Chef (company)

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IndustryComputer software[1]
HeadquartersSeattle, Washington, U.S.[1]
Key people
Barry Crist (CEO),[2] Adam Jacob, Jesse Robbins, Jez Humble

Chef is an American corporation headquartered in Seattle, Washington, which produces software allowing information technology departments to automate the process in which they configure, deploy and scale servers and applications.[3]

The Chef software is used to streamline the task of configuring & maintaining a company's servers, and can integrate with cloud-based platforms such as Rackspace and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud to automatically provision and configure new machines.

About 70% of Chef's clients come from Fortune 1000 companies, including major organizations like Facebook, Nordstrom, Disney, and General Electric.[4]

The company was founded as Opscode in 2008 by current Chief Technology Officer Adam Jacob, Jesse Robbins, Barry Steinglass, and Nathan Haneysmith.[5] Chef is based in Seattle, with regional offices in Berlin, London, and San Francisco. Chef is a venture funded company, as of Sep 2015 Chef is valued at $360 million after a $40 million funding round.[6][7]

In November 2015, the company acquired a German security startup, VulcanoSec.[8]


Chef offers a single commercial product, Chef Automate, released at ChefConf in July 2016. Chef Automate includes a full-stack continuous deployment pipeline, automated testing for compliance and security, and visibility into everything that's happening with Chef-managed resources.[9]

Chef Automate builds on two of Chef's open source projects - Chef and InSpec - and integrates with the company's third open source project, Habitat. Habitat offers "application automation" to simplify running complex applications in different environments including containers, traditional data servers, or PaaS. According to Wired Magazine, this new software "Makes Code Work Like Biology".[10][11][12]

Chef maintains three open source projects - Chef, InSpec, and Habitat.


Chef offers three versions of its product: Chef Basics (free, open source), Hosted Chef ($72/node, minimum 20 node purchase), and Chef Automate ($137/node, annual subscription). The paid versions offer varying degrees of free trial and a range of features and support benefits. More info at

Notable Use Cases[edit]

While Chef was primarily created as a means to assist with IT Automation/Configuration Management/Infrastructure as Code use cases, it has expanded to serve additional use cases as well.

IT Automation/Configuration Management[edit]

Basecamp adopted Chef as a means of "documenting an entire infrastructure setup in a single code base, rather than a set of disparate files, scripts and commands."[13]

Facebook utilizes a slightly modified version of Chef to manage its infrastructure and keep ". . .its thousands of servers running smoothly."[14]

Cloud Management[edit] uses "a plug-in for Chef's knife tool as a command-line interface for developers to provision resources in CloudStack."[15]

If not for Chef's ability to automatically configure Amazon Machine Images (AMI) when utilizing Amazon Web Services, Tout, a short-form video delivery firm, would have had to "build a similar tool from scratch," and would not be able to ". . .focus on code development."[15]

Hotel Tonight uses Chef to take out "repetitive, error-prone work" while managing over 100 AMIs.[15]

Continuous Delivery/Continuous Integration[edit]

HP Public Cloud employs Chef to decrease the amount of time its developers spend on deployment and testing, providing them with "more time to create new features, enhance code quality, and write better code tests."[16] "created a culture of Continuous Delivery" via Chef in order to better "identify itself as a company that has business agility."[17]

Safari Books Online utilizes Chef to "push changes to production," and ensure that "All code was in version control and tested."[18]


Web presentation site Prezi uses Chef to "make it easy to jump start infrastructure, share and discover information, and customize and refine" their DevOps process.[19]

Rackspace partners with Chef so that its customers can "Keep Dev and Production environments in sync, enabling faster deployment and quicker time to market of new features," and "Scale horizontally without manual setup."[20]


Chef can automate the creation, management, and monitoring of Docker (software) containers.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Company Overview of Opscode, Inc". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Barry Crist appointed as Opscode CEO". Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  3. ^ "Was Opscode, Now Chef. IT Automation On The Rise, New Funding, New Name, New CFO". Forbes. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  4. ^ "IT automation startup Chef plans to double staff as sales continue to rise". Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Chef - Crunchbase". Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Devops software company Chef raises $40M with HP Ventures participating". VentureBeat.
  7. ^ "Chef Cooks Up $40M Funding, $360M Valuation". PitchBook.
  8. ^ "Chef acquires German security startup VulcanoSec, launches new compliance product - GeekWire". GeekWire. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  9. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ "Chef™ Growth Soars in 2013". Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  11. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Metz, Cade. "The Quest to Make Code Work Like Biology Just Took A Big Step". Wired.
  13. ^ "Nuts & Bolts: Configuration management with Chef". Retrieved 27 August 2009.
  14. ^ "Facebook uses a seasoned Chef to keep servers simmering". Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  15. ^ a b c "Opscode Chef configuration automation tool aids cloud management". SearchCloudComputing. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  16. ^ "ChefConf Readout: Chef to Enable the Full Continuous Deployment Pipeline". Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  17. ^ Creating a Culture for Continuous Delivery - John Esser on YouTube
  18. ^ "Continuous Integration for Chef with Vagrant, Jenkins, and Gitlab". Safari Flow Blog. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  19. ^ How Chef Enables the DevOps Culture at Prezi - Zsolt Dollenstein on YouTube
  20. ^
  21. ^ #ChefConf 2014: Mandi Walls, "Demo Session" on YouTube

External links[edit]