Chef Enhances Enterprise Automation Stack

May 22, 2019

Chef has made a number of significant enhancements to its recently-introduced Chef Enterprise Automation Stack (EAS) that make it easier for customers to deliver and secure infrastructure and applications in any environment. New capabilities include the introduction of comprehensive Application Operations Dashboards, new Migration Accelerators and seamless management of Chef Infra and Chef InSpec using Chef Habitat.

“Enterprise cloud migration challenges have shifted away from configuration management and simple infrastructure provisioning to include a wide variety of issues based on co-dependent variables that cross team boundaries and require seamless execution across widely-distributed areas of expertise,” said Jim Mercer, Research Director at IDC. “To fully exploit the capabilities of the cloud, enterprises need to continuously address the end-to-end application workflow, from compliance assessment to application dependencies and cross-platform management.”

The enhanced Chef EAS provides a unified stack to enable the Coded Enterprise, integrating automation engines for infrastructure, security and applications and providing a clearly-defined mechanism for collaboration through code. By offering full-stack observability for operations staff, EAS reduces interdepartmental friction and unifies cross-disciplinary teams, increasing velocity and reducing risk.

Chef Automate Application Operations Dashboard

Enterprise operations teams have traditionally lacked the visibility they need to take the actions necessary to ensure applications move quickly and remain healthy and secure over their lifetimes. In addition, they lack detailed visibility into security and compliance status, making audits more time consuming and exposing the enterprise to unacceptable risk. Chef Application Operations Dashboards give them end-to-end visibility of the application lifecycle and simplify infrastructure troubleshooting and application health.

These new dashboards give operations teams comprehensive and customizable visibility into the health of services that make up the application. They also provide powerful filtering and reporting, giving users the ability to see how individual security and compliance controls are performing across a heterogeneous estate, simplifying compliance reporting. In addition, new Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform integrations build on existing AWS capabilities to provide expanded visibility across cloud providers, enabling teams to scan cloud nodes and APIs for complete compliance reporting across heterogeneous, multi-cloud estates.

Chef EAS Migration Accelerator

Moving legacy applications to the cloud has failed to pay off for enterprises for two reasons. First, applications are tightly dependent on underlying infrastructure platforms, so many migration efforts fail before they get started. Second, ‘lift & shift’ efforts move existing technical debt and related issues (difficult/slow to update, security/compliance gaps) into the cloud without solving the underlying problems. Chef’s new EAS Migration Accelerator makes it easier than ever to re-platform legacy applications to the cloud. While sometimes a nice-to-have or an optimization exercise, this is especially critical when essential core platforms, such as Windows Server 2008, are facing end-of-support.

The EAS Migration Accelerator for Windows scans existing .NET applications running on IIS to discover configuration and dependency details, then packages this information as code. It significantly reduces the time required to build application packages in Chef Habitat, defining application lifecycle dependencies as code to free the applications from their legacy infrastructure platforms and enabling teams to move them to any modern platform, including AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Effortless Infrastructure, Delivered

Configuring and securing heterogeneous infrastructure at scale is difficult. With the power of infrastructure-as-code come the challenges of skills, complexity and manageability. Full-lifecycle management of Chef Infra and Chef InSpec using Chef Habitat simplifies deployment, management and upgrades, both on-premises and in the cloud.

The newest versions of Chef Infra and Chef InSpec take advantage of Chef Habitat lifecycle management technology, making it easier than ever to deploy, update and manage the entire Enterprise Automation Stack in any environment. Pre-configured compliance profiles and hardening cookbooks simplify users’ ability to customize and modify which security and compliance controls are tested for and enforced, allowing them to turn controls on and off based on enterprise-specific needs without having to write or modify code. This significantly reduces the skills required and the time it takes to tailor infrastructure hardening and testing to unique requirements.

Additional Enterprise Enhancements

In addition to the enhancement above, Chef is introducing new high-availability clustering, providing highly-available data stores and API services for Chef Automate deployments at any scale (100k+ nodes). New Chef professional services maintenance plans also help enterprises integrate with disaster recovery systems.

“We came to market with a new vision for Chef and its users in April of this year when we announced that we were making all of our software open source and that we would unify our products as the Chef Enterprise Automation Stack,” said Chef CEO Barry Crist. “Today’s announcement marks the first strong step in the delivery of that vision, taking a holistic approach to enterprise application health through automation and increasing our commitment to deliver on collaboration through code. I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve since the last ChefConf. I look forward to continuing to drive the company and working closely with our community toward realization of our shared vision for DevOps-driven transformation.”

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