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I've noticed that now most of the Supermarket's recipes are using Chef Delivery (aka Chef Automate). There is little information about it on their site, and it looks for me like it is a "pig in a poke": first you pay and they you know what you've paid for.

  1. Does Chef Automate require you any additional server, besides Chef Server (we already have it). I guess yes.
  2. Is it required at all to write cookbooks now?
  3. Will it replace Foodcritic, ServerSpec and Kitchen eventually? Also, I see they now offer and "InSpec" which seems to be similar to ServerSpec.
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For the whole points and to try things there's https://learn.chef.io which allow you to test automate also.

Mainly chef automate is the next iteration bringing together 4 commercial products from Chef: chef manage (UI), chef reporting, chef compliance and delivery (CI/CD) with the addition of push jobs which was open sourced a little before.

Inspec is another new tool for compliance, it is based on serverspec but not extending it not using its code base.

Automate is not mandatory to author cookbooks at all, it is just a convenient way to display back status of nodes either on configuration point of view or compliance point of view (see the audit cookbook for inspec usage within a run), you can still does everything on your nodes on the free open source model, you'll have to handle the feedback loop yourself, either through a handler or any other way of your choice as it was already the case.

The CI/CD part of Automate doesn't replace any tool, it's more another approach to CI/CD pipelines, so you may use it to do the usual linting (foodcritic/cookstyle), test (chefspec), and then upload to your chef-server for use. It can handle deploys through the push jobs feature and after review and approval of changes.

Presentation of automate and the related documentation (workflow is the first concept, others are accessible from the menu on the left)

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    @tensibai Is it appropriate to say Chef Automate includes chef manage? the UI is not the same as the Chef Server management console, and seems to be it's own derivation. – PrestonM Sep 14 '17 at 15:53
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    @Preston main goal of viz is to replace manage, that's why I said it's a new iteration of those tools – Tensibai Sep 14 '17 at 16:05
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    @madhead you can still use kitchen, automate workfllow doesn't enforce a system on the runners, automate workflow is a replacement for Jenkins mainly (quite simplified here) – Tensibai Sep 14 '17 at 16:07
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    You don't have to support the automate method if you don't use it @madhead :) – Tensibai Sep 14 '17 at 16:32
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    No, automate part (the .delivery directory) only host the 'build steps' and not the test, it does just drives which test is run and still launch foodceitic/cookstyle/chefspec/kitchen in the various steps as far as I know – Tensibai Sep 14 '17 at 17:42

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