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ChefConf 2016 Wrapup

Amelia Aronsohn's profile picture Amelia Aronsohn on

Hola friends! Amelia again with a quick recap of ChefConf. I wanted to start with thanking Nathan Harvey, Adam Jacob, and Barry Crist for putting on the best ChefConf by far.

Aaron and I started out with the Summit during the day zero. If you have never been to an open spaces summit I can't recommend them enough. I'm really happy that Chef offers these as an alternate of the workshops. I have done several workshops and when you are starting out they can't be beat. However once you have gotten past the initial 101/202 level that workshops offer an Open Space is the kind of place where you go to suggest topics and offer up all the things you want to talk about and bring up all of your pinch/pain/talk points. Instead of being a panel it's a round circle where you get to talk to professionals, newbies, and Chef employees alike. We talked a lot about testing and policy files during this, which are things we have been super interested in. The Summit capped off for us with the circle with burnout and tech. I almost feel this session should be a talk at every convention, since it's so universally relevant.

Day one was kicked off with Nathan's signature hugops and Barry Crist's keynote talking about wanting to ship ideas and then showing off the new product Manage and Analyze, a unification of many of Chef's paid products into one cohesive interface. There was a lot of great little things snuck in here like CIS profiles, Chef local runs reporting back to server for analytics, and integration with Habitat coming. I spent most of the day attending talks on Habitat, developing cookbooks in a compostable way, and secrets. While each talk was amazing I walked away from Tim Smith's talk on cookbook development wow'ed and fill of great ideas I hope I can implement everywhere.

Day two started with the Adam Jacob keynote. I was unsure he would be able to best his talk last year, with his DevOps Kung Fu where he worked to unite people instead of getting into the minutiae of titles. This year he talked all about making humane systems, developing environments that are not only easy for the users but manageable for the engineers as well. He talked about diversity and making companies more oriented towards making things easier for everyone. I've been in the place professionally and personally where I have forgotten that as an engineer and IT professional my job is to ship other peoples ideas, not manage and fortify my castles. After this I spent a lot of time learning about habitat and how it fits into the environments I help manage. The talk on monitoring and tuning the Chef server was also extremely useful, with a lot of great information.

The day after ChefConf is a hosted hack day. I really love these personally and having it at the hotel this year was just great. Hack days are great way to work with a bunch of people on a problem, or experiment with something new while new experienced people are around to help, or just triage some issues with people around. This year I mostly talked about DNSimple and our cookbook with some people and assisted with some updates to ( If you haven't been before next time you [are frustrated] with resolving just refer to ( and then emails us at

I had such an amazing time and learned so much about the technologies that help enable me to do what I do. I hope next year I will see you all.

ChefConf is a conference held by in spring/summer concerning their products. ChefConf 2017 will be held in Austin, TX May 22-24.

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Amelia Aronsohn's profile picture

Amelia Aronsohn

Kaizen junkie, list enthusiast, automation obsessor, unrepentant otaku, constantly impressed by how amazing technology is.

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