What's new in Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform 2.2

Red Hat® Ansible® Automation Platform 2 helps IT teams create automation content in a more consistent and efficient way, collaboratively manage automation processes across the entire organization, and readily scale automation capacity on demand. The latest release of Ansible Automation Platform 2.2 offers new features, expanded capabilities, and an enhanced enterprise automation experience. 

1.  Visualize automation topologies at scale 

Accessible via the automation controller, the automation topology viewer allows users to graphically visualize even the most complex automation topologies, at scale—including hop, execution, hybrid, and control nodes. 

The new topology viewer gives users a clearer picture of where their automation is running—across multiple sites. Accessible via the automation controller, this new tool: 

  • Simplifies IT operations teams' ability to better support and troubleshoot more complex automation execution topologies.
  • Helps visualize the underlying implementation of a newly provided private overlay network in automation mesh.
  • Integrates with automation controller to visualize deployments and topologies, from the simple to the complex. 

2.  Employ chain-of-custody security features 

Content signing is a new security-focused feature available in Ansible Automation Platform 2.2 as a technology preview supported feature. It establishes a new chain-of-custody framework for Ansible automation content, resulting in end-to-end content signing and distribution. Starting first with digitally signing collections, and then execution environments in the future, this feature helps ensure that the automation being executed in your enterprise is certified and compliant.

The new framework will continue to evolve over future releases, spanning the Ansible Automation Platform experience. 

Automation hub and Red Hat Ansible Certified Content

All newly submitted Red Hat Ansible Certified Content will be digitally signed to ensure data integrity and verify content ownership. Ansible Certified Content from Red Hat and partners will be signed via automation hub on console.redhat.com, allowing future end-to-end security—from download through deployment. 

Private automation hub

Sign your user-built, community, and third-party Ansible Content Collections when publishing to your private automation hub instance. 

3.  Automate with updated developer tooling 

Ansible Automation Platform 2.2 includes a newly bundled content tool, which is available as a technology preview supported feature: ansible-lint.

Ansible-lint is a command-line tool that further enhances the content creation experience by promoting proven practices, patterns, and behaviors. Key benefits include: 

  • A consistent creator experience across teams due to opinionated strategy and supported tools.
  • Integration with other common continuous integration (CI) tools, which allows custom Ansible Automation Platform content to be readily tested and integrated into larger business workflows without difficulty. 
  • Helps users upgrade their playbooks to work with newer versions of Ansible Core, which is useful for migrating ahead of end of life for Ansible Automation Platform 1.2 (formerly Red Hat Ansible Tower 3) in September 2023. 

Other noteworthy developer tooling updates include:

  • Automation content navigator 2 (ansible-navigator) now includes more features to create content more easily, including:
    • Added native pass-through control of both ansible-builder and ansible-lint.
    • Added native support for execution of ad-hoc ansible commands in an execution environment.
    • Added simple settings management for ansible-navigator installations. Settings that are active or have been modified are clearly identified with visual studio code (VS Code).
  • A newly bundled VS Code extension provides language support for creating Ansible Automation Platform content, including smart auto-completion of related playbook content, syntax highlighting, jinja helpers, and direct integrations with supported tooling. 

4.  Extend network automation 

The latest version of the ee-supported-rhel8 automation execution environment, which comes bundled with Ansible Automation Platform 2.2 includes many improvements for network automation, notably: 

Increased performance and resiliency 

  • LibSSH (using pylibSSH Python library) is now the default Secure Shell (SSH) connection, with fallback to paramiko if needed.
  • Direct execution is enabled by default. Instead of network modules being packaged and executed by the shell, they will be directly executed by the Ansible control node, delivering much faster execution and reduced execution node central processing unit (CPU).

Additional network use cases 

  • New Red Hat-supported ansible.yang 1.0.0 collection (was community.yang collection) includes Ansible plugins to help support YANG data models with network devices.
  • New resource modules have been released, including snmp_server and hostname modules for supported network operating systems for Arista, Cisco, Juniper, and VyOS.
  • The ipaddr filter plugin has been added to the ansible.utils collection, providing built-in support for manipulation of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, subnets, masks, and prefixes.
  • Simplify Ansible facts manipulation through the new consolidate filter plugin that presents collective structured data, including all supplied Ansible facts grouping on common attributes. The plugin has also been added to the ansible.utils collection.

Continued asynchronous releases

  • Continued enhancements for Arista EOS, Cisco IOS XE, Cisco NX-OS, Cisco IOS XR, Juniper JunOS, and VyOS.
  • Major releases of ansible.netcommon and supported network platform collections.

5.  Get more reporting and analytics data with streamlined integration of Red Hat Insights 

Ansible Automation Platform 2.2 includes a simpler, more intuitive way to connect your automation data with Red Hat Insights. The insights-client package responsible for ensuring reporting and analytics data is connected to your Ansible Automation Platform infrastructure has been added to the bundled installer on the Red Hat Customer Portal. 

With automation analytics and Red Hat Insights connected, you get actionable metrics and dashboards to help identify, troubleshoot, and resolve operational, business, and security issues across your entire ecosystem. You gain full visibility into the performance and return on investment (ROI) of your efforts, helping you make more informed decisions to optimize and expand your automation. Automation analytics and Red Hat Insights includes:  

  • Automation calculator to calculate automation ROI.
  • Savings planner to help predict and prioritize future automation based on time or cost savings.
  • Reports for visibility into automation performance and adoption across teams.
  • Drift to ensure consistent configuration across systems.
  • Advisor to identify issues and remediations to generate playbooks to resolve issues in less time.

6. Benefit from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 support

The automation and management capabilities of Ansible Automation Platform 2.2 are now supported on Red Hat Enterprise Linux® 9: 

  • Components now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9. Ansible Automation Platform components, including automation controller, private automation hub, private services catalog, and many developer and creator tools, are now available as Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 or 9 Red Hat Package Manager (RPM) packages in the Red Hat Customer Portal.
  • Support for PostgresDB 13. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 now includes PostgresDB version 13, which can be used by the automation controller, private automation hub, and the automation services catalog for improved compatibility and performance.
  • An updated certified Red Hat Enterprise Linux system roles collection to automate Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 instances. The redhat.rhel_system_roles certified collection on Ansible automation hub has been updated to support the ability to automate Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9. 

New additions to the rhel_system_roles collection available on the automation hub include system roles for Postfix, Intelligence Platform Management Interface (IPMI) management, Cockpit, Firewalld, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux high-availability cluster solutions.

Get more details

Check out the Ansible blog for an overview of what’s new, along with a comprehensive review on several of the new features and capabilities. 

Take a video tour 

This eight-minute overview video highlights the components and features found in the latest version of Ansible Automation Platform and how they come together to deliver a comprehensive enterprise automation experience.

Try Ansible Automation Platform

Get hands on with our self-paced, on-demand labs that provide interactive, preconfigured learning environments where you can experiment with Ansible Automation Platform. 

Sign up for an Ansible Automation Platform 60-day trial to discover how this platform can help you solve real-world challenges in your environment.

Plan your upgrade

If you are still operating Ansible Automation Platform 1.2, it is time to start planning your upgrade. Get started with this checklist, “5 ways to prepare for migration to Ansible Automation Platform 2.” You can also check out the free webinar, “Migrating to the next-generation IT automation platform.”