Announcing Chef Server 12 Release Candidate

Today we’re pleased to announce the public availability of the first Chef Server 12 Release Candidate. This release brings the differentiating features of Enterprise Chef, namely multi-tenancy and role-based access control, into Open Source Chef.

## What’s New

Chef Server 12 brings a host of improvements that will be welcomed by existing Open Source and Enterprise customers alike. Here are just a few:

#### All PostgreSQL, All the Time

Eighteen months ago, we released Chef 11 to the world. It was awesome, and it increased the scalability of the Chef Server to new levels. At the time, we had just rewritten the entire core of the API in Erlang and had migrated all of the data that the server stores from CouchDB to PostgreSQL. We soon followed up with Enterprise Chef 11, which brought this same scalability to our commercial customers.

Over the past year, we’ve been working tirelessly on removing the final bits of the CouchDB-backed Ruby API from the multi-tenancy features of the Chef Server, and we’re pleased to announce that, with this release, we’ve completed that task.

#### Advancing the Chef Server Platform

With the removal of CouchDB and the consolidation of the Chef Server API into one codebase, we’ve been able to reduce the complexity and the footprint of the Chef Server platform. This starts with a 20% reduction in package size and a 25% reduction in the number of active services running on the Chef Server.

Building on top of this, we now have a fresh, consistent, and open-source codebase that will help us accelerate new feature development around the ways that you interact with your Chef Server. Some of our most-requested features like external authentication, external groups via LDAP, and templated organization policy can be built atop Erlang and PostgreSQL — a technology stack that we’re heavily invested in at Chef and one that won’t be going away anytime soon.

#### Search Improvements – Solr 4 Brings the Speed

Chef uses the Apache Solr search server to handle the search-based discovery for your Chef infrastructure. The version of Solr (1.4) that ships with the Chef 11 Servers was released in November 2009. In technology terms, that’s ancient. Over the past 5 years, the Solr team has shipped some amazing features and improvements to their product, and we’re pleased to announce that the Chef community will now get to experience those.

Since its inception, one of the most frequently requested improvements to Chef Server has been to reduce the amount of time that it takes for a saved object to become searchable. In Chef 11 and earlier, that latency was anywhere between one and sixty seconds. If you had a heavily loaded Chef Server, then it may take even longer while the asynchronous process sending your data to Solr was catching up to the request load. At the worst of times, Hosted Chef would experience search latencies longer than 10 minutes.

Solr 4 has allowed us to solve this problem. We’ve been running this version of Solr in Hosted Chef for a few months now, and **the average search latency is just over one second**.

#### Instant Access to Premium Features

For the first time ever, every user of Chef will have instant access to try out any of the premium features provided by Chef Software simply by running

“`
chef-server-ctl install $premium-feature-name
“`

Those premium features include:

* **Analytics Platform:** Get visibility into your Chef servers, verify compliance and keep up with changes, all with the Chef analytics platform.
* **Management Console:** Use the web-based management console to manage RBAC, edit and delete nodes, and reset private keys. Keep up to date with what’s happening during chef client runs across an entire organization or on specific nodes.
* **Reporting:** Capture and visualize what happens during the execution of chef-client runs across all of your Chef-managed infrastructure.
* **High Availability:** Ensure that your Chef service is uninterrupted within your data center or AWS region, even if a Chef server fails.
* **Replication:** Maintain a single worldview across multiple locations and ensure consistency across your network, no matter how many data centers or cloud availability zones you use in your enterprise.

All of these features are free for installs of fewer than 25 nodes, and come with a 30 day free trial for larger installs.

#### Chef Identity – Run Your Own Supermarket

Chef 12 now ships with Chef Identity included, allowing external applications like Supermarket and Chef Analytics to authenticate with Chef Server. Take a look at the [blog post](http://www.getchef.com/blog/2014/08/29/getting-started-with-oc-id-and-supermarket/) for Supermarket for instructions on setting this up.

## Where to Get It

To download the Chef Server 12 RC, visit [http://downloads.getchef.com/chef-server](http://downloads.getchef.com/chef-server) and select your operating system.

Once you’ve got the package downloaded, follow the instructions at [http://docs.getchef.com/server/](http://docs.getchef.com/server/).

If you’re upgrading from a previous release, the following versions are currently supported:
* Enterprise Chef 11.1.8 and later
* Open Source Chef Server 11.1.0 and later

## Known Issues

The following issues are known and will be addressed before the final release of Chef Server 12:

* **Secure LDAP:** For existing Enterprise Chef users of external authentication over LDAPS, this feature is currently broken.
* **Push Jobs Feature:** The Push Jobs package does not currently install on Chef Server 12. We will be updating the package metadata before the final release to address this issue.

## What’s Next

Today’s release is the first release candidate of Chef Server 12. Because this is the first time we’ve been able to speak publicly about Chef 12, the amount of feedback that we’ve been able to gather from you, our community and customers, has been limited. We’re asking that you kick the tires on this release like you would any new release. You can even drive it like a rental car if you’d like :). Whether you’re a new user or upgrading from an existing install, we’re interested in hearing about your experiences. If you run into something unexpected, we encourage you to do one of two things:

* **File a Support Ticket:** [https://getchef.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/new](https://getchef.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/new)
* **Open a GitHub Issue:** [https://github.com/opscode/opscode-omnibus/issues](https://github.com/opscode/opscode-omnibus/issues)

Our support and engineering teams will be monitoring these channels extensively over the next days and weeks, taking in your feedback and preparing Chef 12 for final release.

On behalf of the entire team at CHEF,
Enjoy!

Author Stephen Delano

  • syxbit

    When we upgraded from Chef 10 to Chef 11, we had to rewrite lots of recipes, and maintain both servers while we migrates stacks over.
    Will Chef 12 be backwards compatible with Chef 11?

    • Stephen Delano

      Yes, it definitely is. As far as the API is concerned, the Chef 12 server is API compatible with the Chef 11 server. Chef 11 clients (and 10 even for now) will continue to work with the Chef 12 server. A Chef 12 client alpha is also out now, so you’ll want to check that your recipes are all compatible with the client as well.

    • Stephen Delano

      Yes, it definitely is. As far as the API is concerned, the Chef 12 server is API compatible with the Chef 11 server. Chef 11 clients (and 10 even for now) will continue to work with the Chef 12 server. A Chef 12 client alpha is also out now, so you’ll want to check that your recipes are all compatible with the client as well.

    • Lamont Granquist

      We’ve made minor breaking changes (removing rest-client as a dependency, turning on nolazyload, etc) which technically break backwards compatibility and might cause issues for someone, but which are typically edge cases. We haven’t made any major breaking changes in the client to attributes like we did with Chef 11, or anything else of that magnitude.

      So, its a major version bump and you need to test and there might be issues, but as far as I know there’s been no need for code changes in any of the community cookbooks, and we don’t expect a lot of work being done by customers to migrate.

      • Stephen Delano

        Just to clarify, these changes that Lamont is speaking of are in the Chef 12 client alpha, not the server.

  • I would like to know if the 25 nodes count is per tenancy or as a whole?

  • jujugrrr

    This release brings the differentiating features of Enterprise Chef, namely multi-tenancy and role-based access control, into Open Source Chef.

    Thanks a lot Chef! I’m really looking forward to try all of that

  • Joel Valdez

    Is there a Chef 12 RC for opensource ?

    • Yvo van Doorn

      Yes and this is it. With Chef 12, there is no more distinction between the “Open Source Server” and “Enterprise Server”, it is just Chef Server.