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Chef vs Docker: What are the differences?

# Introduction
Here are some key differences between Chef and Docker. 

1. **Deployment Environment**: Chef is used for configuration management and automating infrastructure tasks, while Docker is a containerization platform that enables you to package and run applications in lightweight containers.
2. **Packaging**: In Chef, the code and recipes are used to deploy and configure software on servers, while Docker uses images to package applications and their dependencies into deployable containers.
3. **Isolation**: Chef operates at the infrastructure level, managing configurations and ensuring consistency across servers, while Docker provides application-level isolation with containers, allowing for a more lightweight and efficient approach to running applications.
4. **Scalability**: Chef is well-suited for managing large-scale infrastructures and complex configurations, ensuring consistency across a wide range of servers, whereas Docker is designed for scalable deployment of applications, enabling you to quickly spin up and scale containers as needed.
5. **Dependency Management**: Chef enables you to manage dependencies and configurations across servers, ensuring that each server is configured correctly, while Docker simplifies dependency management by encapsulating applications and their dependencies within containers, reducing conflicts and compatibility issues.
6. **Workflow Integration**: Chef integrates with various workflow automation tools and can be part of a larger DevOps toolchain, while Docker is often used in combination with orchestration tools like Kubernetes for managing clusters of containers in a distributed environment.

In Summary, Chef focuses on infrastructure configuration management, while Docker specializes in containerization for application deployment.
Advice on Chef and Docker
Needs advice
on
AnsibleAnsibleChefChef
and
Puppet LabsPuppet Labs

I'm just getting started using Vagrant to help automate setting up local VMs to set up a Kubernetes cluster (development and experimentation only). (Yes, I do know about minikube)

I'm looking for a tool to help install software packages, setup users, etc..., on these VMs. I'm also fairly new to Ansible, Chef, and Puppet. What's a good one to start with to learn? I might decide to try all 3 at some point for my own curiosity.

The most important factors for me are simplicity, ease of use, shortest learning curve.

See more
Replies (2)
Recommends
on
AnsibleAnsible

I have been working with Puppet and Ansible. The reason why I prefer ansible is the distribution of it. Ansible is more lightweight and therefore more popular. This leads to situations, where you can get fully packaged applications for ansible (e.g. confluent) supported by the vendor, but only incomplete packages for Puppet.

The only advantage I would see with Puppet if someone wants to use Foreman. This is still better supported with Puppet.

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Gabriel Pa
Recommends
on
KubernetesKubernetes
at

If you are just starting out, might as well learn Kubernetes There's a lot of tools that come with Kube that make it easier to use and most importantly: you become cloud-agnostic. We use Ansible because it's a lot simpler than Chef or Puppet and if you use Docker Compose for your deployments you can re-use them with Kubernetes later when you migrate

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Decisions about Chef and Docker
Florian Sager
IT DevOp at Agitos GmbH · | 3 upvotes · 415.6K views
Chose
LXDLXD
over
DockerDocker

lxd/lxc and Docker aren't congruent so this comparison needs a more detailed look; but in short I can say: the lxd-integrated administration of storage including zfs with its snapshot capabilities as well as the system container (multi-process) approach of lxc vs. the limited single-process container approach of Docker is the main reason I chose lxd over Docker.

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Pros of Chef
Pros of Docker
  • 110
    Dynamic and idempotent server configuration
  • 76
    Reusable components
  • 47
    Integration testing with Vagrant
  • 43
    Repeatable
  • 30
    Mock testing with Chefspec
  • 14
    Ruby
  • 8
    Can package cookbooks to guarantee repeatability
  • 7
    Works with AWS
  • 3
    Has marketplace where you get readymade cookbooks
  • 3
    Matured product with good community support
  • 2
    Less declarative more procedural
  • 2
    Open source configuration mgmt made easy(ish)
  • 823
    Rapid integration and build up
  • 691
    Isolation
  • 521
    Open source
  • 505
    Testa­bil­i­ty and re­pro­ducibil­i­ty
  • 460
    Lightweight
  • 218
    Standardization
  • 185
    Scalable
  • 106
    Upgrading / down­grad­ing / ap­pli­ca­tion versions
  • 88
    Security
  • 85
    Private paas environments
  • 34
    Portability
  • 26
    Limit resource usage
  • 17
    Game changer
  • 16
    I love the way docker has changed virtualization
  • 14
    Fast
  • 12
    Concurrency
  • 8
    Docker's Compose tools
  • 6
    Easy setup
  • 6
    Fast and Portable
  • 5
    Because its fun
  • 4
    Makes shipping to production very simple
  • 3
    Highly useful
  • 3
    It's dope
  • 2
    Very easy to setup integrate and build
  • 2
    HIgh Throughput
  • 2
    Package the environment with the application
  • 2
    Does a nice job hogging memory
  • 2
    Open source and highly configurable
  • 2
    Simplicity, isolation, resource effective
  • 2
    MacOS support FAKE
  • 2
    Its cool
  • 2
    Docker hub for the FTW
  • 2
    Super
  • 0
    Asdfd

Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

Cons of Chef
Cons of Docker
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 8
      New versions == broken features
    • 6
      Unreliable networking
    • 6
      Documentation not always in sync
    • 4
      Moves quickly
    • 3
      Not Secure

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    What is Chef?

    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.

    What is Docker?

    The Docker Platform is the industry-leading container platform for continuous, high-velocity innovation, enabling organizations to seamlessly build and share any application — from legacy to what comes next — and securely run them anywhere

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    What companies use Chef?
    What companies use Docker?
    See which teams inside your own company are using Chef or Docker.
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    What tools integrate with Chef?
    What tools integrate with Docker?

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    What are some alternatives to Chef and Docker?
    Ansible
    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.
    Puppet Labs
    Puppet is an automated administrative engine for your Linux, Unix, and Windows systems and performs administrative tasks (such as adding users, installing packages, and updating server configurations) based on a centralized specification.
    Terraform
    With Terraform, you describe your complete infrastructure as code, even as it spans multiple service providers. Your servers may come from AWS, your DNS may come from CloudFlare, and your database may come from Heroku. Terraform will build all these resources across all these providers in parallel.
    Jenkins
    In a nutshell Jenkins CI is the leading open-source continuous integration server. Built with Java, it provides over 300 plugins to support building and testing virtually any project.
    Dotenv
    It is a zero-dependency module that loads environment variables from a .env file into process.env. Storing configuration in the environment separate from code is based on The Twelve-Factor App methodology.
    See all alternatives