Chef Partners With Microsoft To Train Partners in DevOps-style Azure Deployments

With enterprises rushing to embrace DevOps processes, Chef Software revealed on Monday an agreement to advance its longstanding partnership with Microsoft by directly engaging the software giant's network of cloud partners and jointly going to market.

For more than a year now, the two Seattle-area vendors have been working together on engineering the integration of Chef's popular configuration management platform with the Microsoft stack. Now they will take their collaboration further by training Microsoft's channel to leverage Chef's automation software for orchestrating workloads onto the Azure cloud.

"This is really the big next step in the relationship with Microsoft and Chef. It's the engineering organization within Microsoft blessing Chef within the Microsoft field organization," Jay Wampold, vice president of marketing at Chef, told CRN.

[Related: Chef Exec: Partners With Enterprise Cloud Skills Are Getting Really Tough To Find]

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Chef imparts the ability to automate deployment of not only Windows workloads, but also Linux, onto Microsoft's cloud. That empowers solution providers to abstract diverse application environments and better support hybrid scenarios, said Ken Cheney, Chef's vice president of business development.

The two companies are both investing to enable Microsoft's network of more than 20,000 field resellers to leverage Chef to more effectively offer the DevOps-style application deployment processes that businesses are suddenly clamoring for, Cheney told CRN.

In addition to training enablement, the partnership also involves joint account mapping, production of media content and direct account engagement. Chef will start working with Microsoft's field teams, partner managers and data center specialists, Cheney told CRN.

10th Magnitude, a Chicago-based solution provider that partners with both Microsoft and Chef, has for the last 18 months been working with Chef's platform to deploy customer workloads onto Azure in much the same way both software vendors now hope to encourage thousands more Microsoft partners to do.

Alex Brown, the company's CEO, told CRN the partnership announced this week "is going to be huge for a lot of people."

"We've clearly proven this model," Brown told CRN. "This is a great combination. It's delivered huge value to our clients, and we've been talking with Microsoft about the importance of using Chef with Azure."

Brown told CRN that over the last six months he's seen an explosion in enterprise customers who are looking to embrace DevOps practices.

"We've seen a lot, and they're all asking about Azure and how to do DevOps on Azure," he told CRN.

Chef's Wampold said that fundamental shift in IT philosophy often encapsulated under the label of DevOps is the reason Chef just finished 2014 with nearly 200 percent year-over-year growth. The developer now sees 70 percent of revenue coming from the Global 2000, more evidence of the macro-trend toward enterprise adoption of DevOps, he said.

"That speaks volumes of what's going on inside big enterprises today," Wampold told CRN. "The Holy Grail is how to build that high-velocity software delivery engine within the enterprise."