Chef And Microsoft Partner For Enterprise IT Automation

microsoft-azure-logoA new partnership being announced today points to the massive changes that are occurring within enterprises as they move from a monolithic, single-vendor approach towards IT to a far more heterogeneous one. Chef is partnering with Microsoft Azure to integrate Chef’s IT automation platform directly within the Microsoftstack. What this means is that enterprises will be able to more readily move workloads, both Linux and Windows-based, to Azure.

Beyond simply a workload migration story however, this deal points to the real adoption of DevOps within enterprises. For those new to the term, DevOps is a name used to describe a whole raft of changes, both technological and cultural, within organizations. Essentially DevOps takes an organization which is siloed across the developer and operations space, and brings them together (hence the neologism, DevOps). Part of this change relates to the tools in use within an organization – automated testing, automated deployment and scaling and broad monitoring are all technology solutions that deliver upon a desire for DevOps.

But even more important are the human, management and cultural changes that need to take place for DevOps to become ingrained – quite simply, organizations need to find a way to no longer be talking at cross purposes – the business, the development team, the operations team, all need to be working to the same objectives.

But back to the tool part of this. Chef is, of course, a vendor that helps with the technology side of enterprise IT change by helping automate much of the infrastructure management aspects of technology. Via pre-defined scripts, Chef helps to automate servers being spun up, scaled out, and shut down.

In terms of what this collaboration intends to deliver, there are two aspects to it, according to the two companies:

  • Engineering Collaboration: Chef and Microsoft MSFT -0.2% will enhance native automation experiences for Azure, Visual Studio, and Windows PowerShell DSC users. Microsoft Open Technologieshas its own collection of Chef Cookbooks, providing code for automating the provisioning and management of compute and storage instances in Azure.
  • Sales Training and Customer Support: Chef will deliver DevOps education in Microsoft’s 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.

This second part of the deal, while sounding a little airy, is actually very important. In order to effect real and widespread moves to DevOps, it is important that the sales and support teams who are directly interfacing with enterprise IT shops are fully invested in the change – this community and sales initiative is actually critical to the success of this partnership.

About Charles Skamser
Charles Skamser is an internationally recognized technology sales, marketing and product management leader with over 25 years of experience in Information Governance, eDiscovery, Machine Learning, Computer Assisted Analytics, Cloud Computing, Big Data Analytics, IT Automation and ITOA. Charles is the founder and Senior Analyst for eDiscovery Solutions Group, a global provider of information management consulting, market intelligence and advisory services specializing in information governance, eDiscovery, Big Data analytics and cloud computing solutions. Previously, Charles served in various executive roles with disruptive technology start ups and well known industry technology providers. Charles is a prolific author and a regular speaker on the technology that the Global 2000 require to manage the accelerating increase in Electronically Stored Information (ESI). Charles holds a BA in Political Science and Economics from Macalester College.