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The Chef Firewall Cookbook: a Leaky Abstraction

Managing a firewall is hard. Designing an abstraction layer on top of a firewall is even harder. Not only do you need to understand networking and your operating system, but you need to figure out a way to map common operations on firewalls to specific implementation rules. And you’ll need a way to manage firewalls across a fleet of machines. If this sales pitch hasn’t encouraged you to buy a hardware firewall yet… enter the Chef Firewall cookbook.

New profiling feature in chef-client 12.6.0

I subscribe to the Chef blog in my RSS reader, The Old Reader, so that I can stay up to date with recent releases and changes happening in the community and in the various software projects that make up, “Chef.” Recently, I saw the release announcement for chef-client 12.6.0. I scrutinize these especially closely, as they’re an easy way to follow along with major upcoming changes that I might encounter.

One particular feature that stuck out in the release notes was a new option, --profile-ruby.

Test-Kitchen & Serverspec with Windows guests

Earlier this year, I attended ChefConf 2015 in Santa Clara where I attended the Hack Day at Microsoft on Friday. While I spent most of that day working on various projects like kitchen-rackspace with Jonathan Hartman, I also tested the upcoming test-kitchen 1.4 release upon Fletcher‘s request. Among the release notes was something I would encounter a few months later in November:

Note that this release has the much-fabled “Windows guest support.”

Chef Provisioning on the Rackspace Public Cloud

Many companies use configuration management tools to manage their cloud servers and other cloud infrastructure. But some configuration management tools are now also enabling users to not just manage cloud servers, but actually create the servers as well. As part of the DevOps Automation Service, I most often work with a popular configuration management tool called Chef. Working in conjunction with Chef, there is also a project called Chef Provisioning that can use APIs to build cloud servers and Docker containers on many different providers (AWS, Azure, OpenStack, etc). Chef Provisioning can then bootstrap the new instance or container and begin configuration management tasks.

I’d like to introduce one specific driver for Chef Provisioning, the chef-provisioning-fog driver. This driver can be used with Chef Provisioning to build Rackspace cloud servers with simple Chef recipes. I will show an example of how to use these tools to automate building cloud servers, and provide you with an example you can try locally.