Chef Interview Questions

Top 25 Chef Interview Questions and Answers

The adoption of cloud technology is an imperative necessity for every business in the present time. However, companies are showing preferences for multi-cloud strategy by using around five clouds on an average basis. Estimates indicate that around 84% of enterprises follow multi-cloud strategies and around 66% of them have a central cloud team. Furthermore, the trends in public cloud expenditure are positive in the present times.

Almost 50% of enterprises spend over $1 million on a public cloud every year. The huge demand for cloud adoption also implies the rise in the curiosity of organizations in configuration management tools. Automated configuration management helps developers and testing teams in faster product creation. One of the top DevOps tools for configuration management is Chef. As a result of the increasing adoption and popularity of Chef among DevOps professionals, you can find many online searches for chef interview questions.

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Most Common Chef Interview Questions and Answers

Chef had shown a promising rise with its growth to 37% in 2019 from 36% in 2018. Therefore, training and certification in chef can fetch promising salaries and job roles in the DevOps landscape. The following discussion would outline some of the most popular chef interview questions. Aspiring candidates can take a look at the following questions and the answers to prepare confidently for their interviews.

Basic Chef Interview Questions for Freshers

First of all, let us start with the latest chef interview questions and answers for freshers. These questions deal with the basic concepts in Chef. Responding correctly to the basic questions shows that you fulfill the minimum eligibility for the interview. So, let us start looking at the questions now!

1. What is Chef?

Answer: This entry is common among the top chef interview questions. The chef is a promising instrument for configuration management and automation. The tool provides helpful ways for the transformation of infrastructure to code. The chef is ideal for writing scripts needed for the automation of various IT and business processes. Chef also helps in machine setup on the cloud, physical servers, and virtual machines. Some of the notable companies which use chef for controlling and managing their infrastructure include Facebook, Expedia, Cheezburger, and Etsy.

2. What are the important components in Chef?

Answer: Candidates will generally find this question among the latest chef interview questions and answers for freshers. The response would deal with the three primary components such as chef-server, chef node, and chef workstation. You will find this as follow up for introductory chef interview questions.

Chef server is the central hub for storing all the data needed for configuration of the nodes. The Chef Node is a client who shares data across the network. The node follows a chef-client architecture. The Chef Workstation is the host accountable for modifying cookbooks and configuration data. The workstation forwards cookbooks and configuration data to the Chef server.

3. Define a chef resource and state its functions.

Answer: Questions on chef resource can be normal additions among most popular chef interview questions. Chef resource is a component of the infrastructure essential for installation or running a service. The different functions of Chef resources are as follows:

  • The description of the desired state of the configuration item.
  • Ability to select different resources such as services, package and template.
  • Documenting the resource properties and other crucial details.
  • Insights on the steps involved for achieving a specific state for a particular item.
  • Combination of different resources into recipes describe the working configuration.

4. What are a Chef recipe and its uses?

Answer: You can get this entry among chef interview questions in many interviews. Chef recipe is the combination of Chef resources that describes the working configuration and policy. The recipe is ideal for obtaining requirements for configuration of a particular system. The most significant functions of a Chef recipe are as follows:

  • You can use Chef Recipe for installing software components.
  • Facility for using one recipe for executing other recipes.
  • Chef Recipe is also ideal for file management and deployment of apps.

5. What is the difference between a recipe and cookbook in Chef?

Answer: This query is one of the top chef interview questions for testing basic conceptual knowledge on Chef and its features. As noted in the above question, Chef recipe is a combination of resources for configuration of a software package. Chef recipe is also ideal for configuring a certain part of the infrastructure. However, a Cookbook is a collection of Chef Recipes. Also, a Chef cookbook contains supporting information that improves the ease of configuration management.

6. What are the main advantages of Chef?

Answer: Candidates should always prepare for this mandatory mention among chef interview questions. The different advantages of Chef include the following.

  • Ease of automated deployment in a cloud environment.
  • Support for cloud-based and data center-based infrastructure.
  • The flexibility of selecting multiple cloud providers for your infrastructure.
  • Chef automation provides higher availability by controlling or initiating supporting servers in the event of hardware malfunction.

