Why use Ansible for automation and orchestration

Ansible is a widely applicable automation platform with particular strengths in devops and network automation

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At a Glance

If there were an award for “most improved IT orchestration and configuration management tool,” Red Hat’s Ansible would be a top contender. Since its initial development by Michael DeHaan in 2012, it has grown from a simpler way to automate Linux systems than Puppet, to a widely applicable automation platform with particular strengths in devops and network automation.

Ansible’s developers describe Ansible as a “radically simple IT automation platform that makes your applications and systems easier to deploy. Avoid writing scripts or custom code to deploy and update your applications—automate in a language that approaches plain English, using SSH, with no agents to install on remote systems.”

And it’s true. Ansible makes server automation significantly less complicated than competitors. 

Ansible playbooks

Instead of writing scripts for Ansible, you write YAML playbooks, although some would say that’s becoming a distinction without a difference. The subsets of Ruby now used for scripts in some of the competing products are not much more complex than YAML; there’s just a little bit of syntax to learn, that is if you have a developer’s temperament. Ansible’s counterargument is that everyone in the organization should be able to read scripts and understand what they do. Certainly much of Ansible’s initial popularity stemmed from the simplicity of playbooks, along with adoption in the Fedora Linux distro.

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