Ansible Review

I can quickly train new users on writing a Playbook, the code is very human-readable


What is our primary use case?

Our use case is to stitch together all the units, all the teams writing roles and Playbooks, and provide a central point for execution, and a way of managing what is executing against the infrastructure.

How has it helped my organization?

I was the one who initially initiated Ansible Core and Tower within our department of the bank. I have actually been the Ansible evangelist, so I'm slowly migrating people from using batch scripts to using Ansible Playbooks. That has taken a little while but there has been an improvement in people using Ansible, and starting to automate things better, and people sharing code amongst the teams.

What is most valuable?

I prefer Ansible Core, but from an enterprise standpoint, an admin point of view, having the Dashboard and seeing how all the projects and all the jobs lay out is helpful.

What needs improvement?

What I would like to see is a refined Dashboard to see, when I log in: Here are all my jobs, here are how many times they've executed; some kind graphical stitching-together of the workflows and jobs, and how they're connected.

Also, those "failed hosts," what does that mean? We have a problem, a failed host can be anything. Is SSH the reason it failed? Is the job template why it failed? It doesn't really distinguish that.

The job workflow needs to be worked on. It's not really clear to how you actually link things together. What they probably could do is provide an example workflow on how to stitch things together. I think that would be very helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

After I built it, it was given to another department to manage. From what I'm seeing, it is reliable, since we've clustered it together. We have a cluster of Towers within each different environment, Dev, UAT, and Prod, and that controls which Playbook is executed in which environment. In regards to the clustering and it staying available, it's stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales well because of the clustering.

How is customer service and technical support?

Sometimes it takes a couple of messages before they understand more difficult situations, but I would rate technical support at eight of ten.

How was the initial setup?

At the time, the setup was pretty straightforward. I don't think there have been any changes in that regard.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I've used Salt and I've used Puppet. The reason I like Ansible is, first, the coding of it is very straightforward, it's very human-readable. I'm also on a contract, and I can clearly iterate and bring people up to speed very quickly on writing a Playbook, compared with writing up a Puppet manifest or a Salt script.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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