VMware adds more DevOps Tools to the Menu with Chef
More focus is coming to the area of DevOps and to automation and orchestration in general. VMware has long been regarded as a “traditional” virtualization stack, with some potential shortcomings with regards to their drive to take on the dynamic environments needed for developers.
It isn’t that there was no push towards creating orchestration tools and creating DevOps style provisioning, but more that VMware has been behind the 8-ball as other developer-focused environments such as AWS, and many OpenStack-based cloud vendors have been touting for a long time.
Opening the Doors to Open Source Alternatives
As vCloud Air is gaining ground as a public cloud platform with hybrid cloud capabilities, the true enabler to turn the VMware-hosted infrastructure-as-a-service offering becomes the ability to use common orchestration tools to manage the platform. VMware recognizes this and has take the reins by working with Chef, a popular orchestration framework, and creating a tight integration including Knife plug-ins for ESXi and for the vCloud Air environments.
We’ve already seen lots of love coming to VMware via their adoption of Puppet, which is actually part of the very core that creates and manages the vCloud Air platform via its custom DSL created by the VMware team which was led by Nick Weaver at the time. Using Puppet and Chef was a serious nod to the viability of both of these great open source orchestration frameworks, plus it shows that the community behind them is buying in heavily as more additional plug-ins, runbooks, recipes, and how-to articles pop up all over.
Leveraging Chef for deployment is simple, once you have an environment running. Admittedly, many newcomers to the tools have had some challenges getting ramped up on using these tools, but more great guides coming out of the vibrant Chef community, and from VMware’s own staffers, has helped to bring more people closer to a more orchestrated environment.
DevOps is a Journey, Not a Destination
I’ll say it here as I do at conferences and user groups all over, that DevOps is a methodology that is used with various levels of adoption throughout many organizations. DevOps is not a goal that is arrived at so much as it’s a way to optimize and solidify processes that will create repeatable, predictable processes for your IT and business environment.
The running joke that comes up is that someone creates a “DevOps Team”. This shows that the buzzword feature of DevOps has become something to reach for, but anyone who things that there is going to be a sudden leap to being DevOps-focused is going to quickly be met with the realization that it is a journey rather than a destination.
VMware is working hard to ensure that DevOps tools such as Chef work well with their products. This is a massive step forward for the virtualization and cloud environment vendor, and it is a positive step that we as administrators and consumers of IT services should take a long look at.
You can read about the Chef integration with VMware on the GetChef blog here and hopefully this will inspire your team to look at how to put this into your toolkit to help enable your business and IT consumers to get more out of their VMware environment.