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What is Chef?

Chef is an automation platform that configures and manages infrastructures and aims to increase software innovation velocity.

The main function of Chef is to turn infrastructure into a code and automate its creation, deployment, and management. It is applicable to cloud-based, on-premises, and hybrid environments, simplifying monitoring and management of either infrastructure.

Chef is a great solution to solve both SMEs and large enterprises challenges and create innovative models maintaining growing needs for automation across IaaS and PaaS architectures. Users can develop dynamic systems that will manage the infrastructure, they can search real-time information, and use ‘Cookbooks’ and ‘recipes’ to communicate data to the chef-client.

Servers maintained by this tool are permanently evaluated in terms of their predefined state, making sure that configuration drift is automatically corrected. Other benefits of this program are easily enforced consisted configuration, customizable code for full flexibility, seamless migration, confidence through a testable code, and ad-hoc configuration with Chef workstation.

Chef Awards

Chef currently scores 89/100 in the IT Management category. This is based on user satisfaction (87/100), press buzz (55/100), recent user trends (rising), and other relevant information on Chef gathered from around the web.

The score for this software has declined over the past month. What is this?
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Chef Review

Editors' Review by the IT Management Software Review Team

Chef is an automation software for IT infrastructure configuration management. It is specifically used by DevOps specialists and teams to help make managing IT easier and more convenient. For businesses, Chef helps transform them into software-ready, technology-friendly organizations. It simplifies the monitoring, configuring and deployment of the business network and infrastructure.

Using a DSL or domain-specific programming language called Ruby; Chef has “recipes,” which are actually guides for the configuration and management of utilities and applications. Staying true to its Chef concept, the software organizes all these recipes in a “cookbook” so users will find it easy to manage them. Even if each cookbook is assigned to just one task, there are still quite a number of server configurations that need to be taken care of.

Chef’s recipes provide users with various resources that can help make their tasks easier, such as which files to write, the services that are running or need to run and which packages are needed.

As such, Chef helps businesses efficiently, safely and speedily manage, monitor and deploy all essential software and files that are needed to ensure the machine works or is working as it is expected.

Initially created as a tool for the developer’s business, which built deployment solutions, Chef is versatile and integrates with a variety of cloud services. It is used by some of the most popular and successful companies in the world, including Indiegogo, Etsy and Facebook.

Chef Features

Chef has several products that carry a multitude of functions and features.

Chef Compliance

Businesses can use this to help them maintain compliance as well as security across the company. This means making sure the company follows and meets all industry standards. It does this by working on the five essential stages of compliance: detect, acquire, remediate, define and report.

Chef Desktop

Using just one location, users and IT teams can easily automate the process—from the management down to the maintenance of the company’s workstations, desktops, laptops and other technical resources. Management, control and compliance then become more convenient.

Chef Automate

This is a dashboard that allows different teams to collaborate and translate insights into actions to ensure seamless configuration and proper compliance. It is likewise an analytics tool used to automate infrastructure. Its main goal is to improve the efficiency, speed and safety of software delivery.

Chef Automate works with Chef InSpec for automated compliance and security and with Chef Habitat for the automation of applications.

Chef InSpec

This helps users make sure security and compliance problems are prevented and that errors are not repeated. What it does is ensure each development stage is evaluated so that if there are issues, these can be acted on before they become major problems.

Chef Habitat

Chef Habitat helps users minimize issues and problems in application deployment. More specifically, it helps prevent release delays and run-time errors. It works on any deployment platform, operating system and on any environment.

Chef Infra

Chef Infra helps businesses make sure that their systems are efficiently, properly and regularly configured. The managing process is automated. In addition, only one code is used from the first to the final step.

Apart from the abovementioned, Chef has other specific functions and features.

Ruby programming language

As stated earlier, Chef uses the Ruby programming language, which is open source and dynamic. It’s also quite easy to write and read. This is because Chef uses a domain-specific language that’s created in a way that anybody can understand.


