I'm so excited. I'm about to join Chef and I think I like it! / by Matt Wrock

A little over a year ago, a sparkly devops princess named Jennifer Davis came to my workplace at CenturyLink Cloud and taught me a thing or two about this thing she called Chef.  I had been heads down for the previous 3 years trying to automate windows. While wandering in the wilderness of windows automation I had previously bumped into Chocolatey where I met my good friend Rob Reynolds who had told me stories about these tools called Puppet, Chef, and Vagrant. Those were the toys that the good little girls and boys on the other side of the mountain (ie linux land) used for their automation. Those tools sounded so awesome but occupied with my day job at Microsoft that was not centered around  automation and my nights and weekends developing Boxstarter, I had yet to dabble in these tools myself.

So when the opportunity came to join a cloud computing provider CenturyLink Cloud and focus on data center automation for a mixed windows and linux environment, I jumped at the opportunity. Thats where Jennifer entered the scene and opened a portal door leading from my desert to a land of automation awe and wonder and oh the things I saw. Entire communities built, thriving and fighting all about transforming server configuration from lines of code. To these people, "next" and "finish" were commands and not buttons. These were my people and with them I wanted to hang.

There were windows folk I spied through the portal. Jeffrey Snover had been there for quite some time in full robe and sandals pulling windows folk kicking and screaming through to the other side of the portal. Steven Murauwski was there too translating Jeffrey's teachings and pestering Jeffrey's disciples to write tests because that's how its done. Rob had been sucked through the portal door at least a year prior and was working for Puppet. Hey look he's carrying a Mac just like all the others. Is that some sort of talisman? Is it the shared public key needed to unveil their secrets? I don't know...but its so shiny.

So what the heck, I thought. Tonight we'll put all other things aside and I followed Jennifer through the portal and never looked back. There was much ruby to be learned and written. Its not that different from powershell and had many similarities to C# but it was indeed its own man and would occasionally hit back when I cursed it. One thing I found was that even more fun that using Chef to automate CenturyLink data centers, was hacking on and around the automation tooling like Chef, Vagrant, Ruby's WinRM implementation, Test-Kitchen, etc.

There was so much work to be done here to build a better bridge between windows and the automation these tools had to offer. This was so exciting and Chef seemed to be jumping all in to this effort as if proclaiming I know, I know, I know, I know, I want you, I want you. Before long Steven took up residence with Chef and Snover seemed to be coming over for regular visits where he was working with Chef to feed multitudes on just a couple loaves of DSC. I helped a little here and there along with a bunch of other smart and friendly people.

Well meanwhile on the CenturyLink farm, we made alot of progress and added quite a bit of automation to building out our data centers. Recently things have been winding down for me on that effort and it seemed a good time to asses my progress and examine new possibilities. Then it occured to me, if Jennifer can be a sparkly devops princess at chef, could I be one too?

We may not yet know the answer to that question yet but I intend to explore it and enter into the center sphere of its celestial force.

So I'll see my #cheffriends Monday. I'm so excited and I just cant hide it!