The Chef Win Series is a response to: "How has Chef changed our operations for the better, in the past 2 years since our shop adopted it?"    Example:

Composition

In our little lab, we're always experimenting with new stuff. In that kind of world, you never know what you're going to need until you need it. We might trash and recreate the same VM repeatedly until we get it right. "Oh yeah, forgot that part"

If we built a UI for this, it would look like a list of checkboxes, like so:

 

How Close Does Chef Come?

The above UI looks almost ridiculous. Nothing is that easy.  Especially when some of the checkboxes migh represent complex operations specific to our lab setup.

Interestingly, we get pretty close to this, using chef. It's not a checkbox, but it is a simple reference to a recipe in a templateware styled file. Fast, easy, dumb.

And each separate recipe has even been tested, because we set each one up in test-kitchen first.

Why Make a Point About Easy Composition?

Because it makes such a big difference in our little shop, even though this might not be a mainstream use case for Chef. 

Lots of times, the ability to experiment quickly in a new VM makes the difference between being able to experiment with a new technology or not. And NOT experimenting has consequences. These consequences aren't always obvious, but they are real. 

One more way that the existence of Chef helps keep our little shop vibrant, relevant, and in touch. That's useful.