Case Study on Ansible
In today’s IT environment enterprise applications can be complex scalable distributed, component-based, and often are mission-critical. They may be deployed on a variety of platforms across private cloud, public cloud, or hybrid cloud. They may across sensitive data, they may be subject to regulatory guidelines and stringent security policies, and yet need to be as user friendly as possible too. In short, these applications are highly complex. In this post, we’ll talk about how those considerations mesh with using automation tools like Ansible and How Ansible is solving the challenges for the Industries.
What is Ansible !!!!
Ansible is a software tool that provides simple but powerful automation for cross-platform computer support. It is primarily intended for IT professionals, who use it 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. Ansible doesn’t depend on agent software and has no additional security infrastructure, so it’s easy to deploy.
Because Ansible is all about automation, it requires instructions to accomplish each job. With everything written down in simple script form, it’s easy to do version control. The practical result of this is a major contribution to the “infrastructure as code” movement in IT: the idea that the maintenance of server and client infrastructure can and should be treated the same as software development, with repositories of self-documenting, proven, and executable solutions capable of running an organization regardless of staff changes.
How Ansible works !!!
In Ansible, there are two categories of computers: the control node and managed nodes. The control node is a computer that runs Ansible. There must be at least one control node, although a backup control node may also exist. A managed node is any device being managed by the control node.
Ansible works by connecting to nodes (clients, servers, or whatever you’re configuring) on a network, and then sending a small program called an Ansible module to that node. Ansible executes these modules over SSH and removes them when finished. The only requirement for this interaction is that your Ansible control node has login access to the managed nodes. SSH keys are the most common way to provide access, but other forms of authentication are also supported.
Redhat Ansible Automation
Ansible is an open-source automation tool, or platform, used for IT tasks such as configuration management, application deployment, intra-service orchestration, and provisioning. Automation is crucial these days, with IT environments that are too complex and often need to scale too quickly for system administrators and developers to keep up if they had to do everything manually. Automation simplifies complex tasks, not just making developers’ jobs more manageable but allowing them to focus attention on other tasks that add value to an organization. In other words, it frees up time and increases efficiency. And Ansible, as noted above, is rapidly rising to the top in the world of automation tools. Let’s look at some of the reasons for Ansible’s popularity.
Now that we have seen what is Ansible, let us find out the various advantages of Ansible.
Advantages of 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.
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.
Idempotent: Ansible has idempotent power which makes it more powerful than others.
Hopefully, now you have an idea about Ansible and how it’s more useful for industries. So let’s see what challenges Industries are solving through it.
NASA Case Study
NASA’s initial focus was to move roughly 65 applications from a traditional hardware based data center in a rapid time-line to a cloud-based environment. The rapid time-line resulted in many applications being migrated ‘as-is’ to a cloud environment.
This allowed for NASA to gain significant cost savings from the change in infrastructure but did not allow for immediate cloud optimization of the applications and sites. As a result of the rapid migration requirement we had an environment spanning multiple virtual private clouds (VPCs) and AWS accounts that could not be easily managed. This resulted in scenarios where even simple things, like ensuring every system administrator had access to every server, or simple patching, were extremely burdensome.
In order to achieve better management as well as dealing with a diverse environment, a decision has been taken to go with ansible tower. using this the environment is in a very organized and scheduled way.
As a result of implementing Ansible they are better equipped to manage their environment. Ansible has allowed them to provide better operations and security to their clients.
www.nasa.gov update window went from over 1 hour, to 5 minutes or less
Patching updates went from a multi-day process to a 45 minute process
Near real-time RAM and Disk monitoring accomplished without agents
OS Account provisioning across entire environment in less than 10 minutes
Baselining our standard AMI’s went from 1 hour of manual configuration to becoming an invisible background process
Application Stacks went from 1–2 hours to set up, to about 10 minutes per stack
“ As a result of implementing Ansible we are better equipped to manage our environment. Ansible has allowed us to provide better operations and security to our clients. It has also increased our efficiency as a team.” — Jonathan Davila DevOps Lead, InfoZen (InfoZen is the prime contractor for NASA which used ansible)
Similarly there are many such organizations and business which ansible have supported.