What is ansible ?
Ansible is an automation tool, or platform, used for IT tasks such as configuration management, application deployment, intraservice orchestration, and provisioning.
Why Ansible ?
- Free: Ansible is an open-source tool.
- Very simple to set up and use: No special coding skills are necessary to use Ansible’s playbooks (more on playbooks later).
- Powerful: Ansible lets you model even highly complex IT workflows.
- Flexible: You can orchestrate the entire application environment no matter where it’s deployed. You can also customize it based on your needs.
- Agentless: You don’t need to install any other software or firewall ports on the client systems you want to automate. You also don’t have to set up a separate management structure.
- Efficient: Because you don’t need to install any extra software, there’s more room for application resources on your server.
Here is the case study of 3 companies or startup who got benefits using ansible for their automation task :-
Hootsuite is a social media management system used by businesses and organizations. It allows the execution of social media campaigns on a variety of networks from a secure dashboard. Hootsuite is popular among Fortune 1000 companies.
The main challenge facing Hootsuite was the lack of repeatability. This made automating Hootsuite’s infrastructure a challenge, and Hootsuite were also facing difficulties in application deployment.
To resolve this, Hootsuite introduced Ansible core. This allowed Hootsuite to build servers from scratch and enabled repeatability. In the future, Hootsuite plans to implement an Ansible migration of its app deployment and possibly in ad hoc production server management.
Since performing their Ansible migration, Hootsuite says ops and devs ‘feel safer’. Additionally, Ansible allows developers to repeatedly test server builds on a local level until the team can be sure they work.
Hootsuite intends to use Ansible in many other ways, and as Beier Cai, Director of Technology, Hootsuite Media Inc., explains, “In the beginning I didn’t realize Ansible is good for orchestration as well but found it out quickly and I really loved it as it beats competitors right there.”
Amelco is a UK-based company that develops software solutions for the betting industry and financial betting markets. The business was looking for a way to deploy its applications efficiently across its hundreds of different environments, and it also sought to limit downtime. To do this, Amelco performed an Ansible migration to an agentless automation framework. This reduced the complexities it faced with the deployment, operations and the upgrade of applications over a range of contrasting locations, while also using one simplified language.
In addition, by introducing Ansible and Ansible Tower, Amelco has successfully automated its application deployments. Other benefits include reduced complexity and continuous delivery, along with speed solution delivery.
Further benefits include:
- “Faster time to deployment for its bespoke and modular client solutions, resulting in speedier time to market and higher customer satisfaction”.
- “A simplified and repeatable deployment process, leveraging true multi-tier, multi-step orchestration that minimized the complex dependencies of heterogeneous environments,”.
Based in Stockholm, Lifesum is a digital health platform that encourages users to lead a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Lifesum has proved hugely successful throughout Europe, reaching over 6 million downloads so far.
Lifesum’s platform uses a host of applications, in addition to a joint back end API, and it bases its infrastructure on AWS. Lifesum was looking for a simplified yet robust tool to allow configuration management, application deployment, and server provisioning.
Prior to introducing Ansible, Lifesum had used another tool but found provisioning and managing different environments a challenge.
Lifesum started their Ansible migration in 2014. It started implementing Ansible straight away and has used it in several major areas. First, Lifesum used Ansible playbooks “to automatically spin up virtual development machines with Vagrant”.
In the case study, Michal Gasek, SYSOPS Engineer/DBA at Lifesum also notes that Lifesum’s goal, “is to ensure that everyone had exactly the same working environment as we deploy our applications regularly. Three months later all our environments, from developer’s laptops to production instances on Amazon, [are] fully Ansible managed.”
Gasek continues, “We use AWS Auto Scaling and pre-bake Amazon AMI images with Ansible provisioning playbooks. When EC2 instances are launched by Auto Scaling, Ansible, triggered by cloud-init, runs provisioning playbooks, once again ensuring up-to-date configuration changes are applied, and pulling the latest applications versions from repositories. Ansible has helped us to automate, significantly simplify and speed up the process of dynamic resources scaling”.
Gasek adds that Ansible stood out because of its ‘power and simplicity’. Gasek also highlights how Ansible has enabled developers to concentrate on building ‘great product features’, rather than solving common problems like inconsistencies and misconfiguration.
With today’s demand for automation, consistency and the move towards cloud, companies from all sectors are adopting easy-to-use tools that enable them to achieve these goals and overcome complexities. These three success stories show how an Ansible migration is the ideal solution for automating organizations’ modern technology challenges, while also performing an essential role in app deployment and improving responsiveness.