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Solve configuration management issues in enterprises large and small with Chef, the software tool that helps system administrators unravel configuration problems and explore new avenues in automation, deployment, and orchestration. With this practical guide, you’ll quickly learn the basics of Chef before diving into complex use cases.
Not only will this book enable you to solve detailed issues, such as the best way to manage 400 EC2 nodes, but it will also help you understand the changing organizational politics and thought-processes that come with infrastructure automation.
Gain a firm understanding of Chef: Who created it and what problems does it solve?
Set up your workstation and workflow: Installing Chef can be a headache. There's no prescribed workflow that’s useful for everyone.
Write custom recipes: Because every infrastructure is different, you may need to write a custom recipe. Writing good cookbooks is crucial for having a sustainable infrastructure.
Tailor Chef to your infrastructure: Eventually, even custom recipes won't be enough. You’ll want to extend the Chef’s core functionality.
Chapter 1Configuration Management and Chef
Chapter 2Configure Your Chef Development Environment
Chapter 3Write Your First Chef Recipe
Chapter 4Ruby and Chef Syntax
Chapter 5Manage Sandbox Environments with Test Kitchen
Mischa Taylor is a consultant at Chef, a fast-growing Seattle-based startup responsible for creating the Chef platform, which makes it easy to quickly automate development processes and move business processes into the cloud. He has spent his career focusing on building high quality products and increasing engineering productivity within organizations. Mischa is an author, speaker and mentor on software development topics and neuromorphic computing.
Seth Vargo is a Release Engineer at Chef. In the past, he has served as a Chef consultant, trainer, and community advocate. He is most known for his work on the #learnchef project and his contributions to the open source community. When he's not writing code or responding to GitHub issues, Seth enjoys spending time with his friends and family back home in Pittsburgh, PA.
Day job uses Chef to manage several hundred nodes. If they would have asked me, I would have recommended SaltStack, but they didn't so I needed to get up to speed on Chef in a hurry. Online Chef docs leave much to be desired (big $ support contracts anyone??). And pretty much all the other Chef books out there suck or are mediocre at best so this preview release seemed timely and worth taking a chance. Glad I got it 50% off because it has a long ways to go before becoming useful as anything other than base primer targeting novice to junior level sysadmins.
Book is a follow along, tutorial format that mandates use of author's favorite toolsets. I don't like the vendor lockin. There are other options for running virtual machines other than VirtualBox. Probably all of which are in wider use, e.g. VMware, various cloud providers, SmartOS, etc. Yeah, I know Virtual Box is free and favored by winweenies, but us *nix geeks prefer to keep our options open and eschew software from companies run by major jerks, even if it is free (e.g. many Linux distros have replaced MySQL with MariaDB). So it would be nice if this book talked at least a bit about them. Also no mention of things like rvm.io for managing Ruby virtual env. Perhaps I make much ado about nothing but it just put me off and left a bad taste in my mouth right out of the gate.
The book is also too basic. Just because I'm just learning Chef, doesn't mean that I am not interested in advanced features. Indeed, it's the advanced stuff that most warrants/requires explanation. So where's the beef? As it stands now, the Appendices are the most valuable parts, if you can get past the typos. Speaking of which....
Learning Chef is full of typos & grammar errors. Kick the current tech editor to the curb and find someone who knows Chef. And Ruby. Seriously. Other minor, but annoying grammar errors, such as "to" when mean "for" are distracting but tolerable as it would seem one of the authors is perhaps not a native English speaker.
Yes, I do realize that this is a preview release (hence 2 stars instead of 1). Perhaps my criticism is harsh but I'm hoping also constructive. This book has potential if they flesh it out and put some meat on its bones, fix the typos, etc. And I am hoping that they will. In it's current state, however, I could not recommend it.
Well, that's my two cents worth. You get what you pay for. If you're lucky.
Bottom Line No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Merchant response: Thanks for writing a thorough review of this early release. We want to make sure you know that early release ebooks are made available while the author is writing, so you can expect that there will be typos and grammatical errors, as well as possibly some technical errors. The content has not gone through production copyediting/proofreading, so it won't be in the same state that a finished book would be.
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