If you are from an IT background, you might have faced some situations where you had to perform certain tasks again and again. This seems very painful, doesn’t it?
No one likes repetitive tasks. Moreover, doing the same task twice or thrice was somehow not so challenging, but performing it again and again 100 times was a tough challenge. And this was the time when Automation tools like Ansible were not introduced to the industry.
With the arrival of Ansible, things became effortless. The entire Technological Era reshaped and Ansible played a great role.
Some people might be wondering what is this Ansible. Let us try to find out the same.
What is Ansible?
Ansible is an automation tool, it is an opensource product as well, owned by none other than, THE REDHAT. We use Ansible for IT tasks such as application deployment, configuration management, provisioning, infrastructure orchestration, and many others.
No matter wherever you go, Automation is one of the most crucial elements of every other industry. We want to reduce the manual process as much as possible, it will save a lot of time.
There are multiple tools that work in a similar way, then WHY ANSIBLE? I know you are also thinking the same.
Let me tell you that Ansible has numerous benefits over all those configuration management and automation tools. The most highlighted point is: ANSIBLE IS AGENTLESS. Yes, it does not require any kind of agent to be installed on the targets, hence, saving a lot of efforts.
Ansible is known for its intelligence (it works on an Idempotence nature).
Ansible also works as an abstraction layer, you do not have to remember everything or try to know what is happening behind the scene. Ansible will hide everything, all you need to do is to know how to contact Ansible and ask it to do stuff for you. (Fun Fact: It never denies if you ask properly😂)
Jokes apart, these were some of the advantages of Ansible over other similar tools.
Now, let me take you towards a case study of a well-known firm that adapted itself to use Ansible.
Did Ansible benefit them? You will get to know it till the end of this blog. Keep Reading! 😊
Case Study: HootSuite Media
Let me tell you something about this organization:
HootSuite is a social media management system for businesses and
organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social
networks from one secure, web-based dashboard. More than 75% of Fortune
1000 companies now use HootSuite for social media management, social
marketing, social customer service, and social selling. Customers include
PepsiCo, Virgin, FOX, Sony Music, and WWF.
What was the business challenge faces by HootSuite?
They said that their infrastructure was not scripted, immutable, or repeatable. Rebuilding a server was really a painful task to do, they had to depend upon the documentation and remember how things work.
Lack of repeatability made it difficult for their infrastructure to be automated and deployed in no time.
How are they using Ansible now?
Let us hear what they have to say about this:
We mostly use Ansible core at this time. We currently are applying Ansible
to all of our servers, so we can build any server from scratch and repeat
this as many times as we want to. Our future plan is to use Ansible for app
deployment, and maybe even ad hoc production server management.
They said that before Ansible, they used some other similar tool as well but didn’t like it. When asked, why didn’t Hootsuite didn’t like that tool, here is what they had to say:
it needs agents, and we don’t like agents; and
we favour immutability over snowflake factory for infrastructure management.
When they were asked whether they had enough experience that they can state the quantitative and qualitative results of Ansible, this is what they said:
“ 1) As far as I remember we were burned at least 3 times by not being able to
rebuild the server exactly the way it was (sometimes Amazon just terminated
an instance without us knowing). There was one time we had to spend over
a month of an engineer’s time to rebuild a server that had lived for 2 years
with random config changes by ops engineers along the way, with limited
documentation. By Ansiblizing all of our servers, incidents like this will be
2) Increase our bus factor from 1 to infinite! Before only 1 or 2 people know
how a server was built from the beginning. With Ansible, storing playbooks in
source control gives everyone the ability to rebuild the server at any time.”
“ 1) Ops and devs both feel safer, literally. Before they were always worried
about ‘what if the server dies’. They aren’t worried about this anymore after
all servers are properly ‘Ansiblized’
2) With the help of Vagrant we can test server builds locally as many times as
we want until it works, instead of testing it on EC2 cloud which is remote and
3) Ansible makes engineers more productive because lots of system libraries
and packages are shared among different server types, and as we take
advantage of Ansible’s ‘shared’ Playbook they don’t have to repeat the same
lib/package install over and over again. ”
When asked for overall feedback, they said that at the beginning they didn’t even know that Ansible can be used for orchestration as well, but they found it real quick and loved all the aspects of Ansible.
Ansible beats competitors right there
So, this was one of the case studies where Ansible played a very vital role and helped the organization to adopt automation.
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