How Would You Describe Ansible For A Developer Who Has Always Built Servers Or Environments Manually?

By Sam

Ansible is a name you've likely heard more recently if you work in IT. According to CIO, the DevOps "darling" also notes that Ansible "came from nowhere to become the No. 1 choice for software automation." Over 1,000 businesses are listed on StackShare as Ansible users. Evernote, Intel, Hootsuite, and Ansib1 are a few of these. Le blog claims that Apple and NASA have also adopted it. What is Ansible, and why did it grow so quickly in popularity? What we shall talk about is this. We'll also go through how to utilize Ansible with Docker and why Ansible and Docker work so well together. This will help you understand the strength and adaptability of Ansible/Docker. Let's start by examining the possibilities.

Ansible can be described as "simple IT Automation." Ansible is an agentless tool that doesn't require you to install any software on the systems it controls. Ansible allows you to install software, set up features and settings, and all other things system administrators need. The "operations" part of the team.

Imagine how you would feel if you could push a button to install all the necessary software and keep your systems up to date. Wonderful, isn't it?

This vision is becoming a reality thanks to DevOps engineers in the contemporary IT sector. IT management is streamlined and made easier by tools like Ansible. Errors and manual entry by people are decreased with this instrument.

What is Ansible?

Ansible, a popular IT automation engine, automates repetitive and complex tasks such as configuration management, cloud provisioning, and software deployment.

Multiple IT infrastructures are modelled into a single deployment using Ansible. Custom security architecture or agents are not necessary with Ansible. Ansible employs YAML, a deployment language that is similar to plain English. "YAML ain't Markup Language" is what it stands for.

Ansible is simple to use. It distributes "Ansible modules," brief programs, to your nodes. When the modules are ready, it can deploy them, connect to the SSH agent to have them run, and then take them down. Without any servers, daemons, or databases, these modules can be installed wherever you like on the machines. You'll need to use a text editor or any terminal tool to manage modifications to the content. There are over 750 modules in Ansible.

Ansible supports passwords. However, you can use SSH keys and agents to work with Ansible. Any user account can be created, but the root user must be present. A module called "authorized_key" is used to configure which machines have access to which hosts. 

The Ansible may be used to manage inventories and add machines. Additionally, it may use list and variable data from Rackspace, EC2, Openstack, and Openstack.

You can write your Code in Ruby, Python, Bash, and Bash using Ansible. It gives back JSON. You can use Ansible to create your modules, APIs, and plugins.

A powerful and straightforward automation language called a playbook can manage several infrastructures simultaneously. This is possible with Ansible.

We have now seen Ansible's fundamentals. Let's learn more about Ansible's numerous advantages.

Ansible's Benefits

  • Free - Ansible is an open-source tool.

  • It is very easy to set up and use. No special programming skills are required to use Ansible's playbooks (more about playbooks later).

  • Powerful - Ansible allows you to model complex IT workflows.

  • Flexible - You can manage the entire environment, no matter where it is deployed. It can be customized to meet your specific needs.

  • Agentless - You don't have to install additional software or firewall ports to automate client systems. A separate management structure is not required.

  • Efficient - You don't have to install additional software. This means that there is more space for your application resources.

Let's now look at the capabilities and features of Ansible as we understand what Ansible is.

Amazing Features

Configuration Management

Ansible's configuration management system was created to be straightforward, dependable, and consistent. If you are an IT professional already, getting started is simple. Ansible setups can be thought of as basic infrastructure data. Both humans and machines can read them effortlessly. You only need a password or an SSH key to manage systems (Secure Socket Shell is a network protocol). Configuration management can be made simple by using Ansible in the following ways: Note down all IP addresses, commonly known as remote hosts, and then create an Ansible playbook to install a new version of a specific software package on all computers within your firm. Your control computer will be used to execute the playbook.

Application deployment

Ansible allows you to quickly and easily create multitiered apps. Ansible doesn't require you to write custom code to automate your systems. Instead, you can list the tasks that need to be completed by creating a playbook. Ansible will then figure out how to get them to the desired state. You can manually configure some applications on each machine. Ansible uses SSH (SSH to communicate with remote hosts) to run playbooks and execute all commands.


As the name suggests, orchestration entails integrating several components into an efficient overall function. It is comparable to how a music conductor combines the individual instrument sounds to create a seamless musical composition. When you deploy an application, you must manage the storage, databases, networks, and storage in addition to the back-end and front-end services. Making sure that chores are completed in the proper order is also crucial. By utilizing automated workflows, provisioning, and other tools, Ansible makes it simple to coordinate processes. You can orchestrate the same infrastructure wherever you want because Ansible playbooks are portable.

Security and Compliance

Sitewide security policies can be implemented with automated processes, such as locking down users or firewall rules. All best remote Coders will be automatically updated with the security details if you run the playbook and configure the security details. You can manually monitor each machine for security compliance. Ansible doesn't allow you to retrieve admins' passwords and user IDs in plain text. This adds security.

Cloud Provisioning 

The first step in automating the life cycle of your application is to provide and manage your infrastructure. You can set up bare-metal servers, virtual hosts, network devices, and cloud platforms with Ansible.

