DevOps.com catches up with Chef’s busy CMO Ken Cheney. Ken give us the inside look at AWS’s OpsWorks for Chef Automate. While this is an AWS offering it is based on Chef and is a pretty big bet by AWS on Chef. In addition Ken brings us up to speed (pun intended) on other things regarding Chef. Ken is always a great person to chat with and full of great info. We are going to have Ken on every month or so, we can count on hearing more Chef and DevOps talk soon.
In the meantime, as usual the streaming audio of our conversation is below and the written transcript of our chat follows. Enjoy!
Alan Shimel: Hi, everyone. This is Alan Shimel, DevOps.com, here for another DevOps Chat. I am happy to be joined in this episode of DevOps Chat by Chef CMO, Ken Cheney.
Ken Cheney: Alan, nice to hear your voice again.
Alan Shimel: Nice to hear from you, Ken. Actually, I think the last time you were on our podcast or the last time we spoke you had maybe just been appointed CMO, or maybe it was even before you were appointed CMO at Chef, but it’s certainly been a busy time for you I’m sure.
Ken Cheney: Yeah, it has. There’s been a lot going on in the past two months and some of it we’re going to talk about today, the work we’ve been doing with AWS.
Alan Shimel: Yeah. I think the last time I spoke to you was right before AWS re:Invent, and there was some big Chef news coming down the pipe that we weren’t able to talk about then. It was still kind of under embargo, but it certainly is fair game now.
So, Ken, why don’t you share with our audience what was big for Chef at AWS re:Invent?
Other Great DevOps Chats to listen to:
DevOps Chat: Nigel Kersten, Puppet, 2017 DevOps Survey
DevOps Chat: Huw Price, Smart Automation Is Key
DevOps Chat: InterConnect 2017 w/ Randy Newell, IBM DevOps
DevOps Chats: Aruna Ravichandran, Co-Author, DevOps for Digital Leaders
Ken Cheney: First off, AWS re:Invent, a super-impressive show to go to. So if folks haven’t gone, I’d recommend this next year that they pencil it in. But at re:Invent we announced – actually AWS announced, it’s their offering, a new offering called AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate. It really brings for the first time the full capabilities of Chef’s commercial platform to AWS as a managed service offering. So they provide support and they backup the offering 100 percent.
So it’s a new offering that makes that job of configuring, deploying, scaling, both in the cloud as well as on-premise infrastructure simple and secure. We get there by really doing what Chef has done best over the years, which is automating infrastructure as code.
I think to really highlight what I said, Jassy at re:Invent went out of his way to make the point that hybrid is the new normal in their view. So what’s interesting about what we are doing with AWS is you can manage both in the cloud with AWS as well as your on-premise workloads, and you can have that consistency in how you manage your resources across both.
Alan Shimel: Absolutely. Now, Ken, our audience may not be aware, but I happen to have known this, that Chef was sort of the dominant tool in use for AWS customers now for a few years; I mean an outrageous amount. If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t it like 65 or 70 percent of AWS customers who use some CM are using Chef?
Ken Cheney: Yes. A large proportion of AWS customers use Chef, and AWS themselves use Chef for many of their core services. It’s a platform that is really well suited to the job of: how do you get your workloads to the cloud, and how do you manage those workloads on an ongoing basis in the cloud?
Alan Shimel: Absolutely. And of course, Ken, when we talked about hybrid – I actually had a conversation yesterday, actually with maybe some IBM folks. We were talking about mainframes aren’t going away any time soon, obviously, the mainframe market. It’s probably bigger than ever in terms of dollars.
But the idea of working with your systems of record and systems of engagement, and one is on a mainframe and one is in the cloud, is becoming more and more the norm for large organizations, right?
Ken Cheney: Yeah. It really is.
Alan Shimel: Yep. I mean they’re not going to just walk away from billions of dollars invested in mainframes and datacenters, but in order to compete with stuff that lends itself to it, it’s hard to beat the economics of the cloud. So for the foreseeable future anyway, probably the rest of our working lives, Ken, hopefully, hybrid cloud is going to be the dominant form there.
Ken Cheney: Right. Then if that is the case, then manageability and that kind of consistency in your manageability becomes front and center, and that’s where Chef plays a big role in being that bridge that really allows you to have a platform where you can store those configurations in one place, where your resources are going to work perfectly every time at scale, and you make changes in that single place and propagate those changes across those environments. So whether you’re running under a mainframe environment or you’re doing dev, test, prod in the cloud you get that repeatability.
