Chef Server, Chef Zero or Chef Solo?

2014-11-13 11:06:34 +0000

This is part of my quest to sort out my website. Which Chef?

Chef is available in several “editions”, and I struggled to choose one. Here’s my understanding:

Chef Server

The preferred way to run Chef in a large server farm is with each server (“node” in chef parlance) talking to a centrally-managed Chef server.

You can use Opscode’s hosted chef server, or you can use an on-premises chef server. See for more details.

Chef Zero


Chef Zero is a simple, easy-install, in-memory Chef server that can be useful for Chef Client testing and chef-solo-like tasks that require a full Chef Server.

Chef Solo


chef-solo is an open source version of the chef-client that allows using cookbooks with nodes without requiring access to a Chef server. chef-solo runs locally and requires that a cookbook (and any of its dependencies) be on the same physical disk as the node.

So, which one?