HOW INDUSTRIES ARE SOLVING CHALLENGES USING ANSIBLE

WHY ANSIBLE?

Ansible is a configuration management platform that automates storage, servers, and networking. When you use Ansible to configure these components, difficult manual tasks become repeatable and less vulnerable to error. 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.

Benefits of Ansible

Simplified Automation

Ansible is a simple-to-use platform, easy to install and configure, with a very fast learning rate. In less than 30 minutes, it’s possible to install and configure the system and execute ad hoc commands for servers to solve a specific problem: daylight saving time adjustments, time synchronization, root password change, updating servers, restarting services, and so on.

Agentless

Ansible is easy to deploy because it uses no agents or additional custom security infrastructure. It also leverages YAML, a simple language to describe your automation job via playbooks. Playbooks push the desired settings on the hosts defined in the inventory and can even be run ad hoc (via the command line, not requiring definitions in files).

Automate Now

From the moment you can ping the hosts through Ansible, you can start automating your environment. Begin with small tasks, following best practices, prioritizing tasks that add value to the business, solve major problems, and gain time and improving productivity.

In today’s world, many Companies are solving various use-cases and challenges using this automation tool called Ansible which is currently owned by Redhat. Some of these are:-

NetApp

NetApp got its start way back in 1992, when using the internet meant dialing up and hearing beeps, crackles, and eeps. By tech company standards we’ve seen it all, and we’ve not only survived, we’ve thrived. That’s because we’ve kept our focus on one thing — the data. Continuously improving how it’s managed, stored, analyzed, protected, and moved.

Keeping up with the pace of business can bring several challenges; delivering infrastructure resources should not be one of them. When using Ansible on any NetApp platform, the provisioning of resources becomes simple, automated, and repeatable from day 1. You can automate time-consuming IT tasks and drive a collaborative culture to support DevOps initiatives.

With the addition of more than 60 new modules to the Ansible library, NetApp delivers the most robust integration with Ansible of any storage vendor on the market. With this extensive library of modules, Ansible users can easily develop and deploy playbooks to automate storage tasks without needing to learn the nuances of the specific NetApp product.

An Ansible Playbook is basically a definition of what your end environment should look like. On the other hand, an Ansible module takes care of HOW Ansible parses your desired state and relays it to the target environment. As an end-user, you will only need to be concerned with writing Playbooks in YAML.

he modules for the E-Series platform have been part of the official Ansible project for a few months. The ONTAP and Solid Fire modules are now part of the Ansible project as well.

Google Cloud

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provides scalable infrastructure and solutions to meet the needs of your organization. GCP offers on-demand instances, software-defined networking, storage and databases, and big data solutions — and they’re all available at your fingertips. GCP enables your applications to take advantage of Google’s significant infrastructure, utilizing their best-of-breed technology and innovation, and only pay for what you need when you need it .Ansible, by Red Hat, is a simple automation language that can perfectly describe an IT application infrastructure on GCP including virtual machines, disks, network load-balancers, firewall rules and more.

The Ansible/GCP integration gives you everything you need to manage your IT infrastructure. From provisioning instances and auto scaling, custom networks and load balancing, and even managing DNS and cloud storage, it’s all provided. They used Ansible to update satellites in orbit along with other critical infrastructure that serve imagery to interested viewers around the globe by applying a camera-settings hotfix to a satellite orbiting Earth by spinning up a Google Compute Engine instance, testing the latest satellite image build and pushing the settings to the satellite.

Testing/Continuous Integration

  • Use Ansible to launch instances in any GCP Zone, configure networking setups to accurately simulate real-world scenarios.
  • Deploy your code how you want: private disk images, startup scripts pointing to your own package repository and more — all within your native Ansible Playbooks.

The Ansible open source community is a vibrant, fast-moving place that strives to get things done. Google thrives in open source, but also understands the reliability needs of its users to safely run their infrastructure. Google Engineering actively builds Ansible modules, contributes code and documentation, and helps users deliver their solutions with GCP.

