Chef and Microsoft today announced a major upgrade to their partnership. After twelve months of work integrating Chef, it is thoroughly integrated not only into the Azure stack, but into the Windows stack as well . This will empower enterprises to work in Azure/hybrid cloud environments using Chef’s best in class capabilities to collaborate on rapidly delivering high-quality software and services.
I had a chance to speak with Ken Cheney, VP of biz dev and Jay Wampold, VP of marketing at Chef. Both Ken and Jay are really pumped by this new chapter in the Chef-Microsoft relationship. Both companies are putting a lot of skin (and cash) into taking this combination to market.
Cheney tells me that Microsoft in what some may think of as very un-Microsoft like fashion has really opened up the code for Chef, allowing them to hook in to Windows, Azure and Linux on Azure in ways that are unlike anything else done before.
Microsoft sees Chef being a big driver in helping companies moving their computing to the Azure Cloud. “Microsoft is excited to extend our work with Chef to help customers rapidly move their workloads into the Azure cloud,” said Jason Zander, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure. “Through this collaboration, we are not only enabling faster time to innovation in the cloud, but we are also underscoring Microsoft’s commitment to providing a first-class cloud experience for our customers regardless of whether they are using Windows or Linux.”
Of course few organizations are up and moving their entire IT systems to the cloud. In the overwhelming majority of cases it is a hybrid cloud situation. But with Chef’s integration into Windows servers as well as Azure you can have one tool for both environments.
Besides the nuts and bolts of engineering work, the partnership is also dedicating significant resources to bringing this joint solution to market. From the press release:
Chef will deliver hundreds of hours of DevOps education in Microsoft’s expansive ecosystem across industry events, digital channels, and community meetups. Chef will work with Microsoft to enable their field sales organization to support customers embracing automation, DevOps practices, and Microsoft Azure. Microsoft users interested in Chef and DevOps can already access a wealth of content, new online training tutorial on the Windows platform and a webinar series on Automating Azure with Chef.
The first webinar in the series is 0n March 19th with Microsoft’s Kundana Palagiri and Chef’s Steven Murawski. This webinar will demonstrate real-world use cases, providing attendees with a step-by-step guide to achieving the benefits of Chef within Microsoft environments. You can register here.
This clearly establishes Chef as the tool of choice for the Microsoft market. Interestingly, Cheney and Wampold shared with me a metric that something like 70% of AWS customers are using Chef as well. I haven’t verified this myself, but assuming they are correct, this and the Microsoft relationship would seem to give them a dominant position in the cloud.
As I discussed with Cheney, starting a partnership with Microsoft does not guarantee a successful relationship with Microsoft. Navigating a company with as complex an organization as Microsoft is not easy. However, the fact that Microsoft is devoting substantial resources in both cash and personnel bodes well for the future of this one. Also Microsoft under Satya Nadella is very focused on the cloud/Azure (as they should be). They are also very interested in fostering more DevOps patterns in the Microsoft world. The Chef partnership helps on both of these.
Chef is riding the wave of cloud, DevOps and automation. According to Wampold, they saw an almost 200% increase in revenue last year. ChefConf 2015 in Santa Clara also promises to be the biggest, best one yet. We will try to cover it live here on DevOps.com.