Ansible Review

The user interface is well-built and very easy to navigate around


How has it helped my organization?

We are a partner, but we also use it in-house. It drives all of our demonstrations. We've used Ansible community to be able to easily deploy and set up pipelines end-to-end in Dockers or containers. Therefore, we can have an easy to go, ready demonstration set up in less than five minutes. We can also have a customer go to our GitHub page and just be able to use Ansible to have it easily deployed, then we don't have to give them any more instructions, i.e., run this playbook and you'll be set up in no time.

Our sales engineers use it a lot in order to understand how the security works between Ansible and our own product, so they can better sell it. We have been lucky enough to have a great partnership with Red Hat, so we receive a lot of great feedback directly from their solutions architects. 

We are always getting together and sharing information. We will be training them on Conjur, and on Thursday, they have us being trained on Ansible. So, it's a great partnership.

What is most valuable?

I really love the user interface:

  • The first time I started to use it, I found that it was well-built and very easy to navigate around. Things were were I expected them to be. I didn't have to go clicking around too much to find what I wanted to do. 
  • The documentation on their website is well done. Anytime that I need to, I can pull up its six tabs. For example, I wrote my first Ansible playbook with no Internet on a plane and those six tabs cached in my phone's browser. 

Red Hat has always done a great job with their documentation. However, I sort of grew up around most of their products.

As far as the dashboard is concerned, it is a nice, quick, easy look without having to dig in, deep dive into the different metrics, etc. I obtain a quick presentation of what's failed and what's been successful. Having an operator and/or admin get that quick of a look is beneficial because they can quickly act and react to job failures, etc.

What needs improvement?

It can use some more credential types. I've found that when I go looking for a certain credential type, such as private keys, they're not really there. I end up having to either custom-make my own credential type or trying to figure out what is already available that I can fit it into and use. I would prefer to see a lot of the more popular ones included as an out-of-the-box credential type. Because, at least for our integration with Ansible Tower, we do have to put a certificate and a key into the Tower credentials and custom-make that credential type.

We're not the only product that does it. I feel like if it's such an adopted method of dealing with third-party tools, maybe we should add in that credential type and make it easier for everyone.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Tower is stable, and AWX is not. AWX is not meant to be in production. 

Tower is very stable. Sometimes the job isolation can cause me to rip out my hair, but I know now that it is the job isolation and not an issue on my end. So, I'm good now. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability should meet our needs going forward.

How is customer service and technical support?

I've never had to use tech support. I've always been lucky enough to be a partner, so I get direct to where I need to go. I also haven't heard any complaints from our customers.

How was the initial setup?

It depends on the method that you choose. I deployed it in AWS just fine using the CloudFormation template that was provided on the website. As long as people are doing that, then they'll be good to go. I've never had an issue deploying. I can't imagine anybody having an issue deploying it. They do a pretty good job of orchestrating the orchestrator.

What other advice do I have?

I learned about the solution last year through AWX. Surprisingly enough, I found AWX first, then made my way to Tower from there.

From a security standpoint, we are a security company so I will always back my product over what these other tools do. From their standpoint, we do practice adding certificates and keys into Tower credentials. We use and trust it. My preference would always be to get all of the secrets out of all the tools and manage them in a central location.

They have some room for improvement, but they're doing a great job as is.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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