As application infrastructures become increasingly complex, the need for a cohesive, integrated deployment and configuration solution becomes apparent. The era of 6 week server deployments is gone in a world where new computing resources are an API call away. Modern infrastructures need an API, so systems can be automated easier.
Chef is an open source system integration framework, built to bring the benefits of configuration management to an entire infrastructure. Chef provides abstraction and an API so system administrators write simple code that describes the roles, recipes and resources that should be applied to systems. System administrators love Chef because it gives them flexibility to integrate all aspects of their infrastructure. Software developers love Chef because it helps them take care of the muck so they can focus on writing great applications.