The video of my talk at Madison Ruby is online. Automated infrastructure is intimidating but very important, so I encourage conference attendees to dip their toe in the water with a simpler subset of the Chef stack.
Chef is a great tool for managing a vast and complicated server infrastructure, but what if you have fewer servers than fingers? What if you just want a simple little box to host a Rack app? Maybe a staging server to match or a CI server? With little or no prior knowledge of Chef, you can set up a server fairly quickly if you know the right way to set up your kitchen. (They don’t make it obvious. I’ve lost a few fingers in the process.) We’ll walk through the basics of Vagrant, Chef-solo, Knife-solo, using community cookbooks, and writing your own simple cookbooks.