Ansible is an automation tool mainly used for configuration Management (C.M). It works on the concept of Declarative Language i.e we only have to tell Ansible “What To Do?” not “How To Do” that it will figure out by itself. Ansible is famous among it’s competitors (like puppet, chef, etc.) because it is agentless (no need to install ansible on managed nodes).
Ansible simplifies IT automation by capturing an array of IT resources and supporting multitier deployments from day 1. Ansible consolidates resources across multiple systems to manage them from a single platform rather than requiring management from one system at a time. Code, lifecycle, and changes can be managed through inventory, playbooks, and roles.
Why we need Ansible?
Answer is automation. Until few years back, very configuration had to be done manually which was a tedious task. We always need to keep updating, pushing changes, copying files on them etc. These tasks make things very complicated and time consuming. The solution to this is Ansible.
Important aspects of Ansible:
- The systems that are managed can include servers, storage, networking, and software. These are the targets of the configuration management system. The goal is to maintain these systems in known, determined states.
- Another aspect of a configuration management system is the description of the desired state for the system.
- The third major aspect of a configuration management system is automation software, which is responsible for making sure that the target systems and software are maintained in the desired state.
Advantages of using 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 (more on playbooks later).
- 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.
- Idempotency: An operation is idempotent if the result of performing it once is exactly the same as the result of performing it repeatedly without any intervening actions.
What Ansible Can Do?
Ansible can do Provisioning, Configuration Management, Application Deployment, Security and Compliance, Cloud Provisioning and Orchestration.
Companies using Ansible and it’s market share:
Firstly, totally 8,781 are currently using Ansible. Below are few examples,
In the Software Configuration Management category, Ansible has a market share of about 4.0%
Now let’s see How some companies used/using Ansible to solve their Challenges:
CHALLENGE: Gain high-performance big data capabilities
Worldwide, car manufacturers are focused on introducing automated vehicles, which require hundreds of millions of miles of driving data to prove their safety. To develop the driving algorithms for its automated vehicle initiatives, the BMW Group needed to access, analyze, and apply massive quantities of data and update its driving applications with new algorithms as they are developed.
SOLUTION: Provide machine learning capabilities at massive scale
The BMW Group chose to work with DXC Technology to build a solution for its data and performance challenges. To create a Kubernetes-based platform with robust automation capabilities, DXC Technology deployed DXC Robotic Drive, a managed Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) based on Red Hat OpenShift and other Red Hat technology. This solution helps the BMW Group develop faster with scalable machine learning and big data processing capabilities. The platform was configured and created in just 3 months.
BUSINESS OUTCOME: By automating repeatable tasks and providing self-service capabilities, the BMW Group significantly reduced development time and improved developer productivity. It offers close to 230 PB of usable storage and the compute power to simulate up to 240 million kilometers of test data. In addition, the BMW Group created a vendor-neutral environment for collaboration with partners and other automotive manufacturers to advance innovation.
2. HCA Healthcare:
CHALLENGE: Use data Insights to save lives
HCA Healthcare wanted to use its data to find new, innovative solutions to healthcare challenges. HCA Healthcare’s leadership identified sepsis rates as a key challenge that data could help solve. Sepsis, a condition where the body’s immune system has an overwhelming response to infection, is responsible for 270,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone. The group sought to use predictive data analysis to establish a standardized, digital approach to sepsis detection.
SOLUTION: Build a scalable foundation for innovative patient care
HCA Healthcare created the Sepsis Prediction and Optimization of Therapy (SPOT) platform to collect and analyze clinical data and signal caregivers in real time to initiate early sepsis care. HCA Healthcare used Red Hat open source software to create a scalable, container-based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) foundation for SPOT. The group also used Red Hat automation, management, and analytics software to support real-time data collection, analysis, and proactive notification processes.
BUSINESS OUTCOME: Improved patient care with data analysis
With its new platform, HCA Healthcare is able to detect and identify sepsis up to 20 hours earlier than traditional screening methods–helping to save lives. In addition, HCA Healthcare has used its new technology capabilities, like real-time machine learning algorithms, to establish a learning health system that decreases the risk and cost of innovation.