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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Chef Talks AWS Relationship and AWS re:Invent

interview chef aws 

Chef is regarded as one of the originators of the DevOps movement and a leader in configuration management. Their approach to Continuous Automation means their products provide automation for infrastructure, compliance, and applications from monoliths to microservices, metal to containers, and on-premises to the cloud.

This week, they are announcing new capabilities to their AWS offering, OpsWorks for Chef Automate. I spoke with Marc Holmes, VP Marketing at Chef, to learn more about their relationship with AWS, and what they have planned for AWS re:Invent later this month.

VMblog:  Can you tell me a little bit about OpsWorks for Chef Automate?

Marc Holmes:  We originally launched AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate (OWCA) last year at re:Invent. The goal was to give customers a fully managed service for Chef Automate and the flexibility to operate Chef in the environments they choose, versus requiring a specific consumption model.

We essentially took what Chef Automate and made it available on AWS as a service. Customers can use it to automate infrastructure and compliance tasks and workflows across their estate: things like software and operating system configurations, patch and package management, software installation , and compliance profile testing. It's compatible with all of the tooling and integrations such as the thousands of cookbooks from the Chef community. It's a great place to get moving quickly with Chef and begin to tackle automation at scale.

VMblog:  What has the customer reception been like since it launched?

Holmes:  Customer reception has been exactly as we hoped, and we're seeing strong month over month growth in adoption. Many of our customers are adopting hybrid cloud strategies, or are in the midst of fully embracing the cloud, and they're using OWCA to continue to enable that in the ways they need.

A good example is Verisk - they are data analytics company that has amassed 14 petabytes of unique and proprietary data assets in the insurance, natural resources, and financial services verticals. They were already using Chef, and when they saw OWCA, they immediately jumped on it as a way to have more capacity, availability and resiliency in the 27 different countries where they operate - and just one less thing they manage themselves. They embarked on a significant cloud migration project last year, and are on track to migrate around 70 accounts to AWS across their business units by the end of 2017.

They spoke at ChefConf 2017 here and here about their journey.

VMblog:  What's new with the announcement you've recently made?

Holmes:  We are essentially bringing OWCA up to speed with recent developments in InSpec and Habitat, which means that we're providing some great compliance-as-code capabilities, and assists in application workload migration (or lift-and-shift, lift-and-modernize if you prefer those terms).
  • The new compliance capabilities in Chef Automate enables customers to scan their entire infrastructure for security risks and compliance issues, generate reports classified by severity and impact levels and build automated testing into their deployment pipelines. This means they can adopt a pattern of ‘detect, correct, automate' to drive infrastructure automation at scale.
  • Application teams can now package applications with Habitat Builder and output them natively to EC2 Container Registry (Amazon ECR). This enables easy application automation and workload migration to Amazon EC2 Container Service (ECS).

With these features, users can expect the same Chef tools that they are already accustomed to, but as a managed service.

We're also announcing that Chef has been accepted into the AWS Public Sector Partner Program, which will Chef Automate accessible to the government and intelligence community through the AWS GovCloud (U.S.) Marketplace and AWS Marketplace for the U.S. Intelligence Community.

VMblog:  Is AWS your only cloud partnership or do you work with other vendors?

Holmes:  As a platform company and an open source company, having a broad ecosystem is of vital importance to us. Chef is integrated with all major cloud providers, including Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Aside from the OWCA offering, Chef Automate is available on AWS and Azure marketplaces. Also recently,  we worked with Google to open source a set of Chef cookbooks to help its users manage some core GCP services.

VMblog:  AWS re:Invent is right around the corner.  Will we see you there?

Holmes:  Yes, we're a sponsor at re:Invent, and will be demonstrating OWCA in the Demo Theater.  Come by to say hello at booth #224.

We've also just opened our CFP for next year's ChefConf, and we'd love to see you there too.

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Published Friday, November 17, 2017 9:03 AM by David Marshall
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