Ansible is growing in popularity for DevOps. In this blog, we break down why you should consider using Ansible for DevOps.
Ansible is used for effective server and configuration management.
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Learn why and how to use Ansible for DevOps — and maximize the benefits of an Ansible orchestration.
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Before choosing Ansible for DevOps, you need to consider the necessity of utilizing open source cloud orchestration. In general, it has always made sense to automate repetitive tasks. And systems have always been full of repetitive tasks. The scope of what is considered a “task” has increased significantly as we have developed modern deployment methods.
Many things can and should be automated like:
For example, if you look at microservices architecture, it becomes apparent quickly that none of this can be achieved at scale without automation. Imagine having to deploy 1,000 new containers by hand when additional load is detected in a system.
In the past, to automate less sophisticated tasks such as rotating log files or archiving backup data, system admins usually wrote shell scripts. You can achieve automation and orchestration with shell scripts. But they present a lot of problems for businesses as automation needs to grow. Shell scripts are free-form languages. And code style varies across developers.
Disadvantages of shell scripts include:
Use Ansible for DevOps to achieve greater automation and flexibility.
At OpenLogic by Perforce, we work with customers of all organization sizes. Our team has had the chance to see Ansible architecture operate at all different levels of scale. Below are some actual customer use cases that demonstrate Ansible’s flexibility as an orchestration provider.
Example: A software company wants to make it easy for people to install their appliance application on a small piece of hardware, such as an Intel NUC.
You could distribute an inflexible image of the appliance software, forcing the user to adopt a particular OS. Or you could distribute an Ansible Playbook for end users to run against their own machines.
This would prepare any mainstream operating system for the company’s product. And it would allow the user to BYO-OS and maintain the OS according to their own internal standards.
Example: A business maintains an on-prem VMWare implementation for the purpose of running various local intranet applications.
A few thousand VMs are deployed. They must be configured for various business applications. New machines need to have particular OSes, environment configuration, and software dependencies installed.
You can run Ansible servers which will run Ansible playbooks against target VMs with SSH. Those playbooks can enforce configuration, dependencies, etc. across new and existing resources by just updating a central inventory.
Example: Large enterprise has built a very large, geographically distributed cloud and on-prem infrastructure for public and private consumption.
Ansible AWX and Ansible Tower can be used to centrally manage numerous Ansible servers. In addition, many different playbooks can be stored, deployed, altered, and managed in general through AWX/Tower. This is done with role-based access control and other semantics necessary for larger organizations.
Ready to maximize Ansible for DevOps?
Compare Ansible to other orchestration tools. Download The Benefits of Ansible Orchestration. This free white paper compares Ansible vs. Chef and Ansible vs. Puppet.
You'll also learn how to complete a migration to Ansible — and the overall benefits that come with it. Get the white paper to start maximizing Ansible for DevOps today.
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Chief Architect, Perforce Software
Justin has over 20 years of experience working in various software roles. He is an outspoken free software evangelist, delivering enterprise solutions, technical leadership, and community education on databases, architectures, and integration projects.