Cloud infrastructure automation firm Opscode has officially launched operations in Europe, bringing its service to customers on this side of the Atlantic.
Available immediately, the firm's Chef tool is described as a configuration management tool that administrators can use to automate the provisioning and operation of systems running Windows, Linux, Mac OS and Solaris. It can manage both physical and virtual machines.
The tool, which is available as an on-premise Private Chef or cloud-based Hosted Chef version, initially targeted small-to-medium businesses seeking a solution to manage their expanding server estate.
However, it is now finding traction among larger enterprise customers, according to Opscode.
"Our customers have tended to be smaller companies, especially fast-moving firms such as web operators or those involved in scientific research, but we have increasingly been selling to the enterprise market over the last year," Opscode vice president of marketing Jay Wampold told V3.
In fact, Wampold said that Opscode already has 50 customers in Europe, despite the firm officially only starting operations on Thursday.
Chef is based around the concept of Cookbooks, which contain Recipes, basically descriptions of how to configure a system to run a specific service or workload, and the processes needed to get to that state.
The Chef client agent deployed to each node is responsible for applying the Recipe and ensuring that its configuration matches that specified.
"Cookbooks contain code that can be re-used to automate elements of the software stack, to start or stop a services and install the packages that you require for a particular application," explained Christopher Brown, chief technical officer at Opscode.
Cookbooks can be created by the customer's own IT department, but a library of ready-made ones is available from Opscode.
The simplicity and flexibility of Chef means that many customers have started out using the free-to-download open source version of the product to solve a specific problem, and have found it so useful that they ended up licensing a full-blown deployment in order to benefit from technical support, Brown claimed.
Open-source Chef is free for customers with up to five servers, while the Hosted Chef option is priced at $120 to $600 per month based on the number of nodes, and Private Chef starts in the $100,000 range, including training and support services.
Chef supports a wide range of target platforms, including Windows 7, Windows server 2003 and 2008, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu, Mac OS X and both Intel and Sparc versions of Solaris.
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