Alan Shimel: Absolutely. Before we leave the AWS stuff though, Ken, I just want to, for our audience that may be interested, this is available now, today, through the AWS marketplace?
Ken Cheney: No. It’s a core AWS offering.
Alan Shimel: Okay.
Ken Cheney: So if you’re an AWS customer, you login through the AWS console and it’s one of the offerings that you can select. So it bills through AWS. It’s managed by AWS. It’s supported by AWS. So it’s very easy if you’re an AWS customer to get started, and you can get started for free, up to ten nodes for free per month.
Alan Shimel: Great.
Ken Cheney: Yeah. You can get started and get all those advantages.
Alan Shimel: That’s cool. All right, so people can go check it out right now. If you’re using AWS, it’s a core offering. And I guess that kind of makes sense because it is an AWS offering after all, isn’t it?
Ken Cheney: That’s right. We’re partnering very heavily with them to make sure it gets the kind of traction and success that we have envisioned.
Alan Shimel: You know what? That really is big news, Ken. Great job by the Chef people. Give my kudos to the business development guy. He did a hell of a job there.
Ken Cheney: Will do. Thanks, Al.
Alan Shimel: Weren’t you the business development guy, Ken?
Ken Cheney: I was. I’m weird, so –
Alan Shimel: Yeah, I know, just a little inside Chef joke. Ken, we talked a little bit about hybrid cloud and this new offering at AWS. Let’s look at the bigger picture. Here we are in January of 2017 and it’s not too late yet for – where do you see DevOps in 2017? Where do you see Chef in 2017? What big picture item should we be looking at?
Ken Cheney: What’s interesting right now in the market is that – you and I both see this, Alan – the market is still very young. I saw some Gartner data where you can extrapolate out that 90 percent of the market is still untouched. Even that 10 percent that has started down the path of adopting is only partially adopting.
Yet what’s very clear, both at an industry level, if you look at industry data, as well as what we see with our own customers, is that DevOps has a significant impact on the bottom line. Companies that adopt DevOps have been shown again and again to outperform their competitors.
Alan Shimel: Yep.
Ken Cheney: And I think that DevOps – we’ve been talking about this for some time – but it’s really a full-on move from the early adopters, those organizations who figured out how to be disrupters, to the rest of the market who are being disrupted.
Alan Shimel: Yeah. It’s DevOps or die, as I like to say.
Ken Cheney: That’s a great statement.
Alan Shimel: Yep. Ken, I saw some interesting statistics from a study that CNA had commissioned, 1,700 respondents, and it said something like only 34 percent, so just a third of organizations had adopted DevOps.
Ken Cheney: Right.
Alan Shimel: Which to me and probably to you too, right, because how many organizations do we talk to that either haven’t adopted DevOps or don’t want to adopt DevOps? We live in a DevOps bubble. We think everyone does, but yet the fact is it’s only about a third, 34 percent. When you look at it that way, it’s barely mainstream, right?
Ken Cheney: That’s right. And even those who have adopted it typically adopted it in a small silo.
Alan Shimel: Right, the pockets of DevOps, as they call them. I continually refine that, Ken. What I mean by that is you’ll have a team – a team – using DevOps, maybe a team here and a team there, but only when those multiple teams come together under a common DevOps sort of processes, framework, manager, whatever, do I really consider the organization doing DevOps. So for me, an organization that’s doing DevOps is doing it with multiple teams.
Ken Cheney: Yeah. I totally agree, and I think this is the year where we start to see organizations really at an executive level begin to put their shoulder into what that means. How do you actually begin to go automated scale?
And at the same time they’re going through the tech modernization investments around embracing the cloud, embracing microservices, containerization. So I think this is going to be a really interesting year, where I expect many traditional shared services organizations are going to be under a lot of pressure to change.
Alan Shimel: I agree 100 percent. It goes back to the DevOps or die thing. All kidding aside, if these organizations don’t change you’re going to start seeing them falling by the wayside.
But you know what else I think, Ken, and I’m interested in your opinion on this. DevOps tools have to change, too. They have to continue to mature. They have to continue to be enterprise-ready. They have to continue to deliver and meet the challenges that organizations are faced with.
Ken Cheney: I totally agree. I think that there’s been a Cambrian explosion of tooling.
Alan Shimel: Yes. That’s a great phrase for it, a great way to put it.
Ken Cheney: Yeah. And there’s been a rapid kind of organic team level adoption, but what’s happening is that there’s been a lack of standardization, a lack of scale. When you look at the disrupters who have been wildly successful, and many of those are Chef customers, they have been successful automating at scale. Automating at scale means you do drive consistency across the board.
