Instant Chef Starter – by John Ewart
TL;DR If you are looking for a rapid introduction to Chef, and haven’t got the time (or inclination) to look around the web then this book will meet your needs. However (and it’s a fairly big however), you can get pretty much the same information free from a combination of the excellent Opscode (Chef creators) website and a few Blogs resulting from a web search.
Anyone active within the so-called DevOps space will have heard of tools like Chef, Puppet, CFEngine and Saltstack. These provisioning tools are arguably the backbone on which the modern DevOps movement is based, and in combination with Cloud-based programmable infrastructure (like AWS) they are the driving force in automating configuration and application deployment. Understandably everyone is keen to write books on what is rapidly becoming the next big thing, and in my opinion this does lead to rushed output. This output is often useful to a limited degree, but the same information can often be gleaned (freely) from the interweb, and (perhaps more importantly) tools and techniques on the bleeding edge often evolve so fast that any printed media can become outdated quite quickly. I believe ‘Instant Chef Starter’ book fits into this category.
If you are looking for a book to read on the commute home, which details the key concepts and motivations behind Chef, then you can’t go wrong with getting the Kindle version of this book. However, you will definitely need to supplement your reading by checking the Opscode website for latest developments, and you will also need to start experimenting with the tool to fully understand the benefits it offers. Trust me, when you start spinning up Chef-driven servers and other resource with just a couple of commands via the CLI you are going to be blown away at how easy this stuff is. Your mind will be further blown when you realise that what you’ve just done is massively repeatable and scales very easily (in comparison to older techniques).
In summary, the Kindle version is worth a look if you’re looking for a fast-paced and concise introduction to Chef, and you don’t want to invest time in looking around the Opscode website or other provisioning websites just yet. I can’t recommend the printed book, because at £12 this doesn’t offer good value.
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