Chef cooks up some compliance assessment

Chef is holding its European summit this week and that means some bits of news to keep the faithful happy.

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Chef, along with its arch-rival Puppet, is a company that is hell-bent on automating modern IT. The idea of these companies is that in an increasingly complex environment, organizations, and their IT departments, are looking for tools that make infrastructure deployment easy. The way these companies work is by allowing organizations to create templates to specify how their infrastructure should look for different use-cases. Thereafter, these templates can readily be implemented and managed without having to create a fresh build for every single server.

Chef is today holding its annual European sojourn in London and since Chef is a decidedly international player, it is important for it to have enough announcements to convince its Euro customers that their focus extends beyond the west coast of the U.S. To this end, Chef has a couple of small, but important, announcements coming out this week.

First up, the company is announcing general availability for Chef Delivery, a workflow solution that was introduced on an invite-only basis in April. Chef Deliver aims to fulfill more of the development and operations lifecycles that organizations need and delivers a prescriptive process to automate changes to infrastructure, applications, and containers in a single prescribed pipeline.

The company also announced today new compliance capabilities designed to help users to automate the assessment and remediation of IT infrastructure. Chef compliance is a product that is built on technology from VulcanoSec, a security software company based in Germany, which Chef recently acquired. Chef is integrating VulcanoSec’s capabilities into Chef Delivery, merging compliance and DevOps practices into a single workflow for more easily managing change in enterprise IT.

“Companies today know they need to begin adopting a DevOps operating model to rapidly deliver software and services, but they struggle with the cultural, skills and operational barriers to effectively drive change,” said Barry Crist, CEO of Chef. “Chef Delivery provides a prescriptive and proven DevOps workflow and we’re thrilled to release this product to the global enterprise market.”

Compliance and Delivery are aimed to be fully integrated in early 2016, and important milestone as organizations, especially those in more tightly regulated industries, come under the conflicting pressure to speed up innovation, while still remaining compliant with their various regulatory needs.

This announcement is particularly interesting given the recent acquisition of Chef (and Puppet) competitor Ansible Labs by Red Hat. Ansible was generally seen within the industry as a more modern, agile take on what Chef and Puppet are doing. That said, it is easy for a product to seem agile in its early stages before customer demand for high-level features creates a degree of bulking up. Especially interesting to see will be Red Hat's future intentions for Ansible.

For now, though, Chef will spend the week convincing its European customers that it is closely focused on their market while still painting a picture of a future that heavily includes Chef as a core vendor. The next year or two will be very interesting to watch for both Chef and Puppet.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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