Joyent says Chef support will make cloud workloads mobile

Opscode, the devops-focused toolset, is having a pretty good run. In February, Amazon launched an application life cycle management console based on Opscode Chef, and on Wednesday Joyent said it’s added full support and integration of Chef into the Joyent Cloud.

Expect more pledges of support to come out of Opscode’s annual conference kicking off tomorrow in San Francisco. Tools like Chef and Puppet Labs’ Puppet (see disclosure) ease the creation and management of system configurations. One key benefit is that, once the associated scripts of a deployment are created, they can be deployed regardless of the underlying operating system or, in this case, cloud. At least in theory.

In Opscode parlance, Chef configurations are deployed and managed via a “cookbook.” Joyent’s support of Chef means it will be easier, going forward, for customer to move cloud deployments to and from any cloud, said Joyent CTO Jason Hoffman in a recent interview.

“Chef, rather than the bare APIs, thus becomes the abstraction layer,” Hoffman told me. “By supporting Chef we make workloads more mobile. If Amazon calls an instance M1 why don’t we have one?” If that nomenclature is standard across clouds, the various scripts will work more easily anywhere.

That means, in Hoffman’s view, that folks who’ve deployed workloads in AWS, but want better and more explicit service level agreements or other contractual terms that AWS may not grant, can move the whole kit-and-kaboodle over to Joyent or, truth be told, vice versa.

As to why Chef appears to be gaining so much traction over CF Engine and Puppet? Hoffman thinks it’s because Opscode is more aligned with developers whereas Puppet targets admins, or the “ops” constituency of devops. In January, Puppet received an additional $30 million investment from VMware, funding which leads some to see Puppet falling into the VMware camp — a contention that Puppet CEO Luke Kanies denied at the time of the deal, pledging to continue support for heterogeneous hypervisors and environments.

Joyent, along with the various OpenStack-allied vendors, is hoping to take business from Amazon which, to be fair, isn’t taking that potential threat lying down — AWS has been adding more enterprise-friendly features and services recently. Later on Wednesday, we’ll hear about how the EMC(s emc) and VMware(s vmw)-backed Pivotal Initiative plan to take on AWS and other cloud competitors. And, to further muddy the waters, VMware said on its earnings call Tuesday night that it will launch its public-cloud take, which it calles VMware Hybrid Cloud Service on May 21. We’re going to need a score card.

No doubt we’ll hear more about Hoffman’s vision of mobile cloud workloads and the increasingly competitive cloudscapewhen he takes the stage at Structure 2013 in San Francisco on June 19

DisclosurePuppet Labs is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.