Chef is an established leader in the DevOps world. Automation is a keystone of DevOps tools and processes, and Chef’s platform simplifies and streamlines automation. Chef is branching out, though, with the recent unveiling of Habitat—an open-source project to automate the applications themselves.
As companies continue to embrace DevOps and developers continue to create custom applications, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage it all. Many organizations have infrastructures that span on-premises and cloud—some using multiple cloud platforms—and the applications have to be crafted for the specific infrastructure or platform they’re designed to run on. Habitat seeks to change that. It ostensibly allows developers to focus on the features and capabilities of the app rather than the unique constraints of a specific infrastructure or particular runtime environment.
“We must free the application from its dependency on infrastructure to truly achieve the promise of DevOps,” said Adam Jacob, co-founder and CTO of Chef. “There is so much open-source software to be written in the world and we’re very excited to release Habitat into the wild. We believe application-centric automation can give modern development teams what they really want—to build new apps, not muck around in the plumbing.”
A blog post from Chef describes the premise of Habitat:
Applications packaged with Habitat have the intelligence to self-organize and self-configure. Habitat allows the application to both be portable across independent infrastructure environments and have the intelligence to select the infrastructure features that benefit that application. This makes it easy to run applications across increasingly diverse environments such as containers, PaaS, cloud infrastructure, and on-premise data centers, while also accelerating hybrid cloud environments.
It sounds promising to Michael Glenney, solutions architect at New Context. Glenney said Habitat—if it lives up to what Chef has promised—may represent a paradigm shift in how applications are managed in a data center where configuration management (CM) is prevalent.
“Traditionally, you would use CM (Chef, Puppet, Salt, etc.) to not only lay down the bits an application needs to run, but to manage, redeploy, reconfigure and upgrade that application as well,” explained Glenney. “This type of work is not particularly well-suited for a CM and it mixes workloads unnecessarily. For example, an application deployment could fail because you have some data incorrect concerning log rotation on the host system. This is a manufactured relationship that needs to end.”
Glenney noted that with features such as application-to-container conversion, universal package management, audit and traceability of both buildtime and runtime application dependencies, and advanced management and deployment functionality, Habitat is an exciting addition to the world of DevOps and lean security.
Habitat combines the automation, configuration and management of an application into a single package. “When used in combination with CM it will deliver an unprecedented level of control over applications in all of your company’s environments and provide what I believe has been missing since the beginning,” Glenney said.
Habitat is an open source project under the Apache 2.0 license and is available for immediate download. Check it out and let us know what you think of it.