Introduction to Ansible
Just getting started with Ansible?
If you are just getting started with Ansible this post is for you, I will take you from have zero knowledge of Ansible to having a good basic understanding of the tool and being able to perform your first automation task.
Ansible is an open-source automation tool that allows you to automate configuration management, application deployment, and task automation. It uses a simple, human-readable language to define automation tasks and can be used to manage both on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure.
With Ansible, you can write simple scripts called “playbooks” that define a set of tasks to be executed on one or more servers. These tasks can include things like installing software, configuring services, managing users and groups, and performing other system administration tasks.
Ansible uses an agentless architecture, which means that it does not require any software to be installed on the remote servers it manages. Instead, it connects to them using SSH or WinRM and executes tasks directly on the remote server. This makes it easy to get started with Ansible and to manage servers in a secure and scalable way.
Overall, Ansible is a powerful tool that can help you automate many of the routine tasks associated with managing servers and applications, saving you time and reducing the risk of human error.
The steps to install Ansible can vary depending on the operating system and version you’re using. Here are the general steps to install Ansible on a Linux-based system, in this case Ubuntu
- Update your package manager: Run the following command to update your package manager’s index of available packages:
sudo apt-get update
2. Install Ansible: Run the following command to install Ansible:
sudo apt-get install ansible
3. To check the version of Ansible you have installed
The heart of Ansible is the Ansible Inventory File also known as the Ansible hosts file it lists all the devices that you want to connect to. All devices can be listed singly or separated into groups.
For more information check out my Ansible Inventory post
The latest Ansible documentation can be found here:
Ready to get started?
How do I start learning Ansible?
The easiest way is to install Ansible on a Linux machine and start writing your first playbook.
Is Ansible good for Network Automation?
Yes, Ansible is one of the most popular open source network automation tools in use right now in 2023.
How to get started with Ansible for Network Automation
Check out all my network automation content for Ansible here – Ansible Network Automation
Getting started with Ansible AWX
Is Ansible easy to learn?
The short answer is yes Getting started with Ansible is very easy, most people can be up and running in under an hour. Ansible Playbooks are written in YAML which is human readable. The only thing that can be tricky with Ansible is the formatting of the YAML files as they are very particular with indents.
How long does it take to learn Ansible?
You can be running your first playbook in under an hour, learning the basics of Ansible is very easy. It really depends on what you are going to be using Ansible for and how complex the environment. I would say a few days to get the basics under your belt and then a few weeks to start getting proficient.
Is Ansible good for Beginners?
Yes, Ansible is great for beginners as you can start with very simple tasks and progress to more advanced operations as your skills grow.
Is Ansible worth learning?
Yes! Ansible skills are very much in demand now in the IT industry and Ansible is fast becoming a must have skill for any IT professional as automation is becoming standard practice.
Should I learn Python before Ansible?
Whilst Ansible is written in Python, you do not need to learn Python to be able to run Ansible playbooks. Ansible playbooks are written in YAML and you need some basic Linux skills to install Ansible and get it up and running.
Which is better Ansible or Docker?
Ansible and Docker are two completely different tools. Ansible is an IT orchestration and configuration management tool and Docker is a set of platform as a service products that use OS-level virtualization to deliver software in packages called containers.
Do people still use Ansible?
Yes Ansible is very much in use in 2023 and a very common platform for IT professionals to perform automation tasks with.
What are the weaknesses of Ansible?
If Ansible were to have a weakness it would be that is uses a DSL (Domain Specific Language) to operate. Ansible playbooks are written in YAML which can be very tricky to debug if you encounter issues. Compared to Python which is much more helpful when you encounter issues.
Is Ansible still relevant in 2023?
Very much, Ansible is more popular than it has ever been and Ansible is one of the most popular repos on Github
Should I learn Jenkins or Ansible?
Jenkins and Ansible are two completely different tools. Ansible is an IT orchestration and configuration management tool, whilst Jenkins is an open source automation server. It helps automate the parts of software development related to building, testing, and deploying, facilitating continuous integration and continuous delivery. Both tools work very well together!
What is the disadvantage of Ansible?
If Ansible were to have any disadvantages, it would be that for larger projects it could be slower than say running the same automation task in Python. Also, Ansible Playbooks are written in YAML which when they get bigger can be quite difficult to debug compared to Python.
Ansible Galaxy Tutorial
Can you run Ansible on Windows?
Not directly, you cannot install Ansible on Windows, but you can use the Windows Subsystem for Linux WSL and install a Linux Subsystem Windows and you can install Ansible within that.