Infrastructure Automation Made Easier with Ansible

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Infrastructure Automation Made Easier with Ansible

DevOps

Infrastructure Automation Made Easier with Ansible

September 8, 2021

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Key Highlights

  • Redhat’s Ansible Automation Platform is designed to help you automate the process of deploying apps, cloud provisioning, managing systems and reducing complexity
  • It is designed for collaboration and integration, a key requirement to reduce complexity of IT infrastructure
  • Ansible can enable private cloud automation, virtualization automation, container automation, IT service management and infrastructure integrations
  • At Indium, we can help our enterprise customers reduce complexity and increase efficiency of infrastructure ops by taking full advantage of the Ansible Automation Platform

A Gartner report states that by the end of 2023, a majority of the staff in more than 90% of infrastructure and operations (I&O) organizations will be working remotely. This trend did not start with Covid-19, though it certainly played a role in accelerating it. The shift started thanks to enterprises wanting to move to the cloud and edge computing, both of which have changed the nature of infrastructure deployed in organizations.

As a result of remote working, businesses realize the need for ‘anywhere operations’ and are looking for flexibility, with a focus on integration. It has also pushed for more automation, with zero- or minimal-touch maintenance.

While the scale and complexity of infrastructure are ever-increasing, research indicates that the size of IT infrastructure teams is shrinking. This often leads to delayed updates and patching. It can also result in increased maintenance costs and make it difficult to meet strict service-level agreements (SLAs).

Automation streamlines the process of managing repetitive tasks — such as provisioning, configuring, deploying, and decommissioning – making them a lot simpler and consistent. It also enables the scaling up of infrastructure without losing control and also offers full visibility into your infrastructure.

Ansible to Automate Infrastructure Management

A radically simple IT automation engine is Ansible that enables the automation of common tasks such as:

Ansible has been designed for multi-tier deployments and can facilitate modeling your IT infrastructure by describing the inter-relationship between the systems instead of managing each one at a time. It was started to automate Linux but today has evolved to enable automating private clouds (physical and virtual endpoints) and containerized workloads.

It is easy to use as it does not require agents or additional custom security infrastructure. The automation jobs can be described in a language YAML, in the form of Ansible Playbooks, which is akin to plain English and therefore very easy to create.

Resource models, called Ansible modules, can be created by connecting the nodes and executing them over SSH by default. They can be written in any language such as Ruby, Python, or bash scripts that can return JSON.

Once the task is completed, it can be removed. The modules do not need a server, daemon, or database for storing and can be on any machine, and there are no servers, daemons, or databases required. To plug in the inventory to any data source, a program that can communicate with that data source and returns JSON can be written.

For security, passwords can be used but SSH keys with ssh-agent are more effective. Kerberos is another option. It does not require root logins. After logging in as any user, you can su or sudo to any user. The authorized_key provides access control to hosts based on need. Kerberos or identity management systems also can be used for this purpose.

You can also create your own list of managed machine groups and store them in INI files. As adding new machines does not require an additional SSL signing server, NTP or DNS issues do not arise.

Ansible’s simple approach to the orchestration of multiple slices of the infrastructure topology involves Playbooks that enable detailed control over several machines simultaneously. 

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It can be used for:

  • Virtualization Automation
  • Container Automation
  • IT Service Management

Benefits of Automation

By automating infrastructure management, businesses can:

  • Experience a consistent and stable environment
  • Improve standardization.
  • Reduce downtime and severity of incidents
  • Utilize resources more effectively

Some of the common tasks that can be automated using Ansible include:

  • Checking server uptime, getting status reports in a human-readable format
  • Efficiently schedule additional cron jobs for infrastructure and application requirements
  • Gather system activity reports (sars) and server stats easily and quickly when conducting routine troubleshooting
  • Periodic collection of server logs
  • Easily install or uninstall software and packages

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Automation with Indium

Indium Software, an infrastructure management expert with more than 20 years of experience in various cutting-edge technologies, can help you with automating your infrastructure management using Ansible. Our experienced Ansible experts can study your infrastructure requirement and design the right solution to make automation effective and improve the management of your distributed systems.

From Data Engineering to Specialized Solutions, the Indium range of services covers all aspects of infrastructure management, right from design, implementation, maintenance to automation. Our cross-domain experience combined with technical expertise equips our team to analyze the existing systems used by our customers and identify the gaps. This enables us to recommend the right solution to meet unique customer needs and design the solution using the tools best suited to the organization to achieve the desired outcomes.

If you are finding your infrastructure expanding but the IT team unable to keep pace to meet the ever-changing needs of the organization, contact us now. We can help you automate your infrastructure management to free your resources for other critical tasks.