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Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform Valuable Features

DevOps Consultant at a government with 501-1,000 employees

Being a game-changer in configuration management software is what has made Ansible so popular and widespread. Much of IT is based on SSH direct connectivity with a need for running infrastructure in an agentless way, and that has been a big plus. SSH has become a great security standard for managing servers. The whole thing has really become an out-of-the-box solution for managing a Unix estate. Managing a Windows or Microsoft estate via Ansible is a little bit different and I believe that requires the installation of some agents.

Another advantage is that Ansible did not require us to change our existing infrastructure in any way. This issue ties in with the SSH connectivity. You don't have to prepare any infrastructure to use Ansible. When you provision an operating system, that SSH remote connection is available. It's embedded in the operating system. That means you don't have to enable anything. All you have to do is make sure you can reach the nodes, either via SSH, passwordless authentication, or possibly other mechanisms. We've only been using SSH, and it does the job very well.

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NishantSingh - PeerSpot reviewer
Student at ARTH

Ansible is agentless. So, we don't need to set up any agent into the computer we are interacting with. The only prerequisite is that the host with which we are going to interact must have the Python interpreter installed on it. We can connect to a host and do our configuration by using Ansible. 

Its dynamic inventory capability is very useful. For example, we are provisioning instances in AWS, and I want a particular name tag. My name tag is my instance, and I've been running a lot of instances in AWS Cloud. If I want, I can filter and configure all instances running with a specific name. I can also dynamically fetch IPs. What happens in the AWS cloud is that if you shut your operating system down, and you do some reboot and stuff like that, then you'll lose the public IP. Being able to dynamically fetch IP is the main capability that I like in Ansible.

It is very easy to use. Anybody who has studied computer science or is from the mathematical field can easily use Ansible. You just have to know how to do a certain task. For example, if you want to make some changes to your firewall and maybe set up a web server, you don't have to know all the commands with respect to different operating systems such as Linux and Windows. You don't need to know commands, and you just need to have a basic idea about how you want to do it. It is very easy to use. You just have to know how to do it.

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Linux Platform System Administrator at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
  • Ad-hoc commands
  • Playbooks
  • Setting up and deleting users
  • Patching
  • Using it for quick and dirty deployment of scripts.

The YAML syntax is easy to use, but it takes some getting used to. I feel like Microsoft Visual Studio helps with the YAML syntax, lining it up correctly. However, if you're doing it from the command line without actual spacing, that could be a little problematic. The new version of Visual Studio is quite helpful because Git is integrated with it. The YAML markdowns are also in place. My staff doesn't need special coding skills to use it.

We have multiple Playbooks to configure a server. We can break it up or make one main YAML script to push out all the individual dependencies.

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Buyer's Guide
Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform
June 2022
Learn what your peers think about Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
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AliceGolakiya - PeerSpot reviewer
Devops Engineer at Infosys Ltd

One of the most valuable features is that Ansible is agentless. It does not have dependencies, other than Python, which is very generic in terms of dependencies for all systems and for any environment. Being agentless, Ansible is very convenient for everything.

If you are good at Python and willing to customize Ansible modules, you can develop Ansible modules and, at one go, you can automate whatever you want.

When I started learning Ansible, I didn't know Python or any other programming language. But even so, I was easily able to understand what Ansible is doing and how I should write a playbook so that Ansible executes its tasks properly and the results are met, per my requirements. It's a simple English language and YAML script. Even folks with a non-IT background can write Ansible playbooks.

I have also been using Ansible Tower for about six months. It is nothing but a GUI version of, or experience with, Ansible. Ansible itself is a simple CLI tool, but with Ansible Tower there is a GUI, similar to Windows and Linux. There are a number of Ansible Tower servers, so if you want to run playbooks on multiple systems or you want to run multiple playbooks at the same time, you can do so using Ansible Tower. It is very dynamic. It's very easy to use. Even a non-IT employee or a non-IT student can understand Ansible Tower. The UI is very simple. Moreover, it has LDAP, Active Directory, and many other integrations, by default.

Suppose you have set something up, that you have pushed some code to the repo. Even your colleagues can test it using Ansible Tower. Or suppose I have run an Ansible Tower job and I am facing an issue with it. I can give a colleague the job ID and ask them to have a look and help me resolve it. That type of process is very easy, as Ansible Tower is like a common infra for employees to work together. 

Ansible Tower provides a central solution for automation. For example, in the previous project I worked on, we were automating some domains. Then we provided the sandbox URLs to the client for them to test whether the code the vendor had provided was working properly. They were able to run it in different ways with Ansible Tower. They used the Ansible Tower jobs with which we tested things for reference. Ansible Tower is a kind of UI dashboard for Ansible end-users. That is an added advantage of Ansible Tower: Whatever Tower jobs you have run are saved in Ansible Tower.

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Venek Otevrel - PeerSpot reviewer
Chief Cloud Architect at T1 Solution

One of the most valuable features is automation. We are doing automation infrastructure, which allows us to automate regular tasks. This solution provides us with a service catalog, like building new services and automating daily tasks.

The language is very intuitive. The solution is easy to learn. The solution enables us to deliver incrementally. We are able to expand this facility by implementing more templates and using them digitally.

We are an international company, so we use this solution with a collaborative approach internationally. 

The solution enables us to enforce the same security settings, so it's quite easy to maintain. There can be human mistakes, which can make security unreliable, so that is why we prefer this security policy.

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Faycal Noushi - PeerSpot reviewer
CEO/Founder at Zen Networks
  • Reliability & reproducibility: Being able to design playbooks that can be validated in the development environment, QA, then production is very valuable. This helps reducing configuration errors and provides faster deployments.
  • Extensibility, versatility. Using its wide range of modules, Ansible can be used with different OSes and systems. In fact, using Ansible modules, one can interface with network gear using NAPALM, for example, or push remotely scripts for local execution on automated platforms.
  • Facts gathering: Ansible is able to extract configuration items either to be used later for reporting or to be used as conditions for playbook actions
  • Agentless: Ansible does not require to install a local agent on automated devices. It goes through communication protocols like SSH, Telnet, SQL (multiple DBS).
  • Dry runs! Better safe than sorry!
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Buyer's Guide
Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform
June 2022
Learn what your peers think about Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
610,190 professionals have used our research since 2012.