Ansible: Introduction and case studies

✒ Introduction to Ansible

Ansible is an open-source automation tool, or platform, used for IT tasks such as configuration management, application deployment, intraservice orchestration, provisioning, network automation, and security automation. Automation is crucial these days, with IT environments that are too complex and often need to scale too quickly for system administrators and developers to keep up if they had to do everything manually.

✒ Why Ansible?

Ansible automates and simplifies repetitive, complex, and tedious operations. Everybody likes it because it brings huge time savings when we install packages or configure large numbers of servers.

✒ How Ansible works?

Ansible works by connecting to your nodes and pushing out small programs, called “Ansible modules” to them. These programs are written to be resource models of the desired state of the system. Ansible then executes these modules (over SSH by default), and removes them when finished.

✒ Advantages of Ansible

In my experience there are at least three advantages that make Ansible my favorite automation tool.

  1. Playbooks are easy to read and edit. They are mostly written in YAML, and this is a great advantage when compared to other solutions, such as Puppet.
  2. It is written in Python, a very popular programming language that is familiar to all engineers, making it easy to extend.

✒ How Ansible is solving Industry Challenges?

Let’s have a look at how big organizations are using Ansible and solving challenges.

1. NASA

  • Patching updates went from a multi-day process to 45 minutes.
  • Achieving near real-time RAM and disk monitoring (accomplished without agents).
  • Provisioning OS Accounts across entire environment in under 10 minutes.
  • Baselining standard AMIs went from 1 hour of manual configuration to becoming an invisible and seamless background process.
  • Application stack set up from 1–2 hours to under 10 minutes per stack.

2. NetApp

NetApp got its start way back in 1992, when using the internet meant dialing up and hearing beeps, crackles, and eeps. By tech company standards we’ve seen it all, and we’ve not only survived, we’ve thrived. That’s because we’ve kept our focus on one thing — the data. Continuously improving how it’s managed, stored, analyzed, protected, and moved.

3. HootSuite

4. Lifesum

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