The Chef Win Series is a response to: "How has Chef changed our operations for the better, in the past 2 years since our shop adopted it?"  Example:

You May - Therefore You Must

Consider this. You may wish to use Chef to manage a battery of 500 servers. Or if you're Facebook, maybe even thousands. For such a task, you must use a Chef Server to maintain the metadata about the nodes. You may, therefore you must.

I blogged about this mercilessly last year. I was not happy. Setting up a Chef server for what I do on a daily basis in my little lab is, er uh, ridiculous.

Along comes Ansible. Server Shmerver. Just run the damned thing. For a while there, Chef pretended like it could do that too, just not very well. 

But Then, Something Happened

What happened? Dunno. But someone, somewhere, was paying attention.

Now you can just run Chef. It really works. No server, no fancy config, no server security keys, just run the thing.

Chef Zero and Chef Solo are apparently the reason. My partner understands these options. I don't, nor do I care. I just use it. It works.

Competion - Back to a Level Playing Field

Without this option, I was toying with Ansible. And I wasn't the only one. Didn't like having to learn another system, but that's how much of a pain I felt the Chef Server was, for the kind of lab and dev work that I do. I'm a dev. I never run 500 of anything. That's what the ops guys do. But I do need boxes. And lots of different vagrant instances for various use cases. And that works great, with just straight Chef files.

Now that the playing field is level, I don't have to maintain two toolsets, two skillsets. Kudos to the Chef team for being responsive to the needs of the marketplace.