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ChefConf Highlights New DevOps Approaches, Services

At its virtual conference, Chef discussed new DevOps approaches and services, as the need for organizations to be more efficient grows as more employees are working from home.

DevOps is about more than just developers; it's about enabling automation with repeatable processes that help with application development and deployment. In the current COVID-19 era, with organizations of all sizes working remotely, being able to do more with less in an optimized way is needed more than ever.

The opportunities that DevOps can bring in a challenging world was among the primary themes of the ChefConf 2020 virtual conference, hosted by Seattle-based DevOps pioneer Chef last week. At the event, Chef announced a series of new products, while users discussed different DevOps approaches and deployments.

"I think that digital is now the foundation, not just of key industries but of almost every industry and every business, as people try to imagine different ways to connect with customers, with partners, with their markets," Chef CEO Barry Crist said during the conference's opening keynote. "As I talk to IT leaders, they want to make sure that they're using this time of crisis to be as productive as possible."

Crist noted that organizations typically don't want to do the same thing 20 different ways. Rather, they want to find the optimal approach and then repeat it across an enterprise.

Chef Product Updates

A key part of DevOps — and the Chef platform — is the ability to create what the company refers to as the coded enterprise: having application development and infrastructure deployment managed and configured as repeatable and automatable code.

The new Chef Compliance offering provides compliance with best practices for security as well as enterprise policies. With Chef Compliance, organizations can define baselines for configuring operational deployments and then detect any deviations over time. Going a step further, Chef Compliance also provides reporting on the state of compliance and can perform remediation actions to bring IT assets and applications into compliance.

The Chef Enterprise Automation Stack has been updated with enhancements to make it easier for developers to deploy and manage application packages across different platforms. The update also provides rapid rollback for deployments as well as enhanced analytics on services.

Rounding out Chef's updates is the general availability of the Chef Desktop application. Chef's technologies have typically been focused on infrastructure and servers, as well as cloud applications. Chef Desktop now brings the DevOps model to the desktop, providing a way for users to deploy and manage desktop endpoints as well.

The Intersection of Low Code and DevOps

An emerging area of DevOps is the intersection with the low code movement. Low-code and no-code tools enable businesspeople to graphically put applications together from a series of building blocks and configurable components.

In a ChefConf 2020 session, Damith Karunaratne, CEO of ShuttleOps, explained that every organization has different needs and what low- and no-code really try to do is encapsulate common use cases and best practices in a way that can be leveraged by the masses.

In Karunaratne's view, using Chef's Habitat offering alongside a low- or no-code development approach can help to enable a DevOps pipeline. Chef Habitat provides a repeatable approach for application packaging that allows developers to easily deploy to whatever type of infrastructure they want.

"One of the fundamental pieces that has to be brought to the table is consistent application packaging," Karunaratne said. "Application packaging is really important, since no-code platforms typically take a very opinionated stance on how applications should be delivered from your various environments into your various clouds and pieces of infrastructure."

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