2014 & Chef

2014 & Chef

This may crash and burn or be one of the best things I’ve done in a while: I’m almost starting over. One of the best ways for me to learn everything from best practices to common problems, quirks, or anything else that doesn’t fit the bill for official documentation is to run it yourself.

I’ve had the pleasure of running Salt both personally and professionally last year. While I still rely on it in order to do both work and “play”, I am forcing myself to be uncomfortable once again by running Chef. Ask anyone who you think is pretty good at a skill how they got that way, and I’ll bet at some point their expertise comes with putting in the time to learn it. There’s no better way to try this experiment, I’ve already proven the method words (thanks Salt!) and I’m ready to do it again.

Some of my reasons are pretty straight forward:

  • There’s always more than one way to do it.
    • Salt is a great tool, but there are many reasons to do a task in Salt, because the tool lends itself to do it that way. I want to see how to perform the same tasks using a completely different tool.
  • Communities are different, both in size and in industry.
    • I think it’s safe to say the tech industry as a whole is rather large. With its size comes different motivations and mindsets on what “success” means. For some folks it’s keeping their services available at all costs. For others its simply making sure processes run and complete successfully, and the time “will come”. Seeing different perspectives will give me a better sense of how the same problems are being solved and why.
  • Broader discussion.
    • Podcasts like The Food Fight Show do a great job at both explaining the toolsets that parts of their community use, as well as the ethos behind them. It doesn’t hurt it’s in a nice weekly format to boot! I’ve listened to them for a while now just to get more perspective into system administration (at scale no less), and now I’d like to put more effort into their discussions on tools. I’ve already begun working with Chef. This post is to have a nice place on the internet to point to, and hopefully explain my intentions. Hopefully I can share regularly in smaller posts with more code.


SRE, former Release Engineer, Pythonista, Gopher, Rube Goldberg Machine Untangler, Amateur Photographer. My thick skulled opinions are my own.