AWS Case Study: AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate Migration

  • November 30, 2017

We recently worked with a data analytics organization who specializes in data-based decision support within the insurance and financial services industries. Their goal was to migrate their Chef community server to an AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate (OWCA) server in order to reduce management overhead and accelerate high velocity apps. This project was a step in the company’s larger plan to create a DevOps highway in which it sought orchestration automation, configuration management, and CI/CD with AWS services and Chef.

The firm had three overarching business goals:


  1. Migrate to the cloud in order to move at the speed of business; they could not operate on premise at the pace which they needed to move.
  2. Adopt a DevOps model, including giving developers direct access to infrastructure for the first time, giving developers the ability to model and deploy their own applications, for greater innovation and faster release rates.
  3. Automate everything in support of data integrity and availability. Including the re-use of  cookbooks across multiple business units.

To help this company achieve its goal to build a DevOps highway while decreasing management, the Flux7 DevOps team trained their developers how to get onto — and use — the highway. To do so, we helped them build the components of the DevOps highway that are critical to Development such as services and injectors, as we outline in the Enterprise DevOps Framework (EDF).

Further, the Flux7 DevOps consulting team created a new OWCA server with all the elements required to manage their nodes. Specifically, OWCA is a fully managed Chef server and suite of automation tools for workflow automation and continuous deployment. It also gives visibility into your nodes. The team migrated the community server, its users, profiles and recipes to OWCA. From here we created the new Chef environment in the OWCA server. Chef gives the client full stack automation, handling a myriad of operations tasks.

This transition was made easier as OWCA is completely compatible with tooling and cookbooks from the Chef community. This transition allowed developers to manage all their nodes using the new Chef OWCA server, allowing them to use OWCA to manage all nodes moving forward. Flux7 consultants also conducted knowledge transfer for the Chef Engineer, teaching them how to separate Chef environments to that they can easily address nodes in different environments, and helped assure ongoing technical and operational success of OWCA.

The DevOps Model Moving Forward

For more stable applications, this company has now modeled and built over a dozen applications through OWCA, re-using cookbooks across multiple business units. They are modeling and deploying middleware through Chef as well as application code. And for its more agile applications, they have integrated with AWS CodeDeploy to push out code.

To get configuration management and CI/CD modeled, this analytics firm goes back to application modeling. For example, an application team that wants to use Chef passes it as a parameter along with the IAS version they want to use on the machine. From here, the components team calls a Lambda function that specifies the OWCA instance for that particular business unit and creates the client configuration on the VM on the fly. When the node registers itself with the Chef server and authenticates itself, the appropriate team confirms it and then creates a run list dynamically, creating the baseline for the OS, enabling the InfoSec and Ops teams to be able to place whatever agents they want (e.g. Anti-Virus) on it. In this way the teams can effectively manage baselines across the enterprise, pushing them across all OWCA instances and easily ensure everyone is using the same sanctioned baseline.

AWS DevOps and OWCA helps this company address several industry-wide challenges: data security, high availability and resiliency, especially among a diversity and scale of assets that need to be managed and analyzed with agility. Moreover, Flux7 helped to set the foundation for a highway that will accelerate the speed of this company’s high velocity apps. For further AWS case study reading:


  • Voyant Grows Data Security and Customer Satisfaction with Advanced AWS services
  • TN Marketing Scales Performance, Elasticity and Security through AWS CloudFront, ELB and WAF expertise
  • RentACenter Builds Innovation, Availability and Security-By-Design

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