Chef gets compliments for network automation tool features

Networking industry pros discuss the Chef automation tool and how it can be used as a network automation tool. They also examine the evolution of AI and talk about a controller upgrade gone bad.

Edwin Yuen, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass., has a lot of good things to say about Chef, particularly as a network automation tool for Linux and container systems.

The Chef automation tool, Yuen wrote, gives IT operators the chance to make a bigger impact on their companies. Yuen said the programming language is a standard through which teams can communicate and eliminate roadblocks across platforms and applications.

Companies can then focus on  "outcome-oriented IT," where outcomes drive both the applications and the infrastructure required to support them. That shift in strategy doesn't devalue infrastructure, Yuen said. Instead, it's about letting IT administrators -- through a network automation tool like Chef -- shift their focus from the infrastructure to apps and outcomes. "Chef has begun the shift away from simply showing the value of automation with Chef to the value of automation because of Chef," Yuen said.

See what else Yuen had to say about the value of a network automation tool.

The perils of a simple controller upgrade

Lee Badman, writing in WiredNot, shared his experience with a simple upgrade of the Cisco controller underpinning his wireless LAN network. And the experience wasn't a pleasant one. As Badman put it, "It matters not that I've done this procedure about a hundred times through the years."

"This time, the controller had its own idea about how this code upgrade would go down."

The culprits will forever be unknown, but after a few bruises from repeatedly hitting his head against the wall in frustration, the controller -- and the associated access points -- got the required upgrade.

However, how he was able to get everything operating again makes for an interesting read.

Read about the obstacles Badman faced.

Artificial intelligence takes important steps forward

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is now the cool kid on the block. At least, that's what Gartner analyst Jim Hare said in a recent blog post examining the evolution of the technology.

AI, in Gartner's estimation, has three important traits: the ability to learn, predict and, most important, to surprise. "Many people associate AI with a single technology -- chatbots, cloud APIs, computer vision, natural-language processing (NLP) or robotics," Hare said. "In reality, AI is diverse -- it is all of the above, and much more."

To that end, Gartner identified five vendors it believes have AI software that goes beyond the tools currently available. They are Chronocam, for its image processing software;, for its NLP software; Deepgram, for its search and classification engine; Descartes Labs; and SigOpt.

See what Hare had to say about these companies and the evolution of AI.

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