Ansible Emerges As the Preferred DevOps Software
Source – Readitquik.com
Ansible, an open-source software automation engine, is the latest in the league of DevOps tools to join well-known player Chef and Puppet. Founded in 2013 as an open source project, Ansible was bought by Red Hat in 2015 for a supposed amount of over $100 million. Since then, it has gained huge popularity with the DevOps community, and currently occupies third place in StackShare’s list of ‘Top Five Most In-Demand Devops Tools.’
Post its acquisition by Red Hat, Ansible benefitted from the enhanced credibility that it got by being in Red Hat’s purview and possession. Prior to this, there had been a perception that its support offerings were not very good, but such misgivings were set aside once Red Hat took ownership. The quality and level of support is a key decision point for enterprises when adopting new software.
Another important reason behind the popularity of Ansible is that developers find it extremely easy to get the tool up and running. Even new DevOps developers find it easy to operate. This finds small companies turning to DevOps too, since it saves the need for a dedicated system administrator or a developer with special experience and capabilities. Ansible is thus a cost-saving and affordable DevOps tool.
However, architecture-wise, Ansible significantly differs from its competitor Chef and Puppet. Ansible works as an agentless software automation package built on the programming language Python, which communicates with its servers through Ansible modules. These models are executed over SSH by default. Therefore, large corporations are seen using Chef and Puppet and Ansible in combination. These “modules” are then executed over SSH by default. Puppet and Chef, on the other hand, uses agents to communicate with servers. Ansible’s agentless approach is beneficial since it can better manage storage arrays and switches. However users outside the server realms find Puppet and Chef’s agent approach better. As a result, we see that networking and storage players are increasingly turning to Ansible as compared to Puppet and Chef.
Of course, Ansible comes with its own drawbacks: it does not deliver the speed that an agent-led DevOps tool like Puppet and Chef offers. A system with daily interactions therefore prefers agent-driven automation software. Also, Ansible is not able to handle high loads very well—when host numbers exceed 100, performance issues may persist. It is no surprise that we see a host of companies using both Puppet and Chef and Ansible in association, to get the best of both worlds.