RightScale supports Chef with a slightly modified version of the traditional hosted Chef architecture. The key differences between both types of Chef architectures are highlighted below.
If you are using Chef outside of the RightScale platform you are most likely using a traditional hosted Chef architecture, which consists of a Chef (Management) Server, node, and development machine. In this architecture, the Chef development machine manages the chef-repo from which artifacts are uploaded to the Chef Server and deployed to the Chef Clients. Although you will most likely use a source control management system like GitHub to store your Chef cookbooks, you will actually need to push the cookbooks to the Chef Server. To configure a Chef Node, cookbooks and recipes are retrieved directly from the Chef Server using the Chef Client.
RightScale supports Chef by using the RightLink agent as a proxy to all servers launched with Chef-based ServerTemplates. A Chef developer will push code up to their cookbook repositories hosted in a source control management system like GitHub or SVN. When those cookbooks are imported into a RightScale account, RightScale retrieves the cookbooks and stores a copy of them in Repose, which is RightScale's repository caching service. When a server is launched with a ServerTemplate, the RightLink agent on the instance (Chef node) retrieves its Chef cookbooks and recipes from Repose instead of from the actual source control repositories themselves (e.g. GitHub) in order to eliminate any third party dependencies.
If you're using Chef-based ServerTemplates in the RightScale management platform, you also have access to a growing library of Chef resources and providers. In order to provide the same level of server management functionality across multiple clouds, RightScale is constantly building the required resources and providers that are necessary to support the same level of functionality across multiple cloud and operating systems. There are two clear benefits of having access to these other resources and providers:
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