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Chef vs Cisco ACI: What are the differences?

  1. Scalability and Flexibility: Chef is typically utilized for configuration management and automation, while Cisco ACI is a software-defined networking solution that focuses on network infrastructure management. Chef offers great scalability and flexibility in managing configurations across multiple servers, whereas Cisco ACI is more focused on scaling and managing networking resources efficiently within a data center environment.

  2. Programming Languages: Chef utilizes a domain-specific language (DSL) called Ruby for defining configurations, while Cisco ACI uses APIs and CLI commands for configuration and management. This difference in programming languages may influence the ease of use and learning curve for individuals or teams adopting these technologies.

  3. Primary Focus: Chef primarily targets infrastructure automation and configuration management, enabling organizations to easily deploy and manage servers and applications at scale. On the other hand, Cisco ACI emphasizes network automation and policy-based management, allowing for efficient management and control of network infrastructure within data centers.

  4. Vendor Ecosystem: Chef has a vast ecosystem of community-contributed cookbooks and resources that provide pre-built configurations for various systems and applications, facilitating rapid deployment and management. Cisco ACI, being a networking solution, integrates closely with Cisco hardware and software, enabling seamless management of Cisco networking devices within the ACI fabric.

  5. Deployment Approach: Chef follows a push-based deployment model where the configuration changes are pushed from a central server to the target nodes, ensuring consistency across the infrastructure. In contrast, Cisco ACI adopts a declarative approach where network policies are defined and enforced centrally, allowing for automated provisioning and consistent network configurations across the data center.

  6. Management Complexity: While Chef simplifies the management of configurations and deployments for servers and applications, Cisco ACI deals with the complexity of network infrastructure management, providing centralized control and automation for networking components. The difference lies in the level of abstraction and the focus on infrastructure elements each technology addresses.

In Summary, Chef and Cisco ACI differ in scalability, programming languages, focus, vendor ecosystem, deployment approach, and management complexity, catering to distinct needs in configuration management and network infrastructure management.

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Pros of Chef
Pros of Cisco ACI
  • 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)
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    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 Cisco ACI?

    It represents the industry's most comprehensive data center networking solution with flexible deployment options and the ability to deploy apps based on business needs, not by technology limitations.

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    What companies use Chef?
    What companies use Cisco ACI?
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      What tools integrate with Chef?
      What tools integrate with Cisco ACI?
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        What are some alternatives to Chef and Cisco ACI?
        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.
        JavaScript
        JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
        See all alternatives