Feeds

Ex-Amazon 'Master of Disaster' animates server Chef

'Object oriented programming for sysadmins'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Opscode — the Seattle-based startup lead by Amazon's former "Master of Disaster" — has introduced an online service for overseeing the use of its open source Chef framework, a means of juggling server configurations atop so-called infrastructure clouds such as Amazon EC2 and in good ol' private data centers.

Distributed computing guru Thorsten von Eicken calls Chef "object oriented programming for system administrators". With Chef, rather than building individual configuration scripts for each type of server you spin up, you can build object-oriented "recipes" that configure server images on the fly.

Chef runs as an agent on the server — be it a virtual instance or a physical server — and it carries out these recipes, object-oriented code that installs and configures software according to certain predefined rules.

When you launch an instance for web serving, for example, you can call a series of recipes that install and configure Apache. "When a new node comes up, you define it as a webserver and Chef will take all the actions necessary to bring that server into production as an Apache server and do something useful," Opscode director of business operations Bryan Hale tells The Reg.

von Eicken's company, RightScale, uses Chef on its eponymous services for managing server instances across various infrastructure clouds, including Amazon EC2, Rackspace Servers, and Go Grid. RightScale lets you build a single server template that runs across disparate cloud services. You spin up a server on Amazon, for example, and RightScale will select the bits of the template that apply to Amazon.

Chef was introduced by Opscode last year, and today the company rolled out a limited beta of what it calls the Opscode Platform. This is essentially an online service for managing the use of Chef. Opscode offers an open source Chef server that taps into the Chef agent, and you can think of the Opscode Platform as a hosted version of Chef server. "We're the Salesforce.com of configuration management," says Hale.

The Opscode Platform collects data from the Chef client, creating a central data store describing server setup and behavior that can be tapped by recipes. You could configure, say, a load balancer that needs to know the exact inventory and state of every web server and application server on your infrastructure. You could also use it for infrastructure monitoring, and it provides tools for infrastructure access control.

The service will be priced according to the number of nodes you're running. The first five nodes are free, and then it's five dollars per node per month.

Opscode CEO Jesse Robbins was previously with Amazon, where he was "responsible for website availability for every property bearing the Amazon brand." This earned him the affectionate titled "Master of Disaster". The company's CTO, Chris Brown, was a founding member, architect, and lead developer on Amazon EC2. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
Turnbull should spare us all airline-magazine-grade cloud hype
Box-hugger is not a dirty word, Minister. Box-huggers make the cloud WORK
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Do you spend ages wasting time because of a bulging rack?
No more cloud-latency tea breaks for you, users! Get a load of THIS
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.