4.6 out of 5
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Ansible review by Aiman N.
DevOps Principal Architect
Mid-Market
(201-500 employees)
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"The Swiss Army knife of automation scripting. My favorite automation tool."

What do you like best?

- Great flexibility, with proper code organization you can automate any process you want at any complexity!

- Ansible is very easy to setup, being an agent-less tool. You can get started without installing any software on the target machine where you would like to execute your automation

- Great abstractions: roles (modules), inventory hosts and groups, facts (node information) and group-level as well as host-level variables. You can implement very complex automations in a very clean approach with Ansible abstractions.

- A lot of modules available at your disposal. From simple file copying, to templated files, to services and packages management. You will probably forget bash syntax after using Ansible for awhile. Well, you can also use bash to accomplish tasks that do not have modules for.

What do you dislike?

There are very little cons, but here are some cons that by design:

- Due to lack of centralized server, you cannot orchestrate automations that span multiple nodes asynchronously. You can still run a playbook against all nodes of the cluster, but if there are inter-dependencies, then all hosts must be included in the playbook and you have to implement some logic to resolve those dependencies. By contract, when using a centralized tool like Chef, you can fetch information from centralized data structures which can be populated asynchronously.

- Also due to simplicity, Ansible does not handle playbook versioning, it's something that you have to implement on your own.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Complex automations. It greatly allowed us to implement very complex automations in clean, reusable manner.

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Ansible review by Hazzim A.
Software configuration engineer
Information Technology and Services
Enterprise
(10,001+ employees)
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"If your environment to manage is Linux, Ansible should be your election."

What do you like best?

Ansible born in Linux to manage Linux so the features are designed to be smoothly and very easy to do, for a sysadmin understand how works and start using is very easy, and for developers is easy to manage infrastructure with limited knowledge or background.

What do you dislike?

Support for windows environments are still limited, is better than previous versions but there is still a lot of work to do.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If your environment is only Linux or cloud based Ansible is your best option, if you have Windows servers you will need check if your needs can be covered by Ansible.

The initial setup is simple and learn to work with it is very simple for sysadmins and even for developers.

If you can architect your solution with Galaxy should be great, or with Ansible standalone should be enough for most environments.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I'm using Ansible to automate cloud deploys for Openstack infrastructure, and for the continuous integration/continuous delivery process (We are using Zuul and is tied to Ansible)

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Ansible review by Frederic L.
Senior Technology Architect
Telecommunications
Enterprise
(1001-5000 employees)
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"Automation for SysAdmins"

What do you like best?

Ansible is an amazing tool who allows to automating SysAdmin tasks like big deployment of the same instances or managing updates. All this : without physically accessing the machine and all is logged so it remains ISO 20K compliant !

What do you dislike?

There is a learning curve and you need to understand Yaml to write playbooks. But actually, this is not too complex and the wiki website is well documented. The community is very big.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Don't be afraid to learn new products, this one really really worth your time investment. It is free, open source and community drive OR you can buy subscription and get support from Red Hat directly. There is UI called Tower, but if you don't absolutely need it, avoid it.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Deployment at scale of complex environment with audit logs.

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Ansible review by Sergio F.
Software & Network Systems Engineer
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"Revolutionary manager for groups of servers"

What do you like best?

The simplicity of commands to manage a full complex group of servers. It's really easy to see where they are alive or not (via a ping play, for example). With playbooks, you automate the building. What I like the most is that you can use it along Docker, and even Vagrant. At our company, in the next software version we will deploy, we will be using Ansible due to its simplicity. We've already built some of the playbooks

What do you dislike?

Really, the only thing I would like is Ansible Tower to be free. But well, not everything is possible!

Recommendations to others considering the product

Do not fear, I am still facing superiors to change to Ansible because they are too only-bash-basic-commands and build-everything-on-bash.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are managing a group of servers that need to be deployed and updated. The software we are releasing has some modules that change, and we need them updated whenever the client calls or via planned updates. The thing is that when something is failing in a client, we find what's causing the problem, and then replicate in the rest of the servers. It's simply astonishing.

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Ansible review by Garett D.
Infrastructure Engineer
Information Technology and Services
Enterprise
(10,001+ employees)
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"Great system automation"

What do you like best?

Ansible is a great tool for managing servers, especially for tasks that would traditionally fall under the umbrella of system administration. The ability to manage servers without installing clients (it uses SSH) removes a huge barrier to entry and allows you to use it to manage a large number of devices.

What do you dislike?

There is lots of documentation, but it lacks a good API, in the sense of having a set of documents that tell you how all the inner-workings operate. There are many examples, but it can be difficult to find a comprehensive list of all the different operations that Ansible uses, and how things work. This makes the inner-workings feel like a black box, and sometimes you have to resort to a try-this-and-see-what-happens approach to getting it to do what you want. Once you get it running, especially after you've used it more and "get" how it works, it can be pretty frustrating.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Spend some time reading through documentation, and looking through other people's code (Github, et al) to get an understanding of how it works and what you can do with it (and how). This might make it easier to get up and running and to make sure you can do what you want with it.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Managing large sets of servers in a programmatic way that is version-controlled, and easily managed both by people who are code-knowledgable and those who are not (Ansible uses yaml, which essentially looks like a todo list)

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Ansible review by User in Information Technology and Services
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"Automation... Ansible makes it a breeze"

What do you like best?

Easy to learn, fast to implement, no need to have various agents installed in your remote servers - a simple SSH connection can serve you, installation is a breeze - pip/apt/brew - any package manager of your choice, though Ansible itself is written in python, you don't need to learn python to use Ansible, uses human-friendly yaml syntax (eye-candy), easily integrates with most cloud infra providers, ever growing modules, easy management of tasks (modules), guarantees idempotency

What do you dislike?

