Ansible vs Chef: What are the differences?
What is Ansible? Radically simple configuration-management, application deployment, task-execution, and multi-node orchestration engine. Ansible is an IT automation tool. It can configure systems, deploy software, and orchestrate more advanced IT tasks such as continuous deployments or zero downtime rolling updates. Ansible’s goals are foremost those of simplicity and maximum ease of use.
What is Chef? Build, destroy and rebuild servers on any public or private cloud. Chef enables you to manage and scale cloud infrastructure with no downtime or interruptions. Freely move applications and configurations from one cloud to another. Chef is integrated with all major cloud providers including Amazon EC2, VMWare, IBM Smartcloud, Rackspace, OpenStack, Windows Azure, HP Cloud, Google Compute Engine, Joyent Cloud and others.
Ansible and Chef can be categorized as "Server Configuration and Automation" tools.
Some of the features offered by Ansible are:
- Ansible's natural automation language allows sysadmins, developers, and IT managers to complete automation projects in hours, not weeks.
- Ansible uses SSH by default instead of requiring agents everywhere. Avoid extra open ports, improve security, eliminate "managing the management", and reclaim CPU cycles.
- Ansible automates app deployment, configuration management, workflow orchestration, and even cloud provisioning all from one system.
On the other hand, Chef provides the following key features:
- Access to 800+ Reusable Cookbooks
- Integration with Leading Cloud Providers
- Enterprise Platform Support including Windows and Solaris
"Agentless" is the top reason why over 251 developers like Ansible, while over 104 developers mention "Dynamic and idempotent server configuration" as the leading cause for choosing Chef.
Ansible and Chef are both open source tools. It seems that Ansible with 37.8K GitHub stars and 15.8K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Chef with 5.83K GitHub stars and 2.35K GitHub forks.
PedidosYa, Keen, and New Relic are some of the popular companies that use Ansible, whereas Chef is used by Slack, Shopify, and SendGrid. Ansible has a broader approval, being mentioned in 956 company stacks & 578 developers stacks; compared to Chef, which is listed in 359 company stacks and 80 developer stacks.
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