How you can automate cloud computing tasks with Ansible
Cloud automation doesn't need to be complex. With Ansible, you can easily set up secure cloud automation workflows with a handful of YAML files.
Aug 17, 2023 • 4 Minute Read
- IT Ops
Who doesn’t love the idea of cloud automation? In concept, it means you can automate all those routine tasks like scaling resources, configuring load balancers, or creating virtual machines (sort of like having a self-driving car). In practice, though, it can feel prohibitively complex.
At least, that’s if you don’t know about Ansible. Ansible can help you simplify cloud automation, and can be a real asset in your cloud management toolkit. In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages of using Ansible on the cloud.
What is Ansible?
Ansible is an open-source automation platform that can be used for IT tasks like configuration management, application development, cloud provisionment, or pretty much any of your routine daily or weekly tasks. It uses human-readable YAML, and it doesn’t rely on agent software so it's easy to deploy.
Ansible uses OpenSSH for transport, has minimal moving parts and is easy to set up. Whether you're a developer seeking efficiency or an operations expert in need of automation, Ansible is a great tool in your arsenal, particularly for optimizing cloud infrastructure management.
How Does Ansible Work?
Imagine two types of nodes: your control nodes (that’s your computer running Ansible) and the managed nodes (whatever you’re configuring, like a client or server). Ansible connects these nodes and sends a small program called an Ansible module to that node. It executes it via SSH, then removes them afterward.
In short, it’s a declarative approach to automation. You define the desired state of your infrastructure, and Ansible orchestrates the necessary actions to achieve that state.
Ansible Playbooks: Your automation instructions
Ansible Playbooks are where the real magic happens. While modules are the means of completing a task, playbooks are the way it actually executes. These YAML files hold the power to automate tasks and manage configurations in the cloud. Picture a playbook as your personal assistant, executing a series of steps, known as tasks, on remote nodes.
- name: Install and configure web server hosts: webserver become: true tasks: - name: Install Apache web server yum: name: httpd state: present
6 major advantages of Ansible in cloud automation
1. Playbooks simplify orchestration of cloud infrastructure
By using Ansible Playbooks, you can easily write a set of instructions in these YAML files to set up your cloud automation workflows, or source one from someone else. All of this saves you time and effort.
2. Ansible modules are great for cloud integration
Ansible modules enable seamless integration with popular cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and GCP. With Ansible modules, you gain the ability to interact with cloud services, provision resources, manage configurations, and automate workflows effortlessly. Whether you're scaling resources, configuring load balancers, or creating VMs, Ansible has the perfect module to simplify and streamline these tasks.
3. Dynamic Inventory Management
Managing a dynamic inventory of cloud resources can be challenging, but not with Ansible. With dynamic inventory management, Ansible provides scripts that fetch real-time information from cloud providers, automatically updating your inventory. This ensures that your playbooks always operate on the correct set of resources, granting you the scalability and adaptability required in cloud environments.
4. Infrastructure as Code
Ansible embraces the philosophy of Infrastructure as Code (IaC). This approach brings versioning, collaboration, and reproducibility to the forefront, making it easier to track and manage changes over time. Say goodbye to manual configurations and welcome the efficiency and reliability of infrastructure as code.
5. Cost and time savings
Ansible empowers you to save valuable time and resources. By automating cloud infrastructure tasks, Ansible reduces manual effort, minimizes human errors, and accelerates the deployment and configuration of your cloud resources. This translates into significant cost savings and allows your team to focus on innovation and higher-level tasks.
Consistency and reusability become second nature as Ansible allows you to define infrastructure and configuration code as reusable modules and playbooks. With Ansible, you can ensure consistency across environments, reduce errors, and improve maintainability.
Conclusion: Ansible is a great cloud automation tool
Ansible seamlessly adapts to your needs, regardless of the scale of your cloud resources. If you’re thinking about adopting cloud automation (or any other form of automation), I’d definitely suggest checking Ansible out.
Want to dive deeper into Ansible's capabilities and gain hands-on experience? You might want to check out my A Cloud Guru course, "Introduction to Ansible on the Cloud." In it, I’ll guide you through the foundations of Ansible in the cloud. From understanding core concepts to integrating with popular cloud providers and implementing best practices, you'll gain the confidence to navigate the cloud automation landscape.