System administrators who are looking for a tool that helps them automating their maintenance tasks and have no or only little experience with Chef should really take a look at Joshua Timberman's great tutorial "Guide to Writing Chef Cookbooks".
In his article, Joshua describes all steps he takes to create a new Chef cookbook that installs and maintains smartmontools (a set of tools to monitor hard disk health). It's a great example how straightforward it is to automate systems operations tasks with Chef.
Even with two years experience in using Chef, I learned one or two bits from this tutorial. And it just so happened this week that I needed a smartmontools cookbook. So, thanks twice for writing this up, Joshua!