Chef goals/feasibilities


New to chef!

After playing for few days with Chef, I have few questions about some
things I am trying to achieve:

1- Automated security updates.
I have about 20 VMs and growing. How would Chef help running
security updates?

The thought was to perform a full VM backup during the weekends,

then automatically install the updates, restart the VMs, run some
automated test scripts to see if everything is ok. If not revert to
last backup and manually inspect the issues.

One of the challenges is with VMWare server. When there is a

kernel update, you need to recompile VMWare server on the host and you
need to recompile VMWare tool on the guest.

(BTW, I am not yet clear on how you run updates with Chef. For now
I am running yum updates)

2- Automated Production clone.
Reproducing production data for a test/debugging/training/demo
system is not trivial in our case. One easy (lazy?) way to do it could
be to just clone a VM and change IP/hostname/vname/email server

For example, every week some VMs could be cloned automatically.

This could also be use to pre test a set of updates.

Could Chef help here?

3- Bootstraping a new VM
I have not yet tried the bootstrapping Chef path. I just installed
the Yum chef-client on a test Node. But it would be great to be able
to create a new VM with just few parameters (Name, IP, hostname, Mem,

From what I have read, this could be a VM recipe for the host. But

installing a VM is not really installing a package. I could be running
4 VMs on one hosts. Can Chef help here too?