What Is Ansible?
- Ansible is an Automation Engine.
- It can automate cloud provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, intra-service orchestration, and many other IT needs.
- It uses no agents and no additional custom security infrastructure.
- It uses the YAML Syntax.
- Ansible includes hundreds of modules to support a wide variety of integrations, including AWS, Cisco, Docker, Jenkins, Spuck, Windows and many more.
How Ansible is Helping Industries?
Here are some of the Cases Studies to understand it better..
Microsoft needed to address increasing complexity across their corporate network infrastructure — comprised of tens of thousands of endpoints — that connects Microsoft locations worldwide. “We have thousands of devices of various makes and models and software versions, so at times, it’s hard to keep up with all the different vendors and ways that we interact with those devices,” said Bart Dworak, Software Engineering Manager at Microsoft. Their issues were compounded as code created by development and engineering teams was not version-controlled or peer-reviewed, leading to duplication and quality issues.
Using Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform and working with Red Hat Consulting, Microsoft created a standardized, centralized network automation environment that reduces routine, repeatable tasks and complexity. “Digital transformation is really changing the way that we think about how we solve problems,” said Dworak. “In the past, we had to manually do the same deployment again and again. With Ansible, we can create blueprints to deploy it multiple times. And every time we deploy, it’s exactly the same.”
BinckBank is an online bank for investors based in Amsterdam and is ranked among the top five investment banks in Europe and the market leader in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Our problem was complexity in the datacenter. We wanted automation but we also wanted simplicity and to not have to send people to training in order to use the product. We have 600 UNIX servers in house. We have a lot of speciality environments that we need to create while at the same time managing our production environment.
Ansible is quite fun to use right away as soon as you write five lines of code it works. SSH makes it all so easy because it is text-based, making it really powerful when combined with Ansible. With SSH and Ansible, I can send commands to 500 servers without having even used the servers before.
— Mark Maas, Unix/Linux Systems, Administrator
We are experimenting with monitoring networks. We use NAGIOS. NAGIOS is an example of a technology doing something extremely well — monitoring networks — while leaving the fixing to Ansible. NAGIOS can see a server is busy in the middle of the night, send a message to Cobbler to create a few more servers on a virtual platform and then start Ansible to make servers into web servers, enhancing the capability of your website with more servers. You can literally wake up to more sales this way. Ansible is the glue that connects monitoring, scripting and server installation. Ansible glues it all together and now you have a self-healing network. You can link to NAGIOS so Ansible can check way more than what you can script. The whole fun of Unix is that the output of one command is the input for another.
NASA needed to move roughly 65 applications from a traditional hardware-based data centre to a cloud-based environment for better agility and cost savings. The rapid timeline resulted in many applications being migrated ‘as-is’ to a cloud environment.
This created an environment spanning multiple virtual private clouds (VPCs) and AWS accounts that could not be easily managed. Even simple things, like ensuring every system administrator had access to every server, or simple patching, were extremely burdensome.
As a result of implementing the Ansible Tower, NASA is better equipped to manage its AWS environment. Tower allowed NASA to provide better operations and security to its clients. It has also increased efficiency as a team.
By the numbers:
•Updating nasa.gov went from over 1 hour to under 5 minutes
•Patching updates went from a multi-day process to 45 minutes
•Achieving near real-time RAM and disk monitoring (accomplished
•Provisioning OS Accounts across entire environment in under
•Baselining standard AMIs went from 1 hour of manual configuration
to becoming an invisible and seamless background process
•Application stack set up from 1–2 hours to under 10 minutes per stack
4. British Army
Due to problems with support, performance, and availability, the British Army’s IAS Branch needed to migrate from its Oracle private cloud environment. The system caused unplanned downtime during upgrades, disrupted users, and slowed update deployment. “There’s always pressure to deliver quickly,” said Lt. Col. Dorian Seabrook, head of operations at the British Army’s IAS Branch. “We have to be more efficient in how we deliver software, as well as underlying infrastructure, upgrades, maintenance, and support.”
IAS decided to migrate from Oracle Linux to Red Hat Enterprise Linux®, moving from physical infrastructure to a software-defined datacenter. To streamline management of its new environment, IAS used Ansible Tower by Red Hat, an automation and orchestration tool, to improve consistency, reduce manual errors, and support a DevOps delivery approach. “We were redefining our operating model and wanted to deliver software faster and more efficiently to meet end-users’ requirements,” said Seabrook.
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