This feature gives users a visual representation of what’s happening inside their system and all in real-time. When it detects that there’s a problem, it will immediately send you a notification so that it can be taken care of so clients won’t be bothered by them.

Development kit

With this feature, users can use any operating system and whatever machine they want in writing and managing their infrastructure.

Interface management or Chef’s Knife

This feature makes it possible for users to manage interface using their server and the repository as well.

Multiple deployment

Chef works regardless of wherever you are working—on-premise, in the cloud or hybrid.

Search-based configuration

Chef uses a search-based configuration for its node configuration dynamic updates.


The software integrates with Windows Azure, VMWare, HP Cloud, Google Compute Engine, Amazon EC2 and IBM Smartcloud, among others.

All these products, functions and features work together to provide clients with regular and continuous infrastructure and application delivery. Likewise, for some companies, Chef’s products and features are essential in helping them grow and become more digitally focused and enhanced.

Chef review

Chef Benefits

Chef benefits a lot of businesses and organizations of any size and industry.

Enhance the software development and delivery process

Chef works in such a way that allows users and businesses to improve the software development and delivery process. Since the software automates the entire IT infrastructure, there is a significant increase in efficiency, quality and in speed. Applications are delivered faster.

Therefore, Chef makes the building, management and deployment of a company’s IT services simpler and more convenient.

Minimize and eliminate manual errors

One of the major features of Chef is automation. This allows users and businesses to improve the work process and do away with the manual or traditional systems. So, there will be lesser to no opportunities for errors, especially in terms of compliance and configuration.

Chef’s automated system also helps save time and resources.

Improve safety and security

The software carries features that allow users to immediately determine if there are errors, bugs and other issues even before they escalate. Likewise, it can detect problems just as they start to crop up. As such, the system is kept safe and secure.

This also means there will be lesser crashes and downtimes.

Ensure that risks are reduced and/or minimized

As Chef is able to identify and act on issues, errors and other problems even before they can fully get into the system. In addition, the software’s automation feature helps ensure proper and efficient compliance for all development stages. Additionally, there are also security policies.

Continuously deliver on IT infrastructure

The software uses a pipeline that allows users to regularly and consistently deploy applications and servers. Again, this will save time and resources.

Shift to infrastructure automation

There are a lot of businesses that are still not familiar with the concept of infrastructure automation. Chef offers these businesses an opportunity to transform and then eventually migrate to the cloud.

Additionally, the software is also a big help to companies that want to adopt digital technology but do not have the means—both technically and in terms of business resources.

Flexible solution

Chef offers flexibility as it allows users to choose both on-premise and the cloud simultaneously. This also includes various operating systems such as Linux, Windows, Solaris and IBM AIX. Whatever the users feel more comfortable and familiar with is, Chef adjusts to and allows it.

With Chef, users have the freedom of choosing another cloud provider without any hassle.

Encourage collaboration and organization

The software is equipped with several features that allow different teams to share automation and work collaboratively. This encourages better organization and a seamless working environment. Chef has an automation library and a set of tools that teams can use together.

Integrates with various applications and programs

Chef integrates with Amazon Web Services, OpenStack, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, SoftLayer, Rackspace and Internap. Cloud services that it integrates with include VMWare, HP Cloud, Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine and Windows Azure. These integrations make the automation process simpler and more convenient for users.

Chef has training services and offers 24/7 support

Chef’s set of training classes is intended to provide hands-on training to Chefs who are just starting out or those not yet familiar with how the entire system works. Users can choose from public training classes, private training and self-paced training/online tutorials.

Support is available 24/7 and everyone has the guarantee of talking with a customer representative as there are support tickets.

Chef Pricing

Chef has four packages that users can choose from: Chef Desktop, Chef Compliance, Chef Product Suites and the Chef Enterprise Automation Stack.

Chef Desktop is for businesses that want good control of their desktops, workstations/kiosks, and laptops. It has two sub-packages: Chef Desktop Management and Chef Desktop Compliance.

The price for the Chef Desktop package is determined per desktop or laptop.

