Choose a third-party solution


Let's consider Chef and Terraform against the same criteria as in the previous unit.


  • Ease of setup. The Chef server runs on the master machine, and Chef clients run as agents on each of your client machines. You can also use hosted Chef and get started much faster, instead of running your own server.
  • Management. The management of Chef can be difficult because it uses a Ruby-based domain-specific language. You might need a Ruby developer to manage the configuration.
  • Interoperability. Chef server only works under Linux and Unix, but the Chef client can run on Windows.
  • Configuration language. Chef uses a Ruby-based domain-specific language.
  • Limitations and drawbacks. The language can take time to learn, especially for developers who aren't familiar with Ruby.


Your organization has decided to let the developers create some virtual machines for their own testing purposes. The development team knows various programming languages and recently started writing Ruby applications. They'd like to scale these applications and run them on test environments. They're familiar with Linux. The developers run only Linux-based machines and destroy them after testing is finished.

The scenario is ideal for Chef, since you're letting the programmers create their own environments by using their own Ruby configuration scripts. They're already familiar with Ruby, since they've written applications with the language.

Solution summary

Chef is suitable for large-scale infrastructure deployment and configuration. Chef makes it easy for you to automate the deployment of an entire infrastructure, such as in the workflow of a development team.


  • Ease of setup. To get started with Terraform, download the version that corresponds with your operating system and install it.
  • Management. Terraform's configuration files are designed to be easy to manage.
  • Interoperability. Terraform supports Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform.
  • Configuration language. Terraform uses Hashicorp Configuration Language (HCL). You can also use JSON.
  • Limitations and drawbacks. Because Terraform is managed separately from Azure, you might find that you can't provision some types of services or resources.


Your organization has gained a new client who wants to create multiple virtual machines across several cloud providers. The client has asked you to create three new virtual machines in Azure and one other in the public cloud. The client wants the virtual machines to be similar. They should be created by using a script that works with both providers. This approach will help the client have a better idea of what they've provisioned across providers.

Terraform is a good solution for this scenario. You can easily create virtual machines and other resources on multiple providers by using Terraform.

Solution summary

With Terraform, you can plan the infrastructure as code and see a preview of what the code will create. You can have that code peer reviewed to minimize errors in configuration. Terraform supports infrastructure configurations across different cloud service providers.