Ansible by Red Hat is an open source IT configuration management, deployment, and orchestration tool. It is unique from other management tools in many respects, aiming to provide large productivity gains to a wide variety of automation challenges as a more productive drop-in replacement for many core capabilities in other automation solutions. Furthermore, Ansible seeks to solve major unsolved IT challenges such as clear orchestration of complex multi- tier workflows and cleanly unifying OS configuration and application software deployment under a single banner.
Ansible by Red Hat is designed to be minimal in nature, consistent, secure, and highly reliable, with an extremely low learning curve for administrators, developers, and IT managers. The solution seeks to keep descriptions of IT easy to build, and easy to understand – such that new users can be quickly brought into new IT projects, and longstanding automation content is easily understood even after months of being away from a project. Ansible seeks to make things powerful for expert users, but equally accessible for all skill levels, ensuring a quicker time to market for IT projects and faster, less-error prone turnaround on IT configuration change.
One of the primary differentiators between Ansible by Red Hat and many other tools in this space is its architecture. Ansible is an agentless tool that runs in a ‘push’ model. As a result, no software is required to be installed on remote machines to make them manageable. Furthermore, Ansible by default manages remote machines over SSH (Linux and UNIX) or WinRM (Windows), using the remote management frameworks that already exist natively on those platforms.
Ansible builds on this by not requiring dedicated users or credentials – it respects the credentials that the user supplies when running Ansible. Similarly, Ansible does not require administrator access, leveraging sudo, su, and other privilege escalation methods on request when necessary. This method allows Ansible by Red Hat to be more secure. By using the credentials passed by the user, those with access to the control server (or source control) cannot make content be pushed out to remote systems (or otherwise command them) without also having credentials on remote systems. Similarly, by operating in a push-based model where only needed code (called Ansible ‘modules’) are passed to remote machines, remote machines cannot see or affect how other machines are configured.
By running in an agentless manner, no resources are consumed on managed machines when Ansible is not managing them. These attributes together make Ansible ideal for highsecurity environments or high-performance cases where there are concerns about stability or permanence of a management agent, but are generally useful attributes in all computing areas.
Why Ansible by Red Hat?
Centralising configuration file management and deployment is a common use case for Ansible, and it’s how many power users are first introduced to the Ansible automation platform.
After an application is defined by Ansible, and the deployment is managed by Tower, teams are able to effectively manage the entire application lifecycle from development to production.
Apps have to live somewhere. If an organisation is PXE booting and kickstarting bare-metal servers or VMs, or creating virtual or cloud instances from templates, Ansible and Ansible Tower help streamline the process.
Creating a CI/CD pipeline requires buy-in from numerous teams. Organisations can’t do it without a simple automation platform that everyone in an organisation can use. Ansible Playbooks keep applications properly deployed (and managed) throughout their entire lifecycle.
SECURITY & COMPLIANCE
When an enterprise defines its security policy in Ansible, scanning and remediation of site-wide security policy can be integrated into other automated processes and instead of being an afterthought, it’ll be integral in everything that is deployed.
Configurations alone don’t define the environment. Organisations need to define how multiple configurations interact and ensure the disparate pieces can be managed as a whole. Out of complexity and chaos, Ansible brings the order.
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