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Prerna_Mohta
Explorer
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This blog post which describes what is Red Hat Ansible, why you need it and what the journey ahead looks like. This blog will help you if you have no prior idea about Ansible:)!

What is Red Hat Ansible?


Ansible is a suite of software tools that enables infrastructure as code. It is open-source and the suite includes software provisioning, configuration management, and application deployment functionality. It can automate complex tasks on multiple systems, from a single system. You do not need to install Ansible on the managed systems. 

It uses simple YAML syntax to describe a desired configuration, offers secure access to remote systems and integrates with other solutions. It can configure complex environments by simply defining a few variables and this makes it very easy to use. It can also deploy software and orchestrate more complex IT workflows such as continuous deployments or zero downtime rolling updates.

Why do you need Red Hat Ansible?


Ansible’s main goals are simplicity and ease-of-use. It has a strong focus on:

  • security and reliability

  • featuring a minimum of moving parts 

  • using OpenSSH for transport 

  • a language that is designed around auditability by humans – even those not familiar with the program


Ansible is appropriate for managing all environments like:

  • small setups with a handful of instances

  • enterprise environments with many thousands of instances.


Ansible provides simple IT automation. IT teams are now free for more strategic work as Ansible ends repetitive tasks.

Deploying SAP software requires you to have SAP admin skills. Powerful tooling allows you to handle complex deployment scenarios encapsulating this SAP admin skill level in ease-of-use automation workflows. 

You do not need to program extensive shell scripts because there are already developed open source packages called Ansible Roles. These roles can be reused from the Ansible Galaxy community. Red Hat Ansible configuration files called playbooks contain instructions for the Red Hat Ansible Engine. They are written in YAML like key-value pairs hence, you do not need to learn a new programming language. The configuration of required prerequisites and specific configurations for SAP S/4HANA and SAP HANA has been implemented and published by the Red Hat Enterprise Linux community. Hence, you don't need to plan the whole installation process. Instead, you can just provide the right parameters and the preconfigured system roles will take care of the installation.

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is a subscription product built on the foundations of Ansible with numerous enterprise features. It consolidates a lot of upstream projects into a single integrated, simplified product. Each product component also has a specific purpose with a well-defined scope. 

Ansible Automation Platform helps teams create automation playbooks. With every newly published playbook the community invites new team members to get involved. This automates the work they know best on a platform other teams are already using.

To summarize, some of the benefits of using Red Hat Ansible are as follows:

  • Ansible is very simple to set up and use

  • You do not need special coding skills to use Ansible Automation Playbook

  • You can model highly complex IT workflows

  • You can orchestrate entire application environment no matter where it is deployed

  • Ansible resource modules are idempotent and hence, you can rerun it multiple times and it will only install missing sections or update outdated sections


The Journey Ahead




Ansible Automation Platform provides a consistent user experience across teams - no matter what or where they’re automating. An admin may use the platform to automate tasks inside a public cloud while an engineer automates physical servers, switches, routers, and load balancers. Below are some of the latest features:



  • Red Hat Ansible supports additional configurations and also adds operational tasks as per the use case.

  • The new automation mesh "topology view" feature, which offers an entirely new way to view where automation is running so you can optimize accordingly.

  • Several new features in Technology Preview, including:

    • A private, on-premise version of the automation services catalog

    • Content Collection signing - which helps ensure that your automation is certified and compliant

    • Updated developer tooling, including ansible-lint (now bundled as an Ansible Automation Platform content tool, automation content navigator (ansible-navigator) 2.0, and a new Visual Studio Code (VS Code) extension




Conclusion


I hope that this blog helps you understand about Red Hat Ansible and its offerings. Please feel free to like, share and comment. I would love to blog on other relevant topics so kindly let me know in the comments section what you would like to read next :)! 

Thank you Ricardo Garcia Cavero, Markus Moster and Bernd Finger for all your help and support :)!
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