As the two leading IT automation platforms by market share, Chef and Puppet have been compared against each other extensively—for UpGuard’s recent take, please see Puppet vs. Chef Revisited. In this comparison, we’ll instead approach matters a little differently by comparing and contrasting Hosted Chef—the SaaS version of the product—with the full-fledged, flagship Puppet Enterprise offering.
Chef is one of the most widely-used CM tools today, arguably playing second fiddle to the mighty Puppet. The tool is written in Ruby and Erlang, uses a pure-Ruby DSL in the Knife CLI, and includes a nice GUI for easy management. Developers and DevOps types will prefer using Chef, much more so than sysadmins.
Opsworks and Chef are very similar Configuration Management (CM) tools. Opsworks is actually built on the Chef framework, then customized for Amazon’s giant cloud environment AWS. Hosted Chef is an IaaS solution from Chef parent company Opscode, in which they host the Chef server for you, and it in turn manages and communicates with your nodes, which are most likely also hosted in a cloud infrastructure such as Amazon’s EC2 infrastructure. So both solutions are evolutions of the traditional CM tool, now tweaked for cloud-hosted environments. Let’s peek behind their respective curtains.