The Business Value of Automation with Ansible and IBM i
Learn how Ansible can help you automate tasks like cloud provisioning
By Benoit Marolleau10/01/2020
Ansible® is a free, open-source technology that allows you to automate various tasks like cloud provisioning, configuration management and application deployment. It’s reliable, secure and easy to use.
It’s also agentless, which means that you don’t have to install anything on managed nodes. Simply declare what you want to be running in your IT environment and Ansible will do the rest without having to explicitly describe how.
Use Cases for Ansible
The most common use cases are:
- Automation of repeatable operations tasks like system administration, code build, deployment and QA tests in your DevOps cloud infrastructure and cloud deployment pipeline
- Cloud infrastructure and application provisioning, complementing other infrastructure as code technologies like Terraform
- Configuration and security compliance reinforcement by checking and fixing systems settings versus policies in place
This Python-based technology is driven by a vibrant community. The community version is available at no cost. Simply install Ansible on the control host and Python and SSH access on the targets. After installing the Ansible engine on your control node, you’re ready to go.
Users that require enterprise-level support can take advantage of supported Ansible solutions provided by Red Hat® with additional functionalities for more control, automation and visibility.
Ansible and IBM i
Cloud and DevOps on IBM i is at your fingertips like never before. IBM i can be seen by Ansible like any other platform and act as an Ansible-managed node endpoint, leveraging both the existing
Ansible core modules and specific IBM i modules continuously developed and shared by the open-source community (see Figure 1, above).
For more traditional environments that don’t require frequent changes, configuration management brought by Ansible is a way to control what’s going on and help operations teams in their daily tasks, using the same abstraction layer and infrastructure as code technology for every platform (see Figure 2, below).
Write your first “playbook” in YAML format to describe what you want on your managed node inventory and Ansible will:
- Save or restore objects, manage servers or jobs and check and install PTFs
- Control your security settings, like managing user profiles and authorities, or check IFS rights. Ansible gathers facts and can remediate any security deviations.
- Install a new licensed program product or application version containing libraries, database and IFS artifacts
- Deploy or clone a new environment on an IBM i VM on either a private or public cloud
- Orchestrate all of the above or a subset of these tasks
The Business Value of Automation With Ansible and IBM i
Now’s the time to get started with Ansible and unleash its potential for IBM i. Ansible is free, and it’s available right now for IBM i automation, control and rationalization. It’s even easier to use than executing manual procedures and is particularly efficient for onboarding new hires.
You can find many useful resources and examples in the open-source community and in the Ansible for IBM i GitHub repository.
Benoit Marolleau is a pre-sales architect for IBM Power Systems™ and IBM Cloud® at the IBM Montpellier Client Experience Center in France.