Software provisioning, configuration management, and application deployment can all be automated with the help of Ansible, an open-source automation engine used in DevOps. The Ansible Certification course by Simplilearn is designed for beginners and will help you get started with the installation of Ansible 2.0. It will also guide you gradually towards creating your own playbooks, managing an entire cloud region, and configuring network devices across Linux or Windows operating systems.

It’s a human-readable data serialization language and is commonly used for configuration files, but it could be used in many applications where data is being stored. Playbooks are used by Ansible to describe automation jobs, and playbooks use a very simple language called YAML, which is very simple for humans to understand, read, and write. As a result, one of the benefits is that even the individuals who provide support for the IT infrastructure are able to read and comprehend the playbook, as well as debug it if necessary (YAML is in a form that is readable by humans).

Ansible is designed for multi-tier deployment. Ansible does not manage a single system at a time; rather, it models information technology infrastructure by describing how all of your systems are connected to one another. Since Ansible is agentless in every way, it accomplishes its tasks by establishing secure shell connections between your various nodes (by default). However, if you prefer to use a different method for connecting, such as Kerberos, Ansible gives you the option to do so.

After successfully connecting to your nodes, Ansible will send out what are known as “Ansible Modules,” which are small computer programs. The specified modules will be executed on your nodes by Ansible, after which they will be deleted. Ansible uses plain text files to manage and organize your inventory (These are the host’s files). Ansible makes use of a file called “hosts,” in which one can group the hosts and then control the actions in the playbooks that are performed on a particular group.

What does it mean to manage configurations?

In the context of Ansible, configuration management refers to the process of maintaining the configuration of a product’s performance by storing a record of detailed information that describes an enterprise’s hardware and software and then regularly updating that information.

This type of information typically consists of the precise versions of software packages that have been installed, as well as any updates or patches that have been applied to those packages, as well as the locations and network addresses of any hardware devices. For example, if you want to install the newest version of WebLogic or WebSphere server on all of the machines that are currently present in your enterprise, it is not feasible for you to manually go to each machine and update it. Instead, you should look into a solution that automates the process.

Using Ansible playbooks and inventory that are straightforwardly written, you are able to perform a single installation of WebLogic or WebSphere across all of your machines. Creating a playbook to install WebLogic or WebSphere and listing the IP addresses of your nodes in the inventory are the only two things that are required of you. Execute the playbook on your control machine, and it will automatically be installed on all of the nodes in your network.

The operation of Ansible is carried out by connecting to your nodes and sending what is referred to as “Ansible modules” to each of them. After that, Ansible will run these modules (by default, over SSH), and when they are finished, it will delete them. Your module library can be stored on any machine, and there is no requirement for any servers, daemons, or databases to be present.

Ansible is functional

The management node is the controlling node, also known as the managing node, and it is responsible for managing the playbook’s overall execution. It is the node that you are currently operating the installation from. The inventory file contains a list of hosts on which the Ansible modules need to be executed. The management node establishes an SSH connection to the hosts’ machines, where it then installs the product or software and executes the small modules.

It effectively connects to the host machine, executes the instructions, and, if it’s successfully installed, removes the code that was copied on the host machine and which was executed. This is the beauty of Ansible. It removes the modules once those are installed.

The Installation Process

When we talk about deployment, we are primarily referring to two distinct types of machines:

  • The control machine is the machine that serves as the command center for all of the other machines.
  • Machines that are handled or controlled by another machine are referred to as remote machines.

There is the possibility of having multiple remote machines, each of which is managed by a single control machine. Installing Ansible on the machine that serves as the control is necessary for us to manage remote machines.

Control Machine Requirements

Any computer with Python 2 (versions 2.6 or 2.7) or Python 3 (versions 3.5 and higher) installed is capable of running Ansible. Python 3 is the recommended version.

  • Please be aware that Windows does not support control machines.
  • SSH is the remote management protocol of choice for Ansible installations.

Ansible does not add any database. It is possible to start it up and keep it running without the use of any daemons. Ansible does not leave any software installed or running on remote machines while it is managing those machines. As a result, there is no need to worry about the process of upgrading it when transitioning to a new version.

Ansible’s installation on control machines meeting the requirements outlined above can take place in a variety of different ways. You can install the most recent version using Apt, yum, pkg, pip, OpenCSW, Pacman, or any of the other programs listed.

Ansible – YAML

Ansible playbooks are expressed in YAML, which is a syntax that is used by Ansible. This chapter provides an introduction to the YAML markup language. When compared to other data formats such as XML and JSON, YAML is much simpler for humans to comprehend, read, and write than these other formats. This is why Ansible uses it.

Every YAML file can begin with “—” and must end with “…”. Both of these are optional.

In YAML, the “|” character is used to display multiple lines while also including newlines, and the “>” character displays multiple lines while also hiding newlines. Because of this, we are able to read and edit very long lines. In either scenario, the indentation will not be taken into account.

YAML also allows us to represent Boolean values, which can be either true or false, and the case of Boolean values is not always important.

  • A selection of common words associated with Ansible.
  • A service or server is a process that runs on a machine and is responsible for providing the service.
  • A physical server, a VM (virtual machine), or a container is referred to as a machine.
  • A machine that will be configured using Ansible is referred to as the “target machine.”
  • An action (such as run this, delete that), etc., that is managed by Ansible is referred to as a task.
  • The YAML file in which Ansible commands are written and which is then run on a machine is referred to as the playbook.