In December 2023, we introduced the self-managed offering of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform on Microsoft Azure. This new offering allows customers the flexibility to deploy Ansible Automation Platform on Azure, and customers can now choose the managed application or self-managed application in the Azure Marketplace.

With this new Azure Marketplace listing, customers have more control over their infrastructure, the design, architecture, deployment, and scalability of their Ansible Automation Platform environment. Customers can take advantage of the complete Ansible Automation Platform, including integrations with native Azure services.

It’s simple, you purchase it from Azure Marketplace and self-deploy into your Azure tenant. You also get access to Red Hat’s premium support, it counts towards your committed spend agreements with Microsoft (MACC) and it’s integrated into Azure billing. Did we mention that Azure GovCloud is supported too!

As noted earlier, now you have two options for Ansible Automation Platform on Azure, a managed application or self-managed application. Currently available in North America, EMEA, Singapore, India, Korea, New Zealand and Australia. Here is what it looks like in the Azure Marketplace. Red Hat Inc, and Red Hat Limited on the marketplace items indicate this regional distinction. Private offers are also available for both offerings, so please reach out to your Red Hat and/or Microsoft account executives for more information.

Let’s get into more details about the self-managed Ansible Automation Platform on Azure application.

Virtual Machine deployment

Self-managed Ansible Automation Platform on Azure is a virtual machine based deployment. When you go to the marketplace to deploy this it will walk you through spinning up the virtual machine(s). Again, you get to choose the number and configuration of the virtual machines depending on the architecture and size that you have determined best suits your organizational needs.

In a few quick steps you can spin up the virtual machines that you need for the desired design. This virtual machine image has Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and includes the Ansible Automation Platform installation bundle. To provide you some virtual machine deployment guidance, we’ve also made some recommendations on the virtual machine shapes that you may want to consider.

The Azure virtual machine vCPUs map to the active managed nodes you want to automate against. As an example, let’s say you want to manage 400 active managed nodes. Each 4 vCPUs account for 100 active managed nodes. 400 active managed nodes map to 16 vCPUs. In my design, I’d like to consider two options. The first is 1 automation controller and 1 private automation hub. So I would deploy 2 virtual machines, each with 8 vCPUS. The second option is 2 automation controllers. I would deploy 2 virtual machines, each with 8 vCPUS to represent this design. Here’s what this would look like.

In a larger example of 1600 active managed nodes. That would map to 64 vCPUs. I’d like to deploy 2 larger automation controllers, 1 private automation hub, 1 Event-Driven Ansible, and 2 execution nodes. I  would deploy 6 virtual machines to represent this design. Here’s what this would look like.

Note:  Not every Ansible Automation Platform infrastructure node in your architecture needs to be built with the image from the marketplace. For example,  if you wanted to manage 100 nodes and have a private automation hub and two execution nodes, you would deploy 1 virtual machine with 4 vCPU (100 managed node entitlement) and you would self-deploy the private automation hub and execution nodes not using the marketplace offer or in other words using your own Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) image.

Ansible Automation Platform installation

With the infrastructure all in place, the next step is to install Ansible Automation Platform and each of its applications on the respective virtual machines. At this point you would install Ansible Automaton Platform using the standard documentation. Here are links again to the planning guide, and the installation guide

The RHEL virtual machines you deployed have the last installation bundle for Ansible Automation Platform 2.x. This is placed in the following folder.

/opt/ansible-automation-platform/installer/

Following the instructions in the installation guide, you will update the inventory file and then run the installation.

Alternatively, if you do want to automate the entire deployment (infrastructure, and the installation of Ansible Automation Platform) you can leverage this Git repository to do so. The Ansible Content Lab is making this available (disclaimer:  this is community supported and not officially supported by Red Hat or Microsoft).

https://github.com/ansible-content-lab/azure_ansible_deployment

Make your own copy so you can modify it, and then trigger the installation by following the detailed instructions. Enjoy!

Advantages of the self-managed Ansible Automation Platform on Azure

  • Architecture and scale. You get to determine what is the most ideal architecture based on your environment size and requirements. Choose the number of controllers, the number of execution nodes, and if you want to deploy Event-Driven Ansible (EDA). The choice is completely yours to make! For more on architecture, design, configuration and scale, please visit the Ansible Automation Platform planning guide, and the Ansible Automation Platform installation guide
  • Azure configuration. Because this is fully self-managed, it fits really well within your organization’s Azure design and configuration. 
  • Automation mesh support. Automation mesh is an Ansible Automation Platform feature that allows organizations to distribute automation workloads across hybrid cloud peer-to-peer connections with each other using existing networks.
  • Event-Driven Ansible is included. Event driven automation helps you reduce manual tasks and deliver a more efficient IT environment focused on innovation. Event-Driven Ansible processes events, and determines the appropriate responses, and then executes automated actions to remediate the event. Event-Driven Ansibleis included with this self manager offering on Azure. Check it out, and use it.
  • Offers. Subscriptions are available in 100 active managed node increments, and this is available in both public offers, or private offers.

What can I do next?

To learn more about Ansible Automation Platform on Azure, please visit the page here.

To learn more about Ansible Automation Platform on other hyperscaler clouds, please visit the page here.

To learn more about automation mesh, please visit this guide.

To learn more about Event-Driven Ansible, please visit this page

For hands-on self-paced lab(s) on Ansible Automation Platform please visit this page.

  • lab on Ansible Automation Platform on Azure.
  • lab on getting started with automation mesh.
  • Labs on getting started with Event-Driven Ansible.

About the authors

Hicham is responsible for technical marketing of the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform on Clouds. Hicham has been in the software industry for over 20 years and for many of them focused on cloud management. Hicham has been a frequent presenter at events and conferences like VMworld, vForum, VMUG, VMLive, Gartner, Dell Technology World, AWS re:Invent, HPE Discover, Cloud Field Day, Red Hat Summit, AnsibleFest, in addition to Customer events.

Read full bio

Jen is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Ansible Automation Platform-Cloud Services. She focuses on bringing the value of Ansible to the hyperscalers marketplaces, and partners closely with the hyperscalers to bring joint offerings to the market. Jen has a strong background in marketing and communications, a career that started with an internship at The Onion in 2007.  Before joining Red Hat, Jen worked at a data company, Splunk, a GRC company, Convercent and P&G. Jen lives in Golden, CO with her husband and newdle! 

Read full bio