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Chef Interview Questions for Experienced Candidates

After completing the overview of basic interview questions, let us turn to chef interview questions and answers for experienced candidates. You may find these questions somehow difficult as the candidate requires a good knowledge of Chef to answer these questions. These questions will test the depth of a candidate’s knowledge about Chef. So, let’s start!

7. What is the run-list in Chef?

Answer: This query is also one of the common chef interview questions to test the candidate’s experience. Run-list is a feature in Chef that helps in specifying the recipes for running and the order for running them. Run-list is an ideal choice in the case of multiple cookbooks where the order of running the recipes is crucial. Some of the essential highlights of a run-list in Chef are as follows.

  • Run-list is an outline of roles and recipes in a specific order in which they have to run. If the run-list has more than one mention of a recipe, then the chef-client will run it only once.
  • Run-list is specific to the node on which it runs. Interestingly, nodes could have run-list similar to that used by other nodes.
  • Run-list finds storage on the Chef server as a part of the node object.
  • Run-list maintenance involves either a knife or the Chef Management console. In the case of using a knife, the run-list should be uploaded to the Chef server from the workstation.

DCA Practice Tests8. How can I apply an updated Cookbook to a node?

Answer: Practical questions are common in Chef Interview questions and answers for experienced candidates. You can find three ways for application of an updated Cookbook to a node in Chef. The first one involves running knife SSH from the workstation. The second method involves direct SSH into the server, followed by running chef-client. The final method involves running chef-client as a service or a daemon for reviewing the Chef server at regular intervals.

9. What is the Starter Kit in Chef?

Answer: The starter kit will also be one of the focus items in chef interview questions. Starter Kit feature in Chef helps in creating important configuration files with the necessary information needed for interaction with Chef Server. The configuration files can include a knife.rb, USER.pem, chef directory, the ORGANIZATION-validator.pem and other files. The simplicity for using Starter Kit is another important highlight. Download the starter kit and just move it to the workstation to start using the starter kit.

10. Which version of the cookbook is ideal when it is ready to use in production?

Answer: The chef interview questions can also be quite on point like this one. Semantic Versioning dictates that once a cookbook is ready to use in production, the version number should be 1.0.0.

11. Which command helps in uploading a cookbook to the Chef server?

Answer: The command for uploading a cookbook to the Chef server is “knife cookbook upload”.

12. What are the functions of the Test Kitchen?

Answer: The test kitchen is another common topic among chef interview questions. You can describe the functions of the Test Kitchen as follows:

Test Kitchen gives the ability for using different virtualization providers for creating a container or virtual machine instances locally. Both the workstation and the cloud are preferable options for creation of instances using the Test Kitchen.

Test kitchen radically improves the speed of the development cycle. Test kitchen achieves this through automatic provisioning and exclusion of temporary instances. Also, Test kitchen helps in addressing cookbook dependencies and application of cookbooks to instances. 

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13. What are handlers, and how many are there in Chef?

Answer: Candidates will also receive chef interview questions on handlers. Handlers are crucial tools for identifying situations developing in the course of a chef-client run. Then, the handlers inform the chef-client about essential methods to handle the situations. The three types of handlers in Chef are exception handler, start handler and report handler.

14. What is the difference between chef-apply and chef-client?

Answer: This question must have been way ahead in the list of chef interview questions. However, some interviewers may pop it up even to the experienced candidates. Chef-apply involves the application of a single recipe and Chef-client involves the application of a cookbook. Chef-apply provides a better understanding of the chef basics quickly and is ideal for learning purposes. On the other hand, chef-client is applicable for production purposes when one or more cookbooks should be applied.

15. What details do you need to bootstrap on Chef?

Answer: The following details are mandatory to bootstrap in Chef.

  • User name and password for logging into a specific node.
  • Host name of the node or public IP address.
  • Key-based authentication as a replacement of user name and password credentials.

Preparing for a DevOps Interview? Don’t forget to check out these top DevOps Interview Questions that will help you crack the DevOps interview.

Miscellaneous Chef Interview Questions for DevOps Professionals

Now, the attention of this discussion would move towards miscellaneous questions that can be asked in a DevOps interview. This set of interview questions can be based on DevOps or Chef. Let us find out the DevOps related questions with their answers!

