Previously in our technology insights, we discussed the importance of Hyperautomation with the help of Mobility tools. Similarly, the need of open-source tools for configuration management and other tasks is addressed with Ansible. In this blog, we will discuss the advantages and use cases of Ansible and understand the workflow. Let's start:
What is Ansible?
Ansible is an open-source automation tool, or platform, used for IT tasks such as configuration management, application deployment, intraservice orchestration, and provisioning.
Ansible Building Blocks include:
- Ansible Task
- Ansible Inventory
- Ansible Play
- Ansible Playbook
A typical IaC (Infrastructure as Code) workflow with Ansible looks something like the below:
Advantages of Ansible:
Free: Ansible is an open-source tool.
Simple set up: No special coding skills are necessary to use Ansible’s playbooks (more on playbooks later).
Powerful: Ansible lets you model even highly complex IT workflows.
Flexible: You can orchestrate the entire application environment no matter where it’s deployed. You can also customize it based on your needs.
Agentless: You don’t need to install any other software or firewall ports on the client systems you want to automate. You also don’t have to set up a separate management structure.
Efficient: Because you don’t need to install any extra software, there’s more room for application resources on your server.
Ansible is efficient in:
Change the configuration of an application, OS, or device.
Start and stop services
Install or update applications
Implement a security policy
Perform a wide variety of other configuration tasks.
Application Deployment: Ansible lets you quickly and easily deploy multi tier apps. You won’t need to write custom code to automate your systems; you list the tasks required to be done by writing a playbook, and Ansible will figure out how to get your systems to the state you want them to be in.
Orchestration: As the name suggests, orchestration involves bringing different elements into a beautifully run whole operation.For example, with application deployment, you need to manage not just the front-end and back-end services but the databases, networks, storage, and so on. You also need to make sure that all the tasks are handled in the proper order. Ansible uses automated workflows, provisioning, and more to make orchestrating tasks easy. And once you’ve defined your infrastructure using the Ansible playbooks, you can use that same orchestration wherever you need to, thanks to the portability of Ansible playbooks.
Security and Compliance: As with application deployment, site-wide security policies (such as firewall rules or locking down users) can be implemented along with other automated processes. If you configure the security details on the control machine and run the associated playbook, all the remote hosts will automatically be updated with those details. That means you won’t need to monitor each machine for security compliance continually manually. And for extra security, an admin’s user ID and password aren’t retrievable in plain text on Ansible.
Cloud Provisioning: The first step in automating your applications’ life cycle is automating the provisioning of your infrastructure. With Ansible, you can provision cloud platforms, virtualized hosts, network devices, and bare-metal servers.
The use cases of Ansible are:
Ansible can be used for configuration management to push policies to developer workstations.
Ansible can be used for bootstrapping standard installables like Java, Tomcat, Apache, NodeJS etc. while creating new Infrastructure & save on Manual Provisioning times.
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