Getting started with Chef Automate

Want to get started with Chef Automate right away? Check out the Manage a node tutorial.

Click the link, then choose the server platform you want to manage, and then choose AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate or Chef Automate from the list of environments.

Start the Manage a node tutorial

Otherwise, read on to learn more about getting started.

Chef Automate manages changes to both infrastructure and application code, giving your operations and development teams a common platform for developing, building, testing, and deploying cookbooks, applications, and more.

Chef Automate is team oriented. It enables multiple teams to work together to deploy software. With Chef Automate, you can integrate security and policy testing into the Chef Automate pipeline and have visibility into everything that's happening to your infrastructure.

Here's a short video that introduces Chef Automate and its components.

Skills for Chef Automate

Before you approach Chef Automate, you first need a basic understanding of how Chef works. Chef enables you to express your infrastructure as code. Chef and the idea of infrastructure as code are the foundations of Chef Automate.

For instance, you should understand:

  • how cookbooks, recipes, and resources enable you to express your configuration policy through code.
  • how Chef's test and repair approach helps ensure that configuration changes are made only when needed.
  • how Chef server acts as a central repository for your cookbooks and for information about your servers, or nodes.
  • how local development enables you to verify your changes before you apply those changes to your production servers.

If you're not familiar with cookbooks, the Chef server, or local development, these tutorials can help get you started.

You can also read Getting started with Chef for a more general view of how to get started with Chef.

Getting Chef Automate

There are two main ways to get Chef Automate.

  1. Use AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate, a managed service that runs on Amazon Web Services that includes Chef Automate.
  2. Install Chef Automate on your own infrastructure, either on premises or in the cloud.

If you're an existing OpsWorks user, you may be interested in OpsWorks for Chef Automate. Chef Automate provides visibility, workflow, and compliance features as described below. It also includes a Chef server, which acts as a central repository for your cookbooks as well as for information about every node it manages.

You can get started with your installation now or follow the setup steps in the tutorial links that follow.

Chef Automate's components

Once you get a hang of the Chef basics, you can move on to working with Chef Automate. Chef Automate has three main components – workflow, visibility, and compliance. Here are resources to help you get started with each of them.


When Chef runs on your nodes, Chef Automate collects data about the run. Chef Automate's visibility feature enables you to monitor and visualize the status of your nodes and other events from the Chef server.

The Manage a node tutorial can help you get started. In this tutorial, you'll use Chef Automate's visibility feature to visualize the status of your node and resolved a failed Chef run.

Start by choosing the server platform you want to manage, and then choose AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate or Chef Automate from the list of environments.

Start the Manage a node tutorial


Chef Automate's workflow feature uses pipelines to enable multiple teams to work together to deploy software. For hands-on experience, try the Deploy infrastructure changes tutorial. In the tutorial, you'll set up your own Chef Automate server and deliver a basic web configuration through Chef Automate's pipeline.

Start the Deploy infrastructure changes tutorial


If you're interested in using Chef to help achieve your compliance goals, check out the Scan for compliance and Remediate compliance failures tutorials. In these tutorials, you'll learn how the Chef compliance scanner enables you to assess your infrastructure's adherence to compliance requirements and how to use local development to remediate compliance failures.

In these tutorials you'll work with the Chef compliance standalone scanner, but you can also integrate compliance testing with Chef Automate's visibility and workflow features. We're working on Learn Chef tutorials to help get you started. In the meantime, you can read the documentation to understand what's involved.

Start the Scan for compliance tutorial

Start the Remediate compliance failures tutorial

Additional resources

Chef Automate promotes the DevOps principles of cross-team collaboration, cooperation, and transparency. A successful Chef Automate implementation often involves cultural changes in addition to technology changes.

Here are additional resources to help you learn about both Chef Automate and DevOps and automation in general.

Chef also offers professional services that can get you started fast and help with the planning and design of your Chef and Chef Automate installation.

If you want more guidance, feel free to talk to us. Use the "Contact Us" box at the bottom of this page. We'd be happy to answer your questions and get you connected to the resources you need.

Need help?

The Learn Chef tutorials are here to help get you started quickly. If you're stuck on a particular step, ask in the discussion forum that appears at the bottom of the page. If possible, include the command you're trying to run and the output you receive in a gist and provide a link in your comment. Also be sure to tell us which software versions you're using.

Chef's support team and the community are also here to help. For general questions and issues, Discourse and the Chef Community Slack team are the fastest ways to get help from the community. Check out our support page for additional options or open a ticket with our support team.

Next in this series: Getting started with automated testing

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