The path to get there though, from my view, is you have to be thinking about vertical integration. If you look at our strategy, like take what we announced at AWS, that is where we are actually vertically integrating into their platform in a very real, meaningful way. And we feel the same way about the broader ecosystem of _____ capabilities that we need to integrate in with, to make that job of automating at scale easy.
Alan Shimel: Yeah, agreed. I do think you’re onto something with that, also vertically integrating, but it’s also integrating into the IT stack. For instance, for me and maybe it’s my own personal bias and history, if you look at 2017 as a year where we have to see security integrating with DevOps and we can call it DevSecOps or Rugged DevOps – I don’t really care what you want to call it – but there has to be that tighter coupling, that tighter integration into the IT stack of security shifting left as part of this DevOps.
I know Chef obviously has now some history in trying to bring compliance at scale and compliance in security and speed. But I think that has to accelerate.
Ken Cheney: Yeah, it does. We are pouring the investment into that set of capabilities. When we look at what our customers are trying to get done, there are things like driving known vulnerabilities down to nothing, being able to remediate in minutes as opposed to days. To get there, that concept of shift left that you put forward is front and center. You have to start thinking about shifting risk to the left.
So we’ve invested a lot in, one, our InSpec open source framework that people should go check out, as well as the overall compliance capabilities, where you can have broad compliance profiles that ensure that the state of your infrastructure and applications is conforming to policy.
Alan Shimel: Got it. You know what, Ken? You mentioned open source and it triggered something. What’s happening with Chef Habitat, anything new you can share with the audience?
Ken Cheney: Yes. Chef Habitat has been in the market now for about nine months. We have been seeing a tremendous amount of traction. We’re going to be launching a Habitat road show in a few weeks, visiting multiple cities. So people should go to the Chef website and see if we’re going to be coming to a location near them.
We are really now moving into the phase where we have large enterprise customers moving workloads into production with Habitat, and they’re really targeting that job of: how do I easily encapsulate my applications and manage those applications, in a way that I don’t have to spend a lot of calories worrying about extraneous services and getting true portability out of it, meaning I can move that application workload anywhere I want?
So Habitat is definitely getting legs at the moment. We’ve had some new product news that will hit in a couple weeks, Alan, so you and I will be talking about that.
Alan Shimel: Fantastic. All right, a little teaser. Ken, to tell you the truth, we’ve gone way over our usual time that we allot for podcasts. We don’t want to take up too much of people’s time, but let me just do a quick recap. For people who want to find out more about Chef Habitat, what’s the URL?
Ken Cheney: They go to the website, which is Habitat.sh or they can go to the Chef site, which is Chef.io.
Alan Shimel: Right, and it’ll just run through from there and they can find out about the Habitat road show there. The Amazon stuff you can get right through your Amazon portal or dashboard, if you’re an AWS user.
Ken Cheney: That’s right. AWS just did a webinar yesterday that was recorded that does a nice walkthrough on it. So they are actively out there promoting it and pushing it for their customers.
Alan Shimel: And the open source compliance and security?
Ken Cheney: You can get that through the Chef website.
Alan Shimel: Also.
Ken Cheney: Yep.
Alan Shimel: Okay. I just want to make sure people get it, Ken. Ken, we could probably spend hours talking. We’ll have to have you back on soon, maybe in a few weeks when you have your next bit of news. But until then, keep up the great work. Oh, we should mention ChefConf.
Ken Cheney: Oh yeah, ChefConf coming up May 20th to 22nd in Austin, Texas. People can go and register today. We’re pretty excited. We just closed the call for papers last night and had a record number of submissions. So it’s going to be a great event.
Alan Shimel: Cool. I went last year. It was a great event. I had a great time. It was some great content. The Alaskan Airlines was still my favorite, Ken. Actually it got me to fly Alaskan Airlines watching that guy present.
Ken Cheney: It was amazing, yeah.
Alan Shimel: It was the first time I ever flew them, and I was counting to see how quickly the door closed and how quickly they opened it, from his whole presentation. It was a great one.
Anyway, Ken Cheney, CMO Chef, thanks for being our guest on this episode of DevOps Chat. Continued success at Chef and we’ll be watching and listening to find out what’s new.
Ken Cheney: Thank you, Alan.
Alan Shimel: All right. Okay, everyone, this is Alan Shimel for DevOps.com and DevOps Chat. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you on our next DevOps Chat.