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What is Ansible?

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Ansible® is an open source IT automation tool that automates provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, orchestration, and many other manual IT processes. Unlike more simplistic management tools, Ansible users (like system administrators, developers and architects) can use Ansible automation to install software, automate daily tasks, provision infrastructure, improve security and compliance, patch systems, and share automation across the entire organization.

What's the difference between Ansible and Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform? 

Ansible works by connecting to what you want automated and pushing programs that execute instructions that would have been done manually. These programs utilize Ansible modules that are written based on the specific expectations of the endpoint’s connectivity, interface, and commands. Ansible then executes these modules (over standard SSH by default), and removes them when finished (if applicable).

There are no additional servers, daemons, or databases required. Typically you'll work with your favorite terminal program, a text editor, and a version control system to keep track of changes to your content.

Before you can install and configure an application, the infrastructure (a server or cloud endpoint for example) must be prepared for the first time. Provisioning hundreds or thousands of servers manually is not feasible which is why Ansible playbooks are favored by companies looking to scale IT quickly and reliably. Provisioning hundreds or thousands is no longer feasible. With an Ansible playbook you can build one instance, then instantly use the same instance or any number of additional servers employing the same infrastructure parameters or details. Once the environment is provisioned, it may now be configured, something Ansible also does very well as part of the IT operational life cycle.

Ansible is the simplest solution for automating routine IT tasks. It's designed to be minimal in nature, consistent, secure and highly reliable, with an extremely low learning curve for administrators, developers and IT managers.

Ansible uses simple data descriptions of your infrastructure (both human-readable and machine-parsable)—ensuring everyone on your team will be able to understand the meaning of each configuration task.

Ansible allows you to deploy multi-tier applications reliably and consistently, all from one common framework. You can configure needed services as well as push application artifacts from one common system.

Rather than writing custom code to automate your systems, your team now only writes simple task descriptions that even the newest team member can understand on first read - saving not only up-front costs, but making it easier to react to change over time.

An Ansible playbook is a blueprint of automation tasks—which are complex IT actions executed with no need for human involvement. Ansible playbooks are written in human-readable YAML format and executed on a set, group, or classification of hosts, which together make up an Ansible inventory.

Ansible really is simple automation that anyone can use, whether you have a lot of technology experience or a little. Get started with Ansible by learning how to install it, get to know modules and playbooks, and begin deploying apps, provisioning, orchestrating, and implementing security and network automation with Ansible.

Red Hat® Ansible Automation Platform is Red Hat's subscription-based, enterprise IT automation solution that includes everything needed to build, deploy, and manage  automation at scale. It is a fully-supported platform built around Ansible Core to ensure a consistent Ansible experience. Ansible Automation Platform makes it possible for users across an organization to create, test, and manage automation content through a powerful and agentless framework. It is a more secure, stable, and flexible foundation for deploying end-to-end automation solutions, from IT processes, to hybrid cloud, to the edge.  

Automating at scale requires a top-down strategy that includes investments in time, technology, and people. Make the most of that investment with Ansible Automation Platform, then reap the benefits as you accelerate, orchestrate, and innovate with automation.

Automation teams need to quickly provide reliable automation where and when the business needs it. In many organizations these roles may not be dedicated to a person or team, some operations team members may serve in multiple roles.

  • Automation architects elevate automation across teams to align with IT processes and streamline adoption. IT managers and architects can more easily expand automation across the enterprise, while managing automation policy and governance with automation services catalog and getting real-time reporting across the entire stack with Red Hat Insights for Ansible Automation Platform. 
  • Automation developers create Ansible playbooks, roles, and modules. Developers retain the freedom to build, without the operational overhead of maintaining many tools and frameworks. Execution environments deliver a consistent experience for building and scaling automation, with new tooling included to help build and manage them. There are over 100 certified Ansible Content Collections that offer pre-built automation content, with solutions available for nearly every use case.
  • Automation admins and operations teams ensure the automation platform and framework are operational. Administrators and operators have powerful tools in the automation controller and automation hub to manage and share automation projects more efficiently, with a common language and broadly accessible mix of command line interfaces (CLIs), graphical user interfaces (GUIs), and text-based user interfaces (TUI) across endpoints. 

Red Hat offers interactive labs in a preconfigured Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform environment. You can use these labs to experiment, practice, and learn how to create, manage, and scale network and IT practices efficiently—from rapid development and deployment, to simplified operations and analytics, to consistent end-to-end user experiences.

Keep reading


What is automation controller?

Automation controller is the control plane for automation, and includes a user interface, browsable API, role-based access control, job scheduling, integrated notifications, graphical inventory management, CI/CD integrations, and workflow visualizer functions.


Learning Ansible basics

Get an overview of how Ansible works and learn how to use Ansible automation to install software, automate daily tasks, provision infrastructure, improve security and compliance, patch systems, and share automation across your organization.


What are Ansible Content Collections?

Ansible Content Collections are a distribution format for Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform content that can include playbooks, roles, modules, and plugins around specific topic areas. 

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