Habitat® and Chef® Automate for Applications

A little over two years ago, the Habitat project was begun, with the idea that applications can move much faster if we design automation from the application’s point of view. This took the form of an abstraction, and a contract, between the application layer and the underlying infrastructure beneath it. Since then, we have worked to develop Habitat into a paradigm-breaking technology that gives you the ability to build, deploy, and manage updates to any application, legacy or new, with support for any deployment topology. Today, Habitat is being used by a variety of organizations to deploy applications ranging from 20-year-old off-the-shelf software to modern day cloud-native applications running on the latest container technology.

Chef Automate for Applications extends Habitat to the enterprise

In simplest terms, Habitat consists of a studio for local development and testing, a builder service to package applications with their dependencies included, a depot to store application packages, and supervisors to manage applications throughout their lifecycle as they run on any platform. Chef Software and the Habitat community maintain a large and growing library of packages representing common application components and dependencies, such as glibc, Apache Tomcat, and MongoDB. With Chef Automate for Applications, our enterprise Habitat offering that is now available, you have a live connection to this library of packages and the automated builder service, meaning any time there is an upstream change, you immediately benefit from those updates, and dependencies across your application landscape can be resolved automatically.

Today nearly 700 core packages are maintained centrally. For any organization managing applications and the labyrinth of dependent software needed to run those applications, the service provided by Chef Automate for Applications that allows you to stay in sync with this library and resolve dependencies automatically provides significant efficiency gains and eliminates a major source of risk.

Introducing Chef Automate for Applications

We are very excited to announce that Habitat has graduated from technical preview to full enterprise availability. This paid offering is in the form of a license subscription, called Chef Automate for Applications and includes the following:

  • Habitat core technology including the studio, builder service, depot and supervisor
  • The ability to package and build applications in private depots on-premise and in the cloud with full subscription to updates to all published plans, and including automated dependency resolution
  • Chef Automate integration (current and future) for enterprise class visibility and control
  • Chef premium customer support
  • Access to our customer engineering team (may require additional fees depending on scope) for architecture, department, and operational work

Using Chef Automate for Applications with Chef Client or InSpec

One popular pattern is to use Habitat to deploy Chef Client or InSpec scanner packaged with content via Habitat. Customers with a Chef Automate license are entitled to use Chef Automate for Applications to deploy and update their Chef Client or InSpec packages without having to pay an additional per application service license subscription. You can use Habitat to deploy and update Chef/InSpec for no additional charge.

Can I use Habitat for free?

Because Habitat is an open source automation engine, there are two ways to use Habitat without a Chef Automate for Applications subscription. First, you can use the same version of Habitat that we have been featuring in the tech preview. This is a fully hosted and integrated cloud version of the Habitat builder and depot service with one important change: free accounts will only be allowed to work with public repositories. So long as you are willing to share your work to the world by making your plans and software public you can use the Habitat service for free.

The second way that you can use Habitat for free is to take the open source parts available on Github and create your own integrated deployment of the base components. You will only be able to build software that you explicitly populate and update in your private repository and none of the automation or integration of Chef Automate for Applications will be available so you will need to build your own.

Our commitment to open source

Chef was born an open source software company, and we strongly believe open source is the fastest path to innovation and a vibrant community is necessary to solve the hardest problems we face in IT. We believe open source software should empower practitioners to accomplish great things, and Habitat, Chef, and InSpec are open source automation engines we maintain to this end.

The enterprise needs capabilities beyond what is best served through open source communities to achieve scale, collaborate across organizational silos, and manage risk. Chef Automate for Applications is designed to address these needs of our enterprise customers.

Moving forward together

Existing users of the Habitat technical preview will be grandfathered in with their current deployment for a period of time, but customers who desire the integration, experience and support to run Habitat in enterprise environments will best be served by Chef Automate for Applications. We will work closely with existing users to define the path that works best for them.

Thank you to the Habitat community and early adopters for helping us reach this milestone. We are excited to take Chef Automate for Applications forward to transform the way organizations build, deploy, and manage all of their applications.

Author Corey Scobie

SVP of Product and Engineering at Chef Software Based in silicon valley, I am a career long advocate of developers, operators and security. Every organization can achieve velocity through automation.