Chef Delivers on Habitat Promise to Automate Container Apps

Chef has made good on a promise to deliver an instance of its Habitat IT automation framework delivered as cloud service that is optimized for container environments.

Previewed earlier this year at a ChefConf 2017 event, the general availability of Habitat Builder makes it possible to package Docker, rkt or Mesos artifacts consistently to enable IT operations teams to deploy applications based on them to Docker Swarm, Kubernetes or platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment based on Cloud Foundry, says Marc Holmes, vice president of marketing for Chef. Alternatively, IT organizations can consume those applications via a TAR file format.

Habitat automatically detects what language tooling is being employed to provide scaffolding for popular languages such as Node.js, Java and Ruby on Rails. Each deployment artifacts contain the application, all the libraries and associated dependencies.

In addition to making it easier to build artifacts and store them in a repository that provides version control capabilities, IT organizations can use a Habitat Supervisor console to manage runtime environments, configurations and topologies regardless of the platform the containers are deployed on.

Habitat Builder also can be integrated with GitHub to facilitate sharing source code as well as with Docker Hub to publish artifacts via a shared registry.

Holmes notes most IT organizations don’t know what platforms they need to deploy containerized applications. It’s already apparent that most will be supporting two or more platforms. Habitat Builder and associated services provide IT organizations will increased flexibility in terms of switching between platforms and reducing the total cost of ownership associated with managing multiple instances of them. Even when an organization has standardized on a platform, it may have challenges keeping all the instances and versions of the platform in sync.

Despite the existence of IT automation frameworks such as Chef, the number of IT organizations that have automated most of their IT processes remains relatively small. But the rise of microservices based on containers should force the issue. It’s clear most organizations view microservices as the key to increasing the number of applications they want to release. But as the number of microservices increases, so do application dependencies, to the point where an IT administrator is unable to cope. IT automation frameworks such as Chef promise to make embracing microservices more feasible for many more organizations. In fact, the biggest challenge IT organizations now face isn’t standing up a platform capable of running containerized applications; it’s the management challenges that arise the day after the platform is deployed.

As an earlier pioneer of IT automation frameworks, Chef brings diverse platform experience to the table that should enable IT organizations to manage their environments at much higher levels of abstraction.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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