Ansible is a software tool that provides simple but powerful automation for cross-platform computer support. It is a radically simple IT automation engine that automates cloud provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, intra-service orchestration, and many other IT needs. It is primarily intended for IT professionals, who use it for application deployment, updates on workstations and servers, cloud provisioning, configuration management, intra-service orchestration, and nearly anything a systems administrator does on a weekly or daily basis. Ansible doesn’t depend on agent software and has no additional security infrastructure, so it’s easy to deploy.
While Ansible may be at the forefront of automation, systems administration, and DevOps, it’s also useful to everyday users. Ansible allows you to configure not just one computer, but potentially a whole network of computers at once, and using it requires no programming skills. Instructions written for Ansible are human-readable. Whether you’re entirely new to computers or an expert, Ansible files are easy to understand. It uses no agents and no additional custom security infrastructure, so it’s easy to deploy — and most importantly, it uses a very simple language (YAML, in the form of Ansible Playbooks) that allow you to describe your automation jobs in a way that approaches plain English.
Working of ansible:
Ansible performs automation and orchestration of IT environments via Playbooks. Playbooks are a YAML definition of automation tasks that describe how a particular piece of automation should be done. Like their namesake, Ansible Playbooks are prescriptive, yet responsive descriptions of how to perform an operation — in this case, IT automation, that clearly states what each individual component of your IT infrastructure needs to do, but still allows components to react to discovered information, and to operate in concert with each other. Ansible Playbooks consist of series of ‘plays’ that define automation across a set of hosts, known as the ‘inventory’. Each ‘play’ consists of multiple ‘tasks,’ that can target one, many, or all of the hosts in the inventory. Each task is a call to an Ansible module — a small piece of code for doing a specific task. These tasks can be simple, such as placing a configuration file on a target machine, or installing a software package. They can be complex, such as spinning up an entire CloudFormation infrastructure in Amazon EC2. Ansible includes hundreds of modules, ranging from simple configuration management, to managing network devices, to modules for maintaining infrastructure on every major cloud provider. Core included modules for Ansible are written in an manner to allow for easy configuration of desired state — they check that the task that is specified actually needs to be done before executing it. For example, if an Ansible task is defined to start a webserver, configuration is only done if the webserver is not already started. This desired state configuration, sometimes referred to as ‘idempotency,’ ensures that configuration can be applied repeatedly without side effects, and that configuration runs quickly and efficiently when it has already been applied. Ansible also supports encapsulating Playbook tasks into reusable units called ‘roles.’ Ansible roles can be used to easily apply common configurations in different scenarios, such as having a common web server configuration role that may be used in development, test, and production automation. The Ansible Galaxy community site contains thousands of roles that can be used and customized to build Playbooks.
Companies using ansible:
- HOOTSUITE :- Hootsuite is a social media management system used by businesses and organizations. It allows the execution of social media campaigns on a variety of networks from a secure dashboard. Hootsuite is popular among Fortune 1000 companies. The main challenge facing Hootsuite was the lack of repeatability. This made automating Hootsuite’s infrastructure a challenge, and Hootsuite were also facing difficulties in application deployment. To resolve this, Hootsuite introduced Ansible core. This allowed Hootsuite to build servers from scratch and enabled repeatability. In the future, Hootsuite plans to implement an Ansible migration of its app deployment and possibly in ad hoc production server management.
- AMELCO :- Amelco is a UK-based company that develops software solutions for the betting industry and financial betting markets. The business was looking for a way to deploy its applications efficiently across its hundreds of different environments, and it also sought to limit downtime. To do this, Amelco performed an Ansible migration to an agentless automation framework. This reduced the complexities it faced with the deployment, operations and the upgrade of applications over a range of contrasting locations, while also using one simplified language. In addition, by introducing Ansible and Ansible Tower, Amelco has successfully automated its application deployments. Other benefits include reduced complexity and continuous delivery, along with speed solution delivery.
- LIFESUM :- Based in Stockholm, Lifesum is a digital health platform that encourages users to lead a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Lifesum has proved hugely successful throughout Europe, reaching over 6 million downloads so far. Lifesum’s platform uses a host of applications, in addition to a joint back end API, and it bases its infrastructure on AWS. Lifesum was looking for a simplified yet robust tool to allow configuration management, application deployment, and server provisioning. Prior to introducing Ansible, Lifesum had used another tool but found provisioning and managing different environments a challenge. Lifesum started their Ansible migration in 2014. It started implementing Ansible straight away and has used it in several major areas. First, Lifesum used Ansible playbooks “to automatically spin up virtual development machines with Vagrant”.
- AWS :- Using Ansible to automate your applications in AWS greatly increases the chances that your cloud initiative will be a success. The breadth of AWS capability enables IT organizations to dynamically provision entire workloads like never before. When you deploy an application into AWS, you will soon realize that the cloud is much more than a collection of servers in someone else’s data center. You now have a fleet of services available to you to rapidly deploy and scale applications. However, if you continue to manage AWS like just a group of servers, you won’t see the full benefit of your migration to the cloud. Ansible automation can help you manage your AWS environment like a fleet of services instead of a collection of servers.
- GCP :- Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provides scalable infrastructure and solutions to meet the needs of your organization. GCP offers on-demand instances, software-defined networking, storage and databases, and big data solutions — and they’re all available at your fingertips. GCP enables your applications to take advantage of Google’s significant infrastructure, utilizing their best-of-breed technology and innovation, and only pay for what you need when you need it. The Ansible open source community is a vibrant, fast-moving place that strives to get things done. Google thrives in open source, but also understands the reliability needs of its users to safely run their infrastructure. Google Engineering actively builds Ansible modules, contributes code and documentation, and helps users deliver their solutions with GCP.
CONCLUSION :- With today’s demand for automation, consistency and the move towards cloud, companies from all sectors are adopting easy-to-use tools that enable them to achieve these goals and overcome complexities. These three success stories show how an Ansible migration is the ideal solution for automating organizations’ modern technology challenges, while also performing an essential role in app deployment and improving responsiveness.