Red Hat, Inc. is recognized as the world’s leading provider of open source solutions. Its best known product is Linux, but a new offering is gaining recognition from the IT universe. In 2015, the company acquired Ansible, a software platform popular as an easy-to-use means for automation and development.
Ansible streamlines and simplifies cloud provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, intra-service orchestrations and similar emerging IT systems, processes and infrastructure, explains webopedia. In layman’s terms, it makes it easier to create computer software and processes.
Although Ansible is a young product, it already has wide acceptance among IT experts because of its simplicity and flexibility. In a blog post for BigPanda, Shahar Kedar, the company’s infrastructure team lead, says it’s tried other deployment automation products that proved too complex and rigid. After switching to Ansible, he reports the team created full-blown automation infrastructure within a couple months.
Here are the top 5 reasons Ansible is becoming the go-to solution for a variety of IT operations.
Easy to begin
“It is very, very simple to set up and yet powerful,” reports networklore.com. “In short you can handle complex tasks with a tool which is easy to use.”
Operating under the premise that automation shouldn’t be more complex than the tasks it’s replacing, Ansible is a simple automation language that is easy-to-learn, self-documenting and doesn’t require a grad-level computer science degree to read. Ansible can be used to update programs and configuration on hundreds of servers at once, but the process is the same whether you’re managing one computer or dozens.
Enterprise support from Red Hat
Like many other Red Hat products, Ansible is open source. However, it is supported with a subscription from Red Hat. The beauty of allowing people free access to technology is that open source communities become the driving source of innovation, Adam Clater, chief architect at Red Hat, explains. It also allows for comprehensiveness of applicability that provides flexibility so users can find creative ways to adapt the product for their needs.
Ansible is agentless, and that means it can be set up in minutes using OpenSSH without installing anything on the servers.
In order to be effective automation must be simple. People embrace technologies that are easy to understand and to adopt. In a blog post, Ansible General Manager Todd Barr writes that automation is about getting your life back.
“Let’s let the computers do the tasks that are mundane and that we shouldn’t be spending time on … so that way we can focus on the things that are important to us,” Barr says.
Simplifying information technology
As an organization grows, one common challenge is people of different skill sets and experience need to use the same technology. If the only people who know how to operate everything are a small group of IT specialists, there will be problems.
“One of the reasons Ansible is winning the day against other automation mechanisms is that it is significantly easier for an untrained operations-type person that is not a coder to be able to automate using Ansible,” explains Steven Carter, chief cloud architect for Red Hat’s public sector.
Information power multiplied
Ansible is one of the most popular open source automation projects on GitHub with an active and engaged community, reports Yahoo! Finance. New Ansible users can learn quickly and benefit from experienced Ansible users. That helps the automation process move even faster.
There is also Ansible Galaxy, where Ansible users provide prepackaged units of work called roles. Thousands of members are sharing thousands of these roles, which simplify tasks like provisioning infrastructure or deploying applications.
The primary benefit of Ansible is it allows IT administrators to automate away the drudgery from their daily tasks. That frees them to focus on efforts that help deliver more value to the business by spending time on more important tasks. Ultimately, Ansible gives teams time to allow smart people to focus on smart things.