in Ruby (client) and Erlang (server)
Operating system GNU/Linux, AT&T Unix, MS Windows, BSD, Mac OS X
Type Configuration management, System administration, Network management, Cloud management, Continuous delivery, DevOps
License Apache License

Chef is a configuration management tool written in Ruby and Erlang. It uses a pure-Ruby, domain-specific language (DSL) for writing system configuration "recipes". Chef is used to streamline the task of configuring & maintaining a company's servers, and can integrate with cloud-based platforms such as Rackspace, Amazon EC2, Google Cloud Platform, OpenStack, SoftLayer and Microsoft Azure to automatically provision and configure new machines.


The user writes "recipes" that describe how Chef manages server applications (such as Apache HTTP Server, MySQL, or Hadoop) and how they are to be configured. These recipes describe a series of resources that should be in a particular state: packages that should be installed, services that should be running, or files that should be written. Chef makes sure each resource is properly configured and corrects any resources that are not in the desired state.[2]

Chef can run in client/server mode, or in a standalone configuration named "chef-solo". In client/server mode, the Chef client sends various attributes about the node to the Chef server. The server uses Solr to index these attributes and provides an API for clients to query this information. Chef recipes can query these attributes and use the resulting data to help configure the node.

Traditionally, Chef is used to manage Linux but later versions support Microsoft Windows as well.[3]

It is one of the four major configuration management systems on Linux, along with CFEngine, Bcfg2, and Puppet.[4][5]


In February 2013, Opscode released version 11 of Chef. Changes in this release included a complete rewrite of the core API server in Erlang.[6]

Platform support[edit]

Chef focuses its cookbook supportability on the following platforms: Ubuntu, Debian, RHEL/CentOS, Fedora, Mac OS X, Windows 7, and Windows Server.[7]


Although the Chef source code is licensed under the Apache license, compiled packages for Redhat and Ubuntu are available as "Enterprise Chef" under the following subscriptions:[8]

Free Launch Standard Premium
Price per month US-$0 US-$120 US-$300 US-$600
Nodes 5 20 50 100
Support by Community Full support Full support Full support


Chef is used by Airbnb, Mozilla, Facebook,[9] HP Public Cloud,[10] Prezi,[11],[12] Rackspace,[13] Get Satisfaction, IGN, Marshall University, Socrata, University of Minnesota, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Bonobos, Splunk, and Cheezburger, among others.[14]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]