Too many Chefs spoil the broth

Too many Chefs spoil the broth

I’ve recently deiced that it was time to assess my knowledge and skills when it comes to Chef, and a couple of other stuff as well, but focusing on Chef for now. After reading many articles, blog post, documentation and setup small environments, I just wanted to know what my level of understanding is and identify possible knowledge gaps.

Chef Book 1

I usually achieve this by reading books… There are probably many ways of doing this and most likely better ways as well. Having a “mentor” would definitely be better, however this is often time consuming and they are hard to find. Answering forum questions is an option if you’re confident enough. So for me it’s books for now.

Note: This is not a book review, just wanted to ventilate about something that was bothering me.

Now when it comes to books, the hardest part is finding some decent examples, especially when it comes to niche cases. So far I’ve been reading a couple of generic entry level books and was looking for a more advanced book targeting Windows and a bit of Azure as a plus. And after some research I stumbled upon this book called: Managing Windows Servers with Chef.

Before I start, I would like to mention that if you are new to Chef, only deploy simple standalone VMs and bash script examples are making your head spin… this is a good read. If I would have picked up the book a while ago, I wouldn’t have written this post.

Let me explain my inner thoughts here:

  • The author claims to be targeting intermediate level users; however the book only covers the basics. In addition, the book is very short and still includes a entry level introduction. What I find hard to understand are the positive reviews from Chef Veterans, guiding me to purchase this book (never trusting Amazon reviews again : ) ). Yes, it’s a nice read, but for a different audience.

  • The Azure section is just incomplete. A secure setup was outside the scope of the book, so therefore introduces some bad practices with the disclaimer; do as we say and not as we do. In addition, the “Chef enabled Windows Image” was created over RDP, and this is a book focusing on automation.

  • The book doesn’t cover Desired State Configuration. DSC isn’t new and can work in conjunction with Chef to address configuration management challenges. This is Windows specific and therefore a must have for this book.

  • What about the Azure Resource Manager? Not even mentioned. Yes, it’s in preview, but yet very interesting when managing a set of nodes with dependencies.

  • Guidance on building Guards using PowerShell? No, not included.

The book was only 9 dollars, so not a big deal. Just have so many Chef / Windows related questions unanswered…

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