ASPIRENXT

Aspire Nxt was born in 2010 to help organizations with their IT requirements. Over the years, we have lived up to our promise and at the same time grown into an organization that we are proud of. Our mission, today, is to deliver the best in the business by curating a culture of mutual success.

AspireNXT designs centralized patching system for multi cloud environment using Ansible

One of our recent clients was looking for a centralized management system for Linux and Windows servers that would allow them to update the servers remotely, push selective updates, and reboot as per their convenience.

Solution

On evaluation our team realized that the first, and probably the biggest challenge, was the issue faced by the client while upgrading and patching their existing servers. The existing system was build using a multi-cloud Environment (AWS, Google Cloud and Azure) with a mix of Windows and Linux operation systems. For each update or patch, the client would login to each server individually and run and install selective updates only post that the server would reboot automatically.

To combat this, the team at AspireNxt suggested the use of Ansible. Ansible is an open source software that automates provisioning, configuration management, and application deployment. It also connects via SSH, remote PowerShell, WinRM or via other remote API’s. Using Ansible would allow the client to automate their patching. We deployed an Ansible server for them on their AWS Cloud environment, which then connected via SSH, or Windows Remote Management Service to all the servers that required patch management.

Finally we leveraged the YAML files (or Ansible Playbooks) on the Ansible server to run the following tasks –
1. Check for available updates.
2. Fetch the list of updates from remote servers to Ansible Server in a file
3. View the updated list and decide on the updates necessary.
4. Pass the package name (or KB number) to a playbook that needs to be updated remotely.
5. Ask for a reboot and disable auto reboot.

CISCO

As customers embrace the DevOps model to accelerate application deployment and achieve higher efficiency in operating their data centers, the infrastructure needs to change and respond faster than ever to business needs. In many customer IT environments, network operations still remain entrenched in error-prone manual processes. Many of the earlier generation folks that were attracted to network operations didn’t want to be programmers, rather they were more interested in implementing and maintaining network policies using CLI and monolithic means on proprietary platforms. In recent times, best-practices in Server-side and DevOps practices have started influencing the networking world with Cloud Administrators forced to support both the compute and network resources. However, in many cases, entirely moving away from traditional network operations may not be possible, just as a 100% DevOps strategy may not be a good fit. The best strategy: The most with the least amount of change or energy. Automation is the natural solution here — it can make the most unproductive and repetitive tasks ideal candidates for automation.

Red Hat Ansible has fast emerged as one of the most popular platforms to automate these day-to-day manual tasks and bring unprecedented cost savings and operational efficiency. Cisco ACI’s Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) supports a robust and open API that Ansible can seamlessly leverage. Ansible is open source, works with many different operating systems that run on Cisco Networking platforms (ACI, IOS, NX-OS, IOS-XR), and supports the range of ACI offerings. Together, Cisco ACI and Ansible provide a perfect combination enabling customers to embrace the DevOps model and accelerate ACI Deployment, Monitoring, day-to-day management, and more.

Solution

Ansible is the only solution in the market today to address network automation challenges, with its unified configuration, provisioning and application deployment, and creating favorable business outcomes like accelerated DevOps and a simplified IT environment.

Ansible brings lots of synergies to an ACI environment with its simple automation language, powerful features such as app-deployment, configuration. management and workflow orchestration and above all an agentless architecture that makes the execution environment predictable and secure.

In the latest Ansible release (2.9), there are over 100 ACI and Multisite modules in Ansible core. Modules for specific objects like, Tenant and Application Profiles as well as a module for interacting directly with the ACI REST API. This means that a broad set of ACI functionality is available as soon as you install Ansible. After installing Ansible only two things are required to start automating an ACI Network Fabric. First, an Ansible playbook, which is a set of automation instructions and two, the inventory file which lists the devices to be automated in this case an APIC. The playbooks are written in YAML to define the tasks to execute against an ACI fabric. Here is an ACI playbook sample that configures a Tenant on an APIC.

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