Opscode Eyes Enterprise Clouds with Private Chef

Effective automation is a critical step in making cloud computing work. One of the leading players in the cloud automation sector, Opscode, has made a series of announcements today that highlight the growth of the company and expand its services to the private cloud market.

Opscode rolled out the new announcements at the start of the O’Reilly Velocity Conference, a three-day event in Santa Clara, Calif. focused on boosting performance in large-scale web infrastructure. The company announced the general availability of its Hosted Chef, its hosted platform to automate cloud infrastructure. Opscode also introduced Private Chef, which packages its server configuration management tools in an appliance that can run behind a corporate firewall.

Key Tool for Configuration Management

Chef is an open source framework using repeatable code – organized as “recipes” and “cookbooks” – to automate the configured and management process for virtual servers, enabling users to quickly deploy servers in a cohesive infrastructure. Chef has quickly become one of the key tools for configuration management (along with Puppet)  for fast-growing infrastructures.

“Once a company sees that five-minute server provisioning is not only possible, but can be an everyday reality, it naturally becomes a core component of their IT strategy,” said Jesse Robbins, co-founder and CEO of Opscode. “Opscode provides a suite of proven cloud automation infrastructure solutions that enables organizations to configure servers and scale applications throughout the enterprise just as quickly as the cloud can deliver them.”

The Hosted Chef platform, which launched last year in beta, now moves into general availability,  and adds a service level agreement (SLA) and “Quickstarts” that automate the deployments of Java Tomcat and Ruby on Rails for the two leading cloud platforms, the Rackspace Cloud and Amazon EC2. The SLA offers service credits if uptime for Hosted Chef falls below 99.9 percent.

Repeatable, Software-Driven Deployments

More than 4,500 organizations have signed up to use Hosted Chef during its beta period. Among them is Voxel, a New York-based provider of  managed hosting and cloud computing services.

“Server management needs to be done, whether we do it for our customers or they do it themselves,” said Voxel CTO Raj Dutt. “We wanted that process to be repeatable, fast and accurate, with software – not a physical person – performing configuration changes. Customers can now order a new server and we can have it up in 2 to 3 minutes, fully configured and ready to serve their application.”

With Private Chef, Opscode is customizing solutions for companies that want to use Chef to manage private clouds behind their corporate firewall. Opscode will work with each customer to develop and price a product that will be delivered as an appliance-based managed service that can manage “anywhere from 5 to 50,000 servers,” the company says.

“Traditional systems management solutions come with a very high operating burden,” said Adam Jacob, co-founder and chief product officer of Opscode. “Simply learning to manage the infrastructure that manages your infrastructure is a daunting investment of both capital and time, often involving lengthy consulting engagements. Private Chef packages all of Opscode’s operating expertise in running this critical business function and delivers this right into the enterprise data-center, in a highly available, custom built hardware appliance.”

Expanding Community Support

Opscode also said it is expanding its relationships with key players in the cloud computing sector, including Dell, OpenStack, Rackspace, Grid Dynamics and DTO Solutions.

“Opscode has been an active member of the OpenStack community, contributing Chef recipes and expertise to help automate the deployment and management of OpenStack clouds,” said Stephen Spector, community manager, OpenStack. “As a result, the adoption of Chef by OpenStack users and our contributor community has enabled rapid deployment of OpenStack clouds.”

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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