Let's go on to discuss Ansible architecture.

Ansible Architecture

Let's now talk about the components that make up Ansible.


Small programs that Ansible pushes to all nodes and remote hosts are known as modules. The modules are run through playbooks. They are in charge of files, services, and packages. Ansible executes the modules needed for updating or completing any other task and then deletes them. More than 450 modules are available through Ansible to assist with daily activities.


As you may already know from other platforms and tools, Plugins are additional pieces of Code that enhance functionality. You can also create your plugins. Ansible includes a few pre-made plugins. There are three types of plugins: Action, cache, and callback.


Ansible lists all machines (control machines and nodes) in one straightforward file. Their servers, databases, and IP addresses are also included. Once you've registered the inventory, you can add variables to any host. An easy text file is used to accomplish this. Additionally, you can get a checklist straight from Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).


You can think of Ansible playbooks as how-to guides for particular activities. These files were created using the human-readable data serialization format called YAML (YAML Ain't Markup Language). The playbooks are the most used feature of Ansible. They quickly describe tasks without requiring the user to recall or be familiar with any particular syntax. They can organize any manually ordered task's steps, execute them simultaneously or sequentially, and construct configurations in addition to manually ordering studies.

There are one or more plays in every playbook. A play's function is assigning hosts, symbolized by duties and roles.


Many APIs (application programming interfacings) allow you to extend Ansible's connection types (not just SSH for Transport), callbacks, and more.

We've made it this far to understand Ansible. Let us now look at the Ansible tower.

What is Ansible Tower?

Red Hat's web-based, a for-profit management tool for Ansible, Ansible Tower, is now accessible. Ansible Tower's user interface, which makes it simple to manage settings and deployments, is one of its most noticeable features. The new UI vastly improves upon the old one. The most crucial elements of Ansible are present in Ansible Tower. A pictorial representation is simpler to comprehend than a text-based one. The first ten nodes are free.

Let's learn more about Ansible and the many benefits it offers.

The heart of Ansible is the Ansible Orchestration engine.

  • It includes an Inventory table, API, and Plugins. Modules are used to manage, automate and orchestrate the process.

  • It can access the Playbook software, public/private clouds, configuration management databases, and inputs from the Playbook software to perform the networking, manage the servers or hosts, manage security, and manage operating systems.

Ansible with Docker: Advantages

Ansible is a fantastic tool for operationalizing the creation and deployment of containers while automating Docker. Integrating container-tooling functionality into an IT system could be challenging if you are a conventional IT manager. Manual procedures are not necessary, thanks to Ansible. Ansible with Docker has four key benefits:


Ansible playbooks are easily portable and usable anywhere you go because they can be taken around. You might save time and effort by doing this. You can only recreate the application in a Docker container if you use a Dockerfile to create the container. Containers are made using an Ansible playbook. The application can then be duplicated in Docker or the cloud.


You will still need to track vulnerabilities and monitor code even if containers are created. You can track who deployed which containers and what is in each container using Ansible with Docker. Additionally, you know you can rebuild any containers if necessary.

Management of entire environments

You can already manage Docker containers with Ansible. Even in complex situations, you can keep the environment where all containers are located in good shape. Because containerized applications commonly need to "speak" to noncontainerized applications, Ansible can simultaneously monitor both containers and noncontainerized applications, which is essential.

Similar Syntax

As indicated, YAML files were utilized by Ansible to generate its playbooks. Docker uses scripts other than YAML. However, they are quite similar and almost equally effective.

To help you grasp Ansible better, we'll demonstrate how it can integrate with Docker.

How to use Ansible with Docker 

Let's start by discussing Docker. An open-source Linux platform called Docker automates software distribution inside software containers. Code and all of its dependencies are contained in a container. As a result, an application can operate trustworthily across various computing environments.

Now let's examine Ansible and Docker. Ansible may be used to build and deploy Docker containers and automate Docker. Installing Docker SDK for Python is a prerequisite. Review the Ansible after installing the necessary tools, and then deploy using the blue-green technique. Remember to test! It would help if you did integration and stress tests to ensure your application functions properly. Make sure the container you are using is the most recent version available.

Here are the procedures to get Ansible & Docker operating together after the application has passed all tests and the setup has been set up for the new app. Ensure that Vagrant and Git are installed. Next, make a Vagrant File with an Ubuntu virtual machine inside it. Run your Ansible playbook. After that, everything will be installed and configured. Then, you can release your application. Keep in mind that not all components can be downloaded simultaneously, which could lengthen the deployment process.

Now that we have a solid understanding of Ansible, let's manage Docker containers with Ansible modules.

Management of Docker Containers using Ansible Modules

Ansible offers several modules that allow you to manage Docker. These include docker_image and docker_container. Docker_image can be used to build, load, or remove images, tag them, and archive them. Docker_container allows you to create, delete, start, stop, or update containers. Docker_service is a tool that will enable you to start, stop, and scale services. Ansible and Docker are constantly updated. Check out the Ansible guide for working with Docker to see the most current list of modules, their functions, and system requirements.

