Ansible, an agentless and user-friendly IT automation, and DevOps tool can streamline IT automation and DevOps tasks. Ansible is a potent open-source solution for software provisioning, configuration management, and application deployment. In 2012, Michael DeHaan, the creator of Cobbler and Func, launched Ansible.

In 2015, RedHat, Inc. acquired the company that financed Ansible. As a result of IBM’s 2019 acquisition of RedHat, Ansible is now part of the IBM family.

Ansible delivers infrastructure as code and is compatible with Windows and Unix-like operating systems such as Linux and Mac OS X. To administrate and configure the system, a declarative programming language is utilized. It is interoperable with cloud environments like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, allowing you to automate and manage infrastructure and code deployment. Let us look at some Ansible Basics. 

Ansible is simple to install, connects to clients rapidly, and offers a variety of configuration choices. Push-based and utilizing SSH to connect to clients, the client does not require an agent. When a module is deployed to a client, it is executed locally and the resulting output is relayed back to the Ansible server. Using SSH-Keys, clients are linked to the server. Included in inventory files are hostnames, IP addresses, and SSH ports. Ansible is able to utilize a previously created and populated inventory file.

Ansible is utilized by DevOps companies because it allows automation and gives a high level of flexibility. 

There are several benefits, including:

  • Unrestricted and accessible
  • Installation and use do not require system administration experience.
  • Modifiable in every way
  • The agentless features and lightweight consistency of OpenSSH make it incredibly safe.
  • There is much documentation given.
  • A simple route to mastery
  • Python, a robust and rapid programming language, is utilized.
  • Versions and configurations administration
  • Deployments that may be relied upon

What are the most popular use cases for Ansible?

Ansible is a powerful tool with a wide range of uses and objectives, particularly for integrating it into Docker environments or cloud services such as AWS. Ansible’s most prevalent applications include:

  • Administration of configurations
  • The creation and deployment of software.
  • Infrastructure and applications
  • Security, network automation, and IT
  • Ensure that all of your virtual machines have identical configurations by controlling them in bulk.
  • Define the parameters for your cloud-based server to facilitate its utilization.
  • Utilize Ansible Tower (AWX) or AWX to develop a graphical user interface (AWX).


    Commonly used terminology in Ansible

After discussing Ansible’s features and frequent use cases, the following are some of the language’s most popular terms.

  • An Ansible server is the machine on which Ansible is installed and all tasks and playbooks are run.
  • Ansible hosts the devices under your control.
  • Playbook: An Ansible automation framework that specifies tasks (written in YAML)
  • Implementation of a predefined action plan
  • Modules are commands or groups of instructions that can be performed on the client-side.
  • The procedure you intend to execute is provided in the “task” section.
  • A task’s “tag” is a name you may give it.
  • The handler is executed upon receipt of a notice.
  • A component of a task that alerts a handler whenever the output changes.
  • A file containing information about the Ansible server and client is known as an inventory.
  • Gather-facts is an operation that retrieves data from client-side global variables.

The Composable Core

This command-line utility can only be obtained by installing it from either a community repository or an official Red Hat repository.

Ansible Tower, a graphical user interface, is required to perform Ansible jobs (GUI). The tower must obtain a license according to the number of systems it will manage.

Ansible creates a connection to a remote system using either ssh or WinRM in order to execute an operation (Windows). Python 2.4 or later must be installed on the remote systems you’re connecting to in order to utilize Ansible.

  • Ansible Core enables the execution of ad-hoc commands and playbooks. A separate section will provide further insight into playbooks.
  • Ansible playbooks use extremely flexible scripts to execute a sequence of activities and instructions.

Let’s examine the components of a playbook in further detail.

  • Name: The task’s name is a field for description.
  • Host: The site where the work will be performed.
  • Tasks: Sections are utilized to organize pertinent instructions and statements for the present work.
  • Yum: This module manages yum content within an Ansible environment.
  • State: The state-based nature of Ansible in this playbook assures that the Nginx package is already installed. Various modules offer state parameter functionality.

Idempotency

Carefully crafted playbooks will not diverge from their intended goal even if they are repeatedly run. If you have already requested and implemented a modification to the system, you must ensure that none of the jobs in your playbook modify the system in any way.

You should now have a solid understanding of Ansible’s principles after reading this introduction. Ad hoc Ansible commands may be run, and basic playbooks can be initiated. Understanding the importance of idempotence can assist you in designing future automated systems.

Ansible offers enterprise-grade applications such as “Ansible Tower” that enable the administration of hundreds or thousands of systems with a single command.

There are several instances of open source initiatives that may be utilized within the open-source community. Using online resources such as ansible-galaxy, find pre-written Ansible code to execute jobs. Almost certainly, the code you desire to write has already been written. You need not even begin from scratch here. Please remember to share any modifications or enhancements you make with the community if you discover reusable code.

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