Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform vs Ansible Tower
Since the release of Ansible Automation Platform the big question everyone is asking is “Ansible Tower vs Ansible Automation Platform” what is the difference?
The easiest way to answer the question is to refer the diagram above.
The main difference between Ansible Tower and Ansible Automation Platform is that Ansible Tower is an older version of the software which has now been replaced by Ansible Automation Controller which in turn is part of the Ansible Automation Platform.
Ansible Automation Controller
Ansible Tower as you know it is now known as Automation Controller, which is a central piece to the Automation Platform which now contains a lot more features and capabilities. You will still do most of your work in the automation controller (Tower as you know it) but have the options now to do so much more.
Ansible Automation Platform 2
Ansible Automation Platform contains so much more than Tower and is an evolution into the capabilities of what Tower can already do. I will describe in more detail the extra functions from the list below. In simple terms you now have Tower but with all these extra features.
- Automation execution environments
- Automation mesh
- Ansible content collections
- Ansible content tools
- Red Hat Insights
- Automation services catalog
- Automation Hub
Automation execution environments
Automation execution environments simplify how automation is executed. Currently if you use Ansible and you run a playbook it will run on your machine with your version of Ansible and your Python libraries etc. If you gave that playbook to someone else their environment might be different and could cause issues with the playbook run.
With automation execution environments the place from where the automation is executed is a ready built container, which enables it to be a defined, consistent portable environment for executing automation.
Following on from the execution environments, automation mesh provides a group of execution nodes which can share the load of job execution. This replaces the need for jump hosts. The nodes are defined in Instance Groups which can span cloud and on-prem environments.
Ansible content collections
Content collections are ready built modules and roles around a specific top area or automation task, normally defined around vendors or a specific task.
There two types of collections, community collections which reside in galaxy.ansible.com which are supported by the community and there are certified collections which now reside within the automation platform and are certified to run with your vendor. A lot of these collections are also maintained by Red Hat.
Ansible content tools
Content tools help you build the execution environments using the environment builder and also the content navigator provides a more predictable experience.
Red Hat Insights
Also bundled with the automation platform are Red Hat Insights which provide a visual dashboard, health and notifications and statistics across teams using Ansible.
Automation services catalog
Also known as the private automation hub, it gives organisations governance and compliance and a single source of truth to collaborate and publish their own automation content. It also gives you the option to delegate resources.
The automation hub is the official location to discover and download supported Ansible Content Collections. It is a secure portal which gives direct access to content collections from Red Hat and certified partners
Another question I am being asked is “Is Ansible Automation Platform Open Source?”
The short answer to that is no, whilst there is AWX which is the upstream version of Tower the automation platform is strictly an enterprise production available only from a Red Hat subscription.
Ansible Automation Platform Pricing
There are 2 options for pricing, Standard and Premium. Pricing is based on the number of nodes that you are managing.
Standard for 8×5 support and Premium for 24×7 support
For more information on pricing please visit https://www.ansible.com/products/pricing
Ansible Automation Platform Documentation
All the documentation can be found here https://docs.ansible.com/automation.html
Frequently asked questions
Is Ansible Automation Platform the same as Ansible Tower?
Ansible Automation Platform is a suite of tools which also includes Ansible Automation Controller. Ansible Tower is now called Automation Controller, which is still the main part of the automation platform which also includes functions like execution environments.
What is Ansible Automation Platform?
Ansible Automation Platform provides an enterprise framework for building and operating IT automation at scale, from hybrid cloud to the edge. Ansible Automation Platform enables users across an organization to create, share, and manage automation—from development and operations to security and network teams.
What is the difference between Ansible and AWX?
Ansible is a standalone tool that is used to run Ansible playbooks but it is only CLI driven and there is no logging or credential management. AWX is the open source / upstream version of Ansible Tower / Automation platform which provides a Rest-API, logging and credential / user management.