Automation is a big part of a sysadmin's job—any time you can avoid manual intervention, you can save time and decrease the risk of human error. Ansible is one of the most popular tools for automation, so if you want to learn new ideas and best practices around automating IT with open source technology, AnsibleFest is an excellent place to start.
AnsibleFest 2022 will be held in Chicago on October 18 and 19 at the Sheraton Grand Riverwalk. It's the first time in several years that AnsibleFest will be in person, allowing you to hear live keynotes and presentations, participate in labs and demos, and network with your colleagues. There are dozens of sessions for sysadmins at every level of their career or role, so check the entire event catalog to find the sessions that appeal to you, and then register to start building your calendar.
To help you get started adding to your agenda, here are just some of the sessions you may want to put on your "must-see" list.
Start your automation journey
If you're new to Ansible, you'll want to put Ansible 101: Command line basics on your list. The workshop's presenters—Patrick Toal, Edward Quail, Jacob Hunt, and Bernhard Cygan—will show you how to write your first Ansible playbook, use Jinja templates, and implement higher-level Ansible roles.
Brian Salisbury, Kenny McCoy, Christopher Norville, and Chris Hindman will help you apply what you learned in Ansible 101 in Ansible 201: Introduction to automation controller. Learn about inventory and credential management, projects, job templates, surveys, workflows, and more.
Discover how to automate simple infrastructure tasks in Writing my first playbook, where Ben Forrester, Randy Romero, Chris Edillon, and Ajay Chanempara will walk you through the basics.
In How to start your automation journey for traditional enterprise IT organizations, Teddy Kervin will share how his traditional enterprise IT organization navigated the world of IT service automation.
Advance your automation skills
The lab Using Configuration as Code on Ansible Automation Platform (AAP) will demonstrate how to use CasC to maintain your infrastructure with AAP. Sean Sullivan, David Danielsson, and Anshul Behl will teach you how to configure automation controller, private automation hub, execution environments, and custom collections and create workflows without the GUI.
Enterprises are finding that policy-as-code is an effective way to define, manage, update, and share compliance policies in an automated manner. In their presentation, Tim Coulter, John Martin, and Jennifer Nguyen will explain how Ansible does policy-as-code the best and demonstrate a solution that pairs Ansible with Open Policy Agent.
If you've been using Ansible for a while, you might be thinking about transitioning from Ansible Tower to Ansible Automation Platform. Michael Raugh will talk about NOAA/NESDIS's experience Upgrading to Ansible Automation Platform, and Hari Vedam will outline Discover's upgrade experience in Deep dive into Ansible Tower to Ansible Automation Platform migration.
Troy Ellis, Matt York, and Pat Harrison will demonstrate how AAP accelerates DevOps practices across the enterprise in their talk DevOps and CI/CD.
Learn practical examples
Traditional network monitoring methods struggle to deliver operational insights at the pace of today's IT infrastructure. Nilashish Chakraborty and Mike Wiebe will explore model-driven telemetry (MDT), which provides near-real-time access to key network operations statistics, in Automate streaming telemetry lifecycle on Cisco devices using Ansible.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) System Roles allow you to automate RHEL environments' setup and configuration. If you want to learn more about these roles, check out Brian Smith and Matthew Yee's talk Automating and managing RHEL environments with RHEL System Roles and the Using RHEL System Roles lab presented by Troy Ellis, Richard Megginson, and Matthew Yee.
If you're a hobbyist, you won't want to miss Ansible for the homelab. Jeff Geerling explains how he started with a router and cable modem and migrated to a full rack with a petabyte of storage, multiple bare-metal servers, and 10Gbps networking, all managed with Ansible automation.
Ansible automation controller's metrics can help you set up alerts and take actions to maintain uptime and reliability. In Metrics that matter, Elijah DeLee and Rebeccah Hunter will share key metrics to monitor and how to use Prometheus, Grafana, and AlertManager to keep track of performance.
Learn about using Ansible to apply GitOps workflow practices across your infrastructure in Roger Lopez, Dafne Mendoza, and Sean Cavanaugh's interactive session Operations by pull request: An Ansible GitOps story.
Darren Orzechowski will share Accelerating with automation: 3 strategies to get more out of your automation initiatives to achieve new levels of efficiency and agility.
Automate the cloud
Roberto Carratala and Cesar Fernandez Palomares will present a use case based on Check Point technologies to Automate cybersecurity solutions in a cloud-native scenario with AAP.
Roberto Carratala and Faz Sadegui will talk about Deploying and managing OpenShift cloud services at scale with Ansible Automation Platform. Learn how to implement an open hybrid cloud across multiple providers such as AWS, GCP, and Azure.
Sean Cavanaugh, Andrius Benokraitis, Pat Harrison, and Alejandra Ramirez will lead a self-paced Introduction to cloud automation lab. Learn how to use AAP to orchestrate, operationalize, and govern your hybrid cloud environments.
These are only some of the opportunities for sysadmins to expand their knowledge of automation in general and Ansible in particular at AnsibleFest 2022. Check the schedule for the time of each session and register so that you don't miss any of these (and other) great presentations.
A previous version of this article was published in September 2021 and has been updated by the author.