Ansible Tower 3.6 introduces approval nodes

Red Hat has quietly pushed out version 3.6 of Ansible Tower, offering users customisable notifications, workflow pauses, and better integration with GitHub and GitLab.

Ansible Tower can be thought of as a web-based user interface for Ansible, which lets customers manage all sorts of IT automation tasks. It comes with a REST API for integration with other services and is also part of the Ansible Automation Platform the company announced earlier this year. The latter hit general availability a good two weeks ago. But since this came and went without the usual stir, a quick glance at the new Tower version should still be alright.

Amongst other things, Ansible Tower 3.6 lets customers add pauses for approvals into their workflows. This is meant to facilitate the inclusion of manual verification or approval steps into the automated process. If a pause has been added, the system will simply wait for the necessary go-ahead before continuing with the next predefined procedure.

To make sure there’s always enough capacity to execute those workflows, Tower has also been fitted with an experimental capability to use OpenShift clusters. With it, automation jobs will supposedly be able to spin pods up to run the automation task in and down again once they have finished.

Teams that want to use events happening in GitHub or GitLab to trigger workflows (such as deployment pipelines) or jobs should have an easier time now, thanks to a newly added webhooks integration. The Ansible team also put some work into notifications and alerts, which can now be customised with details certain teams might need. They also allow the inclusion of parameters from a job run.

Customers who have been working with v1 of the Tower API will have to switch to v2 with this release, since the former has been removed. Same goes for the API endpoints job template credential field and the corresponding credential field on workflow job template nodes. Apart from that it might be good to know that the tower-cli tool has been replaced by a new awx command-line one, which might need some getting used to.

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