Chef Compliance has two sub-packages: Chef Compliance Audit and Chef Compliance Remediation.

The Chef Compliance package is intended for strengthening compliance management throughout the company. It is priced per target.

Then there are the Chef Product Suites, which put together the Chef series—Automate, Infra and InSpec. Its rate starts at $16,500 per year for 100 targets or nodes.

Finally, the Chef Enterprise Automation Stack includes Chef Automate, Chef Infra, Chef InSpec and Chef Habitat. It is priced at a starting rate of $35,000 per year for 100 nodes or service instances or nodes.

Chef offers volume discounts and special prizes, the details of which are available by visiting the company website.


Chef is valuable to businesses because it is a holistic and convenient software solution for businesses that want to organize their IT system or infrastructure. It doesn’t stop at just providing clients with fast and efficient deployment options but with other relevant and useful features and functionalities as well. Chef is a good recipe for efficient IT management.

IT Management Market Radar

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Chef Product Overview

  • Analytics

  • Backup and recover

  • Dynamic policies

  • Real-time data

  • Scalable automation

  • Software and infrastructure changes

  • Test deployment reliability

  • Reports on compliance issues and security risks

  • Reports on out of date software

  • Scan entire infrastructures

Languages Supported: English

IT Management Software Buyer Guide 2023

Product recommendations, vendor rankings, market overview and tips on how to select IT Management software for business. Published in November 2023.

Products in this software category help an organization manage its IT resources, including workstations, servers and applications. These products often include remote device management functionality, which means you can monitor and resolve any issues remote...


Chef Features

  • 2-Factor Authentication
  • Anti-Virus
  • API
  • Calendar Management
  • Customer Management
  • Dashboard
  • Data Export
  • Data Import
  • Data Visualization
  • Email Integration
  • External Integrations
  • File Sharing
  • File Transfer
  • Firewall
  • Google Apps Integration
  • Inventory Tracking
  • Multi-User
  • Notifications
  • Project Management
  • Scheduling
  • Third-Party Plugins/Add-Ons
  • Malware Protection
  • SAP Integration
  • Bug Tracking
  • Network Traffic Monitoring
  • Network Visualization
  • Network Device Performance Monitoring
Chef Pricing

Chef Pricing Plans

Chef Basics Plan

  • Chef Client
  • Chef Server
  • Chef DK
  • Supermarket Content

Hosted Chef Plan

Per node
  • Minimum of 20 nodes for annual billing
  • All features of Chef Basics
  • Hosting Services for Chef server
  • Supported Content

Chef Automate Plan

Per node
  • Workflow
  • Compliance
  • Visibility
  • 24×7 Support

Plans starting from: $72.00/month Credit card required: No

Chef FAQs

What is Chef generally used for?

This service is generally used for automated configuration management of an IT infrastructure.

Does Chef integrate with any other apps?

Integrations: Internap, GitHub, Bitbucket, Slack, Amazon EC2, Google Cloud Platform, OpenStack, SoftLayer, Microsoft Azure, and Rackspace.

Who are the main user groups of Chef?

Main users of Chef are organizations with more workstations, a server, and the number of nodes.

Does Chef offer guides, tutorials and or customer support?

Support: FAQs, Community, Knowledge Base, Online Support, Phone Support, Video Tutorials.

Does Chef offer an API?

Yes, Chef offers REST API.

What platforms does Chef support?

This software is working in the cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid environment.

Chef Competitors Chef Alternatives

Chef Alternatives & Competitors

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ManageEngine Desktop Central
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ManageEngine RMM Central
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ManageEngine Desktop Central MSP
ManageEngine Desktop Central MSP
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ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus
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Chef User Reviews

Average User Rating:
4.33/5 based on 3 user ratings.
Your Rating:
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What do you like about Chef?

Good tips on how to cook with different dishs and better cooking expriences with no worry

What do you dislike about Chef?

Good tips on how to cook with different dishs and better cooking expriences with no worry

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