What is Ansible?
Ansible is a software tool that provides simple but powerful automation for cross-platform computer support. It is used for application deployment, updates on workstations and servers, cloud provisioning, configuration management, intra-service orchestration, and nearly anything a systems administrator does on a weekly or daily basis.
Advantages of Ansible:
- Very simple to set up and use: No special coding skills are necessary to use Ansible’s playbooks.
- 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.
1539 companies reportedly use Ansible in their tech stacks, including LaunchDarkly, Tokopedia, and Alibaba Travels.
NASA’s Use Case solved by Ansible:
NASA needed to move roughly 65 applications from a traditional hardware-based data center to a cloud-based environment for better agility and cost savings. The rapid timeline resulted in many applications being migrated to a cloud environment. This created an environment spanning multiple virtual private clouds (VPCs) and AWS accounts that could not be easily managed. Even simple things, like ensuring every system administrator had access to every server, or simple patching, were extremely burdensome.
NASA leverages Ansible Tower to manage and schedule the cloud environment.
As a result of implementing the Ansible Tower, NASA is better equipped to manage its AWS environment. Tower allowed NASA to provide better operations and security to its clients.
By the numbers:
- Updating nasa.gov went from over 1 hour to under 5 minutes.
- 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 the entire environment in under 10 minutes.
- Application stack set up from 1–2 hours to under 10 minutes per stack.