Ansible DevOps program gets upgraded

The popular DevOps program Ansible is being made available in a new package and with additional features.

DevOps: What is it, and how can it help your business?

Inspired by the world of just-in-time manufacturing and widely practised in 'greenfield' IT organisations such as web-scale businesses and startups, DevOps is now making inroads into the 'brownfield' enterprise market.

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When Red Hat bought the DevOps program Ansible, the company did so because it thought Ansible's automation capabilities, together with Red Hat's cloud and managing portfolio, would make a powerful one-two punch. It was right. Now, with several new Ansible innovations, the pair is helping enterprise customers harness the power of automation organization-wide -- from IT operations to development to network administration.

These are:

  • Red Hat Ansible Engine, a new offering designed to bring Red Hat enterprise-grade global support to the popular Ansible DevOps community project.
  • Red Hat Ansible Engine Networking add-on, including full support for select networking platform modules.
  • Red Hat Ansible Tower 3.2, the latest version of its enterprise Ansible automation management platform.

Red Hat Ansible Engine is a new enterprise support offering. While the upstream, open-source Ansible community is known for fast innovations, some businesses require a more secure, stable, and reliable approach. With Ansible Engine, organizations can access the tools and innovations available from the underlying Ansible technology in a hardened, enterprise-grade manner. Ansible Engine features include:

  • A reliable and enterprise-ready set of Ansible automation, modules, and capabilities.
  • Business hours or 24x7 support from Red Hat's award-winning, global support organization.
  • All the benefits of a Red Hat subscription, including Open Source Assurance, Service Level Agreement (SLA) response, regular security and maintenance updates, and more.

Why this offering? Joe Fitzgerald, Red Hat's management vice president, explained in a statement: "Enterprise customers are interested in more stable and reliable automation technologies in order to be able to adopt these powerful capabilities enterprise-wide. Additionally, as more automation implementations directly impact mission-critical business applications and environments, the requirements for greater security, support and stability become even more important."

You can also the new Networking add-on with the Ansible Engine. With networking automation, IT organizations can now use fully supported Ansible modules, developed and maintained in-house for many popular networking devices. This offering includes full engineering support for the following networking-specific Ansible modules: Arista (EOS), Cisco (IOS, IOS-XR, NX-OS). Juniper (Junos OS), Open vSwitch, and VyOS. This follows up on Red Hat's earlier release of Ansibile 2.3.

To make Ansible more useful for enterprise deployments, Red Hat is introducing Red Hat Ansible Tower 3.2. This is based on the open-source AWX project. AWX is essentially the Ansible Tower source code. While it AWX changes quickly, Tower is produced by taking selected releases of AWX, hardening them for long-term supportability, and making them available to customers as the Ansible Tower offering. Its new and enhanced features include the ability to:

  • Manage more globally:
    • Updated inventory support enables users to create custom views for managing machines based on their attributes across public, private, and hybrid cloud.
    • Tower Instance groups dedicate capacity for specific organizations and inventory.
    • Tower isolated nodes allow for local job execution capacity in remote locations.
  • Automate more flexibly:
    • Supply Chain Management (SCM) inventory support enables teams to fully manage their automation and infrastructure as code
    • Plugable credentials enable users to define their own custom credential types, enabling integration with third-party credential storage

Current Red Hat Ansible Tower customers can add an Ansible Engine subscription to their Ansible Tower subscription at any time to gain support for the underlying Ansible automation that powers Ansible Tower. Ansible Tower 3.2 will be available later this month through ansible.com and the Red Hat Customer Portal. Ansible Engine and Ansible Engine for Network Automation will be available by the beginning of October as a stand-alone product or as part of a Red Hat Ansible Tower subscription.

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