I was asked to do a review of Managing Windows Servers with Chef. I’ve read through the complete book, and these are my thoughts. I’ll be copying the following out to a couple places, but these are my thoughts on this book from packtpub.


First off this book is an amazing “whistle stop tour” of the chef ecosystem. Yes it focuses mainly on the windows world, but it hits some great overarching chef terminology to a unseasoned reader. It does assume you might have a small amount chef knowledge, in certain spots, but if you have none it’s ok. It drops you into the chef world, walks you through some basic patterns and then starts the specific windows focus. It has a great hands on example leveraging both via knife bootstrap and cloud providers for windows, and even shows how to leverage winrm if you have no exposure to it. This is a great book, I strongly suggest getting your hands on it.

View as a *nix admin with chef knowlege

As a *nix admin by profession, this was a great overview, allowed me to leverage my chef knowledge already and started thinking of what I can do for my company to leverage the repeatable windows chef infurstruture. It opened my eyes to some very basic but lacking windows support. If you look at the following snippet:

if platform_family? 'debian'
  package 'apache2'
elsif platform_family? 'windows'
  windows_package node['apache']['windows']['service_name'] do
    source node['apache']['windows']['msi_url']
    installer_type :msi
    # The last fourz options keep the service from failing
    # before the httpd.conf file is created
    options %W[
    ].join(' ')

As you can see chef has a way to pull down apache2 and extract, install, and run it. Before reading this book, I knew of some of the resources that chef provided, but having legitimate examples in front of me made the difference. I can’t think of any more praise other than I really do think this has some of the best overarching view of chef for windows, walks you through a great example and then makes you want to dig into the LWRPs that it references.

John Ewart without realizing has created a 100 page book that you can give to a Director or above and they’ll get why you want to use chef and in this case chef for windows.