Dell: Could you introduce yourself and tell us about Opscode?
A: My name is Matt Ray and I'm a Senior Technical Evangelist at Opscode, the company behind Chef, the open source automation and configuration management platform.


Q: Let’s assume that some of our readers may not know what Chef is.
A: Sure. Chef, at the basic level, is a configuration management tool. It helps to manage large number of servers. If you have thousands or tens of thousands of machines and you need to have them coordinated and working together, Chef is how you're going to manage them. We're built on the idea of infrastructure as code. This means that everything that happens on your server is managed in a source control repository. The way your OS is configured, the way the services are on it, the applications that are running on top of it, customer-facing applications, all that is tracked in version control. Chef turns that source into actual working machines and servers.  If something happens to your infrastructure or you need to scale it up quickly, you can easily create new servers or delete servers as you need.

Q: There is something called cookbook and I don't think it has anything to do with cooking in the kitchen. Can you tell us what it is?
A: Exploring the metaphor of culinary arts… our cookbooks are how you package individual applications or services. You might have a cookbook like Apache or MySQL. Within that cookbook are recipes. Recipes configure specific ways of setting up an application. So for Apache, we have recipes for mod_php and mod_ssl or various configurations on Apache. Additionally cookbooks contain any sort of support files that you may need, for example templates or scripts that might be used to bring the application. People share their cookbook on a community site, community.opscode.com. There are over 900 currently on the site and we have cookbooks for just about everything including OpenStack.

Q: Thank you Matt for taking the time to talk to us.
A:  Thank you.

Resources

Matt Ray on Twitter

Matt’s website

ChefConf 2013