Chef cooks ups infrastructure testing tools

A new Chef package can test a complex system in much the same way software is tested

Borrowing a technique from the software development community, Chef, maker of a popular system configuration tool, has released the first commercial software to support a new and supposedly more effective approach to managing hardware and software, called test-driven infrastructure.

"This is something relatively new," Colin Campbell, Chef director of patterns and practices, said of test-driven infrastructure. "Treating infrastructure as code produces a workflow that effectively can use the same testing process used for other types of software."

Chef's namesake software, which helps automate the management chores associated with enterprise hardware and software, is open source, with contributions from a global base of volunteers. Over the past several years, a number of tools have been built for finding bugs and other issues within complex systems, as if they are software programs.

When a number of Chef's largest commercial users began using these tools, the company took notice.

Enterprise software provider Rally Software, for instance, has been using the test-driven infrastructure tools to more tightly bind the operations of its development team with that of its operations team.

Rally has been able to test a new set of servers before they go live as well as new internal applications.

Tools that were developed include a unit testing framework, in which new systems are subjected to a simulated workflow to evaluate their stability. Another tool, for system acceptance testing, helps determine if a system meets all of its requirements.

Another checks to see if any component being installed relies on other components, either of the software or hardware variety, and assures that these dependencies, as they are called, are in place.

Chef has bundled all of these tools into a free downloadable package, called Chef DK (development kit). The company will also offer commercial support for the software.

"We found that in adopting open-source solutions, enterprises need partners they can rely on," Campbell said.

Chef has also released a number of other optional packages for its commercial users. One package reports on administrator actions within a system, which can be useful for auditing and security compliance checking. This software is based on technology Chef acquired in the recent purchase of analytics software provider Tower 3.

The company has also released a package for managing Docker containers, a hot virtualization technology favored by Google, IBM and other hosted service providers.

Chef is a configuration management tool often used to deploy and then manage hardware and software in bulk. Facebook, Target, Yahoo and GE Capital have all used the software to automate management of their IT infrastructures.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourceChefmaintenancesoftware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?