Working in IT, you’re likely doing the same tasks over and over. What if you could solve problems once and then automate your solutions going forward?
Ansible is here to help.
What is ansible?
Allowing smart people to focus on smart things. Ansible is a simple automation language that can perfectly describe an IT application infrastructure. It’s easy-to-learn, self-documenting, and doesn’t require a grad-level computer science degree to read. Automation shouldn’t be more complex than the tasks it’s replacing.
How ansible is helping us?
Ansible seamlessly unites workflow orchestration i.e., define your infrastructure once and use it wherever and however you need with configuration management, provisioning, and application deployment in one easy-to-use and deploy platform.
Your apps have to live somewhere. If you are creating virtual or cloud instances from templates, ansible helps streamline the process. Provisioning with Ansible allows you to seamlessly transition into configuration management, orchestration and application deployment using the same simple, human readable, automation language.
Baremetal:- Underneath virtualization and cloud platforms there is always the physical server. When it’s your own cloud or hypervisor system you still need to provision bare metal some of the time. Ansible integrates with many datacenter management tools to both invoke and enact the provisioning steps required.
Network:- Ansible Network Automation allows users to configure, validate and ensure continuous compliance for physical network devices. Ansible is the only language that can easily provision across multi-vendor environments, often replacing the need for manual processes that exist across network environments.
Storage:- Ansible can provision and manage the storage in your infrastructure. From software-defined storage, cloud based storage, or even hardware storage appliances, you can find a module to leverage Ansible’s common, powerful language.
Public Cloud:- Ansible is packaged with hundreds of modules supporting services on the largest public cloud platforms. Compute, storage and networking modules allow playbooks to directly provision these services. Ansible can even act as an orchestrator of other popular provisioning tools, giving you a high level, self documented, workflow.
Private Cloud:- One of the easiest ways to deploy, configure and orchestrate OpenStack Private Cloud is using Ansible. Ansible can be used to provision the underlying infrastructure, install services, add compute hosts, and more. Once the underlying environment is provisioned, Ansible can also be used provision resources, services, and applications inside of your cloud.
2. Configuration Management
It’s likely you currently manage your systems with a collection of scripts and ad-hoc practices curated by a talented team of administrators. Or perhaps you’re using an automation framework that requires a bit too much of your time to maintain. Virtualization and cloud technology have increased the complexity and the number of systems to manage is only growing.
You need a consistent, reliable and secure way to manage the environment — but many solutions have gone way too far the other direction, actually adding complexity to an already complicated problem. You need a system that builds on existing concepts you already understand and doesn’t require a large team of developers to maintain.
Ansible makes IT automation accessible:- Ansible configurations are simple data descriptions of your infrastructure (both human-readable and machine-parsable) — ensuring everyone on your team will be able to understand the meaning of each configuration task. Ansible requires nothing more than a password or SSH key in order to start managing systems and can start managing them without installing any agent software, avoiding the problem of “managing the management” common in many automation systems.
Goal-oriented, not scripted:- No matter what state a system is in, Ansible understands how to transform it to the desired state. This allows reliable and repeatable IT infrastructure configuration, avoiding the potential failures from scripting and script-based solutions that describe explicit and often irreversible actions rather than the end goal.
Secure and agentless:- Ansible does not require any remote agents. Ansible delivers all modules to remote systems and executes tasks, as needed, to enact the desired configuration. These modules run with user-supplied credentials, including support for sudo and clean up after themselves when complete. Ansible does not require root login privileges, specific SSH keys, or dedicated users and respects the security model of the system under management. As a result, Ansible has a very low attack surface area and is quite easy to deploy into new environments.
3. Application Deployment
Ansible is the simplest way to deploy your applications. It gives you the power to deploy multi-tier applications reliably and consistently, all from one common framework. You can configure needed services as well as push application artifacts from one common system.
Rather than writing custom code to automate your systems, your team writes simple task descriptions that even the newest team member can understand on first read — saving not only up-front costs, but making it easier to react to change over time.
Power of the playbooks:-
(i) Repeatable &Reliable
(ii) Simple to write and maintain
(iii) No agent = More secure, More performance, less effort
4. Continuous Delivery
We come from a long history of building software the “release early, release often” way. If release often is an ideal, continuous application delivery may be nirvana.
To do it right, automation is key — but so is simplicity. Your team needs the tools that enable quick turnaround, requiring human intervention only when necessary. That’s what Ansible does with one of the easiest paths to continuous delivery in the industry.