16. What are the advantages of DevOps?

Answer: You can find this question too common. However, chef interview questions for experienced candidates can also touch on the most basic topics. DevOps has different benefits on the technical as well as the business front. The technical benefits include faster resolution of issues, reduction of complex problems and continuous software delivery. On the business front, DevOps ensures faster delivery of the product, more time for adding value and highly stable operating environments.

17. What are the important types of testing?

Answer: Candidates can find this entry commonly among DevOps chef interview questions. The different types of testing include unit test strategy, multivariate testing, early load testing, A/B testing, and using test harnesses.

18. Can you explain how you plan on handling projects?

Answer: The response to this question should be from a personal perspective. You can say that you will depend on a clear knowledge of DevOps project management tactics. The other elements in the project management approach would deal with establishing objects, streamlining workflow and maintaining the scope of the project.

You should also emphasize on research and the introduction of new tools and frameworks. However, the most crucial aspect of project management refers to the translation of requirements into the workflow. Furthermore, you can also present advantages of using continuous integration, release management and other tools for monitoring interdisciplinary projects.

19. Which scripting language is significant for a DevOps engineer?

Answer: This is one of the usual DevOps Chef Interview questions. The answer implies the selection of a simpler scripting language. The primary focus in selecting the right scripting language is on ease of understanding development paradigms and design patterns. The ideal development paradigms are functional, procedural and object-oriented programming.

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20. Can you explain something about the CI tools that you have used?

Answer: CI is ideal for obtaining early feedback, thereby reducing the costs of fixing errors. Some of the opensource CI tools include Hudson, CruiseControl.NET, CruiseControl, and Jenkins. The commercial CI tools include Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server, ThoughtWorks’ Go, Jetbrain’s Team City and Urbancode’s Anthill Pro.

21. What are your expectations of multitasking from a DevOps professional?

Answer: The role of DevOps professionals depends on reducing the communication gaps between operations and development teams. Furthermore, DevOps professionals have to understand different aspects of development from unique perspectives. For example, understanding system design from the viewpoint of architects or understanding software development from the perspective of a developer.

22. What is OHAI in Chef?

Answer: OHAI is a tool in Chef for collection of system configuration data that goes to the chef-client. The chef-client runs OHAI at the start of every Chef run for determining system state. The various built-in plugins in OHAI help in recognizing general configuration details. Furthermore, you also get a plugin model to write custom plugins with OHAI.

23. What is the need of SSL certificates in Chef?

Answer: SSL certificates are important for creating a certificate and private keys. These certificates are used between the Chef Server and the Chef-client for ensuring secure transmission of data. Each node could access the correct data with an SSL certificate in place.

24. What is Data Bags in Chef?

Answer: Data Bags are global variables stored in the form of JSON data. Data Bags are accessible from Chef Server. The indexing of data bags helps in easily searching for it or access it through a recipe.

25. What is the use of Knife in Chef?

Answer: A knife is a command-line tool for creating an interface between the Chef server and a local chef-repo. The knife is ideal for the management of nodes, cookbooks and recipes as well as roles, data bags, and environments. Furthermore, a knife is a promising instrument for managing resources in different cloud environments. Also, Knife helps in managing the installation of chef-client onto nodes and searching indexed data on the Chef server.

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So, we have covered the most common questions that you can face in your chef interview. The questions show different levels of difficulties in an interview. Candidates can find interview questions for freshers and experienced candidates. Most important of all, the chef interview questions also involved mentions about DevOps. The questions in this discussion cover the frequently-asked questions asked to chef interview candidates.

Candidates can get a reliable impression of different types of questions they can expect in an interview. As a result, candidates could be confident about appearing for the interview and answering all questions correctly. If you are preparing for any DevOps certification, you can also check our DevOps certifications training courses. A certification in your resume also acts as an add-on and increases your chances of getting selected.

So, if you want a career in Chef, then start reading this discussion once again. Give some additional effort in going through these Chef interview questions and practice them for the best results in your interview!

About Dharmalingam N

Dharmalingam.N holds a master degree in Business Administration and writes on a wide range of topics ranging from technology to business analysis. He has a background in Relationship Management. Some of the topics he has written about and that have been published include; project management, business analysis and customer engagement.

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