How Ansible can help developers

Ansible is an important tool for developers. Hiring a Ansible Developers allows you to easily set up and maintain machines using what Ansible calls "playbooks." These are simple, declarative statements that can be stored in source control. This example is taken from the Ansible Getting Started Page. You'll quickly see what it does.

Four reasons Ansible is important for developers are:

  1. It can be used to create small environments.

  2. It can be used to verify that the prerequisites have been met.

  3. You can help create a DevOps culture in your workplace.

  4. It is possible to use it yourself.

1: Ansible can be used to create small environments

Over the many years that my colleagues and I have developed enterprise software, we have had the opportunity to build tiny networks. These networks were used to experiment with new methods, set up various software packages, and experiment with other programs.

It's excellent to have Ansible available to create environments rapidly. It is frequently advantageous to assemble things, test them, disassemble everything, and start over. Nothing is more frustrating than attempting to deploy a solution to fail because an artefact was missing. Ansible makes it simple to always start from scratch.

The ability to restart each time is a great perk for Ansible developers. as long as it's really simple—gratitude to Ansible.

2: Ansible can be used to verify that the prerequisites have been met

Sometimes, breaking runtimes or libraries can cause problems (Python, anyone? Your application can be broken. Because Ansible playbooks can be easily understood and changed--it's just YAML, after all--you can force the correct version of any library or runtime software. This alleviates operations of this burden which is perfect for my next point.

3: You can help create a DevOps culture in your workplace

DevOps describes a culture and predetermined practices. It is not a spreadsheet or other piece of installed software. To automate everything, Dedicated Ansible Developers and operations are collaborating. Infrastructure as Code is the base. DevOps is employing version control, trusting one another, and granting developers and operations access to the Code. You can run an Ansible playbook whenever you want by downloading it. That is a lot. It combines system administration with programming.

You can use Ansible yourself.

Consider having to wipe it clean and restart your laptop while it is in use. Imagine being able to clean your computer and then use the tool to set up a playbook you downloaded from a network disc (or GitHub, or a thumb drive, or whatever you want to name it).

With Ansible, you can perform this procedure repeatedly and get the same outcomes each time. Your computer can be rebuilt whenever you want, without needing to install anything or remember to run a command line script.

As a developer, this is a fantastic approach to begin mastering Ansible.

Are You Using Ansible?

Ansible can be a powerful tool. Ansible's versatility, features, capabilities, and potential for future automation tasks make it a promising tool. Ansible is a great tool for DevOps engineers looking to automate their IT tasks quickly and easily.

Why use Ansible for DevOps?

We have worked with all sizes of organizations. Our team has seen Ansible architecture work at different scales. Here are some customer use cases illustrating Ansible's versatility as an orchestration provider.

Small Appliance ISV

Example: A software company wants people to be able to install their appliance app on a tiny piece of hardware, such as an Intel NUC.

An inflexible version of the appliance software could be distributed, forcing users to choose a specific OS. You could also distribute Ansible Playbook to end users so they can run it against their computers.

This would allow the user to prepare any major operating system for their product. It would also enable users to BYO OS and maintain the OS according to their internal standards.

VMWare Farm Mid-Size on-Prem

Example: To run local intranet applications, a company has an on-premises VMWare installation.

A few thousand virtual machines have been set up. They must be set up for various commercial purposes. You will need to install particular OSes, environments, and software requirements on new devices.

SSH can execute Ansible playbooks on target VMs using Ansible servers. These playbooks can impose dependencies, configuration, etc. A central inventory may be quickly updated to include new and existing supplies.

Large On-Prem Enterprise

Example: A large enterprise built a cloud and infrastructure on-prem for public and private use.

This includes:

  • Hundreds of thousands of VMs, containers, bare-metal assets, software applications, and services.

  • Hundreds of new assets are added/decommissioned/changed daily.

  • The company has many ops and infrastructure teams, so the responsibility is also shared with outsourced resources.

Ansible AWX can be used to manage multiple Ansible servers centrally. AWX/Tower allows many playbooks to be stored, modified, deployed, and managed. This can be done using role-based access control, as well as other semantics that are necessary for larger organizations.

What makes Ansible so important 

Automation is required for modernization and digital transformation, and it is both beneficial and essential. We need a new management system to improve the IT infrastructure's stability, speed, and scale.

The most effective instrument we have for product improvement is technology. Before, doing this required a lot of coordination and hard labour. Thousands of enterprises utilize the robust IT automation engine Ansible today to simplify their IT infrastructures and accelerate DevOps.

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Working with containers and automating all the work using Ansible and Docker is a terrific method to streamline workflows. It is simple to comprehend why the Ansible-Docker combination is so popular. Your company's pay scale will also benefit from learning Ansible and Docker. Ansible-skilled engineers in the US may expect to earn an annual income of $110,000, with some earning considerably more. Ansible is the most lucrative DevOps expertise, according to Dice.

The main application of Ansible is as a DevOps tool. It has a lot of capabilities that are intricate, time-consuming, repetitive, and prone to error. Learning Ansible online is a good alternative. There are numerous possibilities for technical education. You can also choose DevOps Training to learn more about Ansible.

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