Creating a CI/CD pipeline requires buy-in from numerous teams. You can’t do it without a simple automation platform that everyone in your organization can use. Ansible Playbooks keep your applications properly deployed (and managed) throughout their entire lifecycle.
Rolling updates, Zero Downtime:- Ansible provides true multi-tier, multi-step orchestration. Ansible’s push-based architecture allows very fine-grained control over operations, able to orchestrate configuration of servers in batches, all while working with load balancers, monitoring systems, and cloud or web services. Slicing thousands of servers into manageable groups and updating them 100 at a time is incredibly simple, and can be done in a half page of automation content.
Call your play:- Ansible let you define “plays”, which select a particular group of hosts and assign tasks to execute or roles for them to fulfill. The order in which these plays run, and the hosts on which they run, is tightly controlled by Ansible. For example, you might migrate a database schema and flush the caching servers prior to updating application servers by running one simple play. This is far better than just blasting out orders to servers.
Power plus simplicity, across your environment
Stage & Test:- Your Ansible inventory can be easily split to slice your environment up into different groups of machines. You can then easily test your plays with a staging machine and if tests pass, that can then be instantly run against production if you so choose.
Beyond Just Servers:- We don’t stop at just servers. Ansible can work with networks, load balancers, monitoring systems, web services and other devices that might need touching during a rolling update. For example, you can add or remove servers from your load balancing pool and disable monitoring alerts for each machine that is being updated.
5. Security Automation
When you define your security policy in Ansible, scanning and remediation of site-wide security policy can be integrated into other automated processes and instead of being an afterthought, it’ll be integral in everything that is deployed.
How industries are solving challenges using ansible?
Ansible seamlessly unites workflow orchestration with configuration management, provisioning, and application deployment in one easy-to-use and deploy platform.
1. AWS (Amazon Web Services)
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. To harness this power, IT organizations must effectively answer:
- How can we control cloud deployments?
- How does devops work in the cloud?
- Will my deployments be secure?
- How can we migrate existing apps to the cloud?
The answer? Automate with Ansible.
Ansible & AWS: Batteries included:-
From the beginning, Ansible has offered deep support for AWS. Ansible can be used to define, deploy, and manage a wide variety of AWS services. Even the most complicated of AWS environments can be easily described in Ansible playbooks. Once your AWS-based application environments are described with Ansible, you can deploy them again and again, easily scaling out to 100s or 1000s of instances across multiple regions, with the same results each and every time.
Out of the box, Ansible has nearly 100 modules supporting AWS capabilities, including:
Elastic Block Store (EBS)
Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2)
Elastic IPs (EIP)
Elastic Load Balancers (ELB)
Identity Access Manager (IAM)
Relational Database Service
Security Token Service
Simple Storage Service (S3)
Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
Ansible also has over 1,300+ additional modules to help you manage every aspect of your Linux, Windows, UNIX, network infrastructure, and applications — regardless of where they’re deployed. With Ansible, one common language can be used to describe everything deployed in your cloud.
It’s hard to find a homogeneous IT stack nowadays. You may have a Linux server farm, but an AD cluster providing identity. Or you have a cross-platform build environment that builds your software for multiple different targets.
Your management and automation tools need to be able to handle multiple, vastly different targets — Linux, Unix, networking, cloud services… and Windows.
Users and customers love Ansible’s simple, agentless, powerful automation that allows them to model and deliver any configuration, any deployment, any environment across their IT infrastructure.
Ansible knew that the key was to bring the same simple, agentless paradigm to managing Windows, while still feeling native to Windows administrators. Ansible’s native Windows support uses Windows PowerShell remoting to manage Windows like Windows in the same Ansible agentless way that Ansible manages Linux like Linux.
With Ansible’s native Windows support, you can, out of the box:
- Gather facts on Windows hosts
- Install and uninstall MSIs
- Enable and disable Windows Features
- Start, stop, and manage Windows services
- Create and manage local users and groups
- Manage Windows packages via the Chocolaty package manager
- Manage and install Windows updates
- Fetch files from remote sites
- Push and execute any PowerShell scripts you write
You can connect to and automate Windows using local or domain users, and soon you’ll be able to use Windows ‘runas’ support to execute actions as the Administrator, just as you would use ‘sudo’ or ‘su’ on Linux.
Plus, with Ansible’s easy extensibility, you can write your own modules in PowerShell and extend Ansible for whatever other functionality you need. Ansible users have written modules for managing filesystem ACLs, managing Windows Firewall, and managing hostname and domain membership, and more.
Thanks for reading :)