Chef is an open source cloud configuration management and deployment application. It’s meant to help anyone orchestrate servers in a cloud or just in a departmental data center. Instead of system administrators sweating over management programs that were designed for single, stand-alone servers, Chef allows DevOps to spin off dozens or hundreds of server instances in less time than it takes you to read this article.
Chef enables programmers and system administrators to work together. Instead of developers writing applications and then waiting on Ops staff to figure out how to deploy the software, Chef serves both communities. Chef moves the process from a herky-jerky release cycle to a continuous delivery model by enabling an effective and automated workflow—a central goal of the DevOps movement.
Net result? You get more work from your existing IT crew, and everything in IT moves faster with fewer errors. When defects do crop up (because this is the real world), they get fixed sooner.