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Chef Essentials: Mastering the Basics of Config Management

Automate your server configuration and management. Accelerate your career. Master the Chef Essentials
4.3 (42 ratings)
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650 students enrolled
Created by Alex Glover
Last updated 10/2016
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  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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Are you looking to advance your IT career? Do you want to automate your System Administrator tasks on-prem or in the cloud so you can focus on the value-add problems? Would your organization benefit from faster, standardized, and predictable server automation? Are you trying to transform your legacy IT services into a DevOps model?

Then you need to take this course and start taking advantage of this amazing tool!

The Chef Essentials course will teach you the fundamentals of Chef, including how to install the Chef Development Kit, writing cookbooks and recipes, how to use recipe sub-components, and how to test your recipes locally.

This course includes reference materials and simple examples designed to help you build a solid foundation of Chef and configuration management knowledge. The course is primarily in video lecture format, but also includes quizzes throughout the course to check your comprehension and hands on projects to build real world experience.

It will take you roughly one week to accomplish Chef Essentials, depending on how much time you can dedicate to the course each day. The course is structured in two major sections, an Overview section and a Deep Dive section. The Overview section is designed to demonstrate the power of Chef, explain fundamental concepts, and explain Chef-centric terminology. The Deep Dive section will be comprised of lectures and hands on labs to teach you about:

  • Cookbooks
  • Recipes, including dependencies and 'include' statements
  • Templates
  • Attributes
  • Libraries
  • Troubleshooting

Chef experience can be a differentiator when looking for a new role and make you invaluable in your current position. Chef can automate your server configuration and is a crucial piece of any delivery toolchain. Chef provides the simple, reliable automation you need for configuration management, and this course provides the quickest path to leveraging Chef.

I look forward to you joining my course.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is meant for entry-level IT professionals with some basic Linux system administration experience and an interest in automation. No formal development or programming experience is necessary. If you are looking for Chef Server administration or advanced Chef Development Kit training, then please see my other Chef courses (coming soon!)
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What Will I Learn?
Understand Chef terminology and concepts
Automate server configuration with Chef recipes and cookbooks
Understand configuration management concepts such as idempotence
Leverage Erubis templates for dynamically configuring servers and applications
Implement attributes and understand precedence
View Curriculum
  • Students should already be somewhat familiar with Linux command line
  • Students should be comfortable editing text files from the command line
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 18 Lectures Collapse All 18 Lectures 03:02:07
Introduction, Setup, and Concepts
4 Lectures 30:37
In this lecture I will introduce myself as the lecturer, discuss some practical and career benefits of learning Chef, and go over a high-level syllabus for the course.
Preview 07:13

In this lecture, we'll review the requirements for our lab that we will use for the rest of our Chef tutorials and training. Please note that this course is heavily focused on Linux and the video lectures and labs will be based on using an Ubuntu. The concepts can be carried over and applied to other Linux distros and even Windows, but our examples will be limited to Ubuntu.

Preview 04:05

In this lecture, we'll walk through setting up Cloud9 for your use as lab environment. This will be the environment that the instructor uses for all of the Chef tutorials and labs in this course, so this is the recommended lab setup. Cloud9 is all you need for this course.

Lab Setup - Cloud9 (Optional)

In this lecture, we'll discuss configuration management concepts and theory in the abstract, as well as review how specifically those configuration management concepts are implemented with Chef. We will briefly review the concept of declarative programming, explain idempotence, and review some Chef-specific terminology.

Configuration Management and Chef Concepts
Hands On Labs
14 Lectures 02:31:30
Hello World Pre-Lab

In this lecture and lab, we'll jumpstart the hands on labs section with a walk through of our first Chef resource executions and recipe writing. This Chef tutorial will include execution of individual Chef resources, writing our first stand-alone recipe, and demonstrating some of the configuration management concepts we discussed earlier.

Hello World

Lab: Hello World Part 2

A brief quiz to test your knowledge and verify you learned the key concepts from the previous lecture and lab.

Hello World Quiz
4 questions

In this pre-lab, we'll take a deep dive into resources, how they work cross-platform, and resource properties in preparation for our lab. The lab will be a Chef tutorial on how to use resources.

Resources Pre-Lab

In this lab, we'll walk through a Chef tutorial on how to use resources and apply what we've learned in the pre-lab.


A brief quiz to test your knowledge and verify you learned the key concepts from the previous lecture and lab.

Resources Quiz
6 questions

Cookbooks and chef-client Pre-Lab

In this lecture and lab, we'll review cookbooks and cookbook directory structure, outline cookbook components, and do a Chef tutorial on how to use chef-client instead of chef-apply.

Cookbooks and chef-client

A brief quiz to test your knowledge and verify you learned the key concepts from the previous lecture and lab.

Cookbooks and chef-client Quiz
5 questions

Templates and cookbook_file Pre-Lab

In this lecture and lab, we'll review the Erubis template engine and template syntax, the cookbook_file resource, and walk through a Chef tutorial demonstrating how to use both of these Chef elements.

Templates and cookbook_file Lab

A brief quiz to test your knowledge and verify you learned the key concepts from the previous lecture and lab.
Templates and cookbook_file Quiz
5 questions

Attributes Pre-Lab

In this lecture and lab, we'll discuss attribute use cases, precedence, inheritance, and do a Chef tutorial together demonstrating how to use attributes in your recipes and attribute precedence.

Attributes Lab

A brief quiz to test your knowledge and verify you learned the key concepts from the previous lecture and lab.
Attributes Quiz
6 questions

Run-lists Pre-Lab

In this lecture and lab, we'll discuss how to use run-lists instead of passing the override-run-list argument to the chef-client, allowing us to specify multiple recipes, cookbooks, and even override attributes.

Run-lists Lab

A few quick reminders and a thank you to all of my students.

About the Instructor
4.5 Average rating
136 Reviews
2,029 Students
2 Courses
Senior Cloud Architect

I am a senior cloud architect with experience in both building custom, internal private clouds as well as leveraging public cloud providers. For the last 3 years, I've been architecting and deploying scalable, elastic, and highly-available applications, including large enterprise applications such as ERPs, eCommerce, and asset management suites. I have 8 years of broad IT and development experience and love teaching others.

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