Ansible is not yet mature to accept python3

Ansible uses Jinja2 as a part of its templating system. Hence, not knowing the jinja DSL can hurt you back

Recommendations to others considering the product

Each of the tools have been created to solve a different type of business need. What Ansible had to offer us is different from what it has to offer other businesses. Hence, it is advisable to other users to first know the business problem they are trying to solve and assess how Ansible fits in that place.

Similarly, if you think you need to learn python to use Ansible, don't be discouraged, you don't need to. Well, it helps to extend modules if you do know python fundamentals.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

deployment

orchestration

automation

configuration management

patch management

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Ansible review by Erik W.
Senior Cloud Consultant
Information Technology and Services
Enterprise
(10,001+ employees)
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"Easy to get going, advanced enough to do what you need to do"

What do you like best?

Ansible is easy to get into, it has a simplistic configuration and allows for a huge variety of integrations with other services.

What do you dislike?

The major downside is when you need something that is not officially supported. You'll get on galaxy and look for a 3rd party plugin. Some of those are great, but not all.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Previously we used webmin to manage our servers, it was a mess. These days we use Ansible as Configuration Management and are looking to expand its usage into builds and deployment.

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Ansible review by User in Information Technology and Services
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"An awesome tool for automated deployment"

What do you like best?

Ansible is a very easy to use tool. it has modules with almost everything eg. Shell, MySQL. Etc. It is YAML based and very easy to use. It only takes 3hours to learna and start writing your playbooks.

What do you dislike?

There is nothing which I dislike about ansible. May be it can improve on it's documentation a bit and develop a UI for better tooling

Recommendations to others considering the product

I think if you are looking to automat your deployment process, you should definitely look into ansible. There are other tools as well , but it is a very simple took based on YAML. And it reduces the amount of coding to a great extent. Just use the syntax as mentioned in the documentation and you are good

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Automated deployment plus continuous integration and continuous deployment capabilities. Benefits are pretty visibly in terms of ease of use, simplicity, fast performance, compatibility with other frameworks.

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Ansible review by Chien H.
DevOps Engineer
Online Media
Mid-Market
(501-1000 employees)
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"Great for configuring Mesos cluster nodes"

What do you like best?

- no agent required, as long as you can establish SSH - it works

- flexibility to run with a dedicated server or with workstations

- allows separation of leader and agent tasks into separate .yaml files that can be called using conditional checks in the main.yaml (control file)

- very readable and powerful template engine

What do you dislike?

- DNS lookup facility has a python library dependency

- the DSL to use dig lookup to do a reverse lookup is not very readable; it's more readable and reliable to local-exec dig

- need to maintain an inventory of your machines

Recommendations to others considering the product

Ansible works really well for cattle-type deploys meaning when you need automation/configuration management to build up infrastructure that will be torn down and rebuilt when updating. If you intend on your CF to converge your configs, probably Chef or Puppet works better. In our use case when we upgrade or run into problems, it's quicker for us to destroy the instances in question and reprovision/reconfigure. For this use-case, Ansible works really well.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We have been able to automate the configuration of our Mesos cluster nodes. Prior to this, configuring Mesos nodes was very manual and error-prone. Now we can provision the nodes with Terraform and configure them in a few minutes rather than going through hours of configuration.

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Ansible review by Manil C.
Ingénieur d'affaires
Computer Software
Mid-Market
(51-200 employees)
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"Simplest configuration management tool available out there"

What do you like best?

Ansible is an open source solution that makes configuring infrastructures an easy task for sysadmins. In the contrary to other configuration management tools, Ansible is very simple to get started with and it lowers the entry barrier to automation, all you need to write playbooks is a text editor. One of the powerful features of Ansible is that it is agent-less, which means there is no need to install any software on remote systems (especially your client's systems) in order to automate a task (installing a software stack) on these machines. Also, Ansible relies on the SSH protocol while other automation tools use their own protocols that may need special firewall ports to be opened. Furthermore, Ansible can be easily used with tools like Vagrant to automate the provisioning of development environments on local machine.

What do you dislike?

The main drawback is the absence of an open source graphical interface for Ansible that make it easy to monitor the entire inventory. Ansible only provide an command line utility and the only GUI solution available seems to be Ansible Tower which is an enterprise solution. Ansible was recently bought by RedHat so this may raise questions on the direction the project will take in future.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Ansible has excellent performance, it has no need for installing any agents on remote systems. it's based on python which is a well known language for scripting especially among the sysadmin community. Ansible is the way to go if these properties fit in your day-to-day requirements.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We switched from Chef into Ansible to exclusively automating the provisioning of platforms on AWS (and other Cloud providers) and configuring application stacks for our clients. The stack range from RoR (Ruby on Rails) to Django web applications; to database management and clustering. The switching wasn't very painful, and Ansible helped us quickly writing new automation tasks. Furthermore, we gained a lot from the ability to use Vagrant along with Ansible in order to replicate production environment into the developer's machines and having a huge boost in terms of productivity, detecting bugs and fixing them quickly.

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Ansible review by Adam K.
Network Engineer
Internet
Mid-Market
(51-200 employees)
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"Excellent devops tool"

What do you like best?

Ansible is extremely flexible with dozens if not hundreds of modules, including powershell

What do you dislike?

The learning curve is a little steep if you’ve never used a tool like this before, but it’s something you could pick up over a day or two

Recommendations to others considering the product

Take a good couple days to evaluate all the processes and scripts you run on a regular basis. Chances are they can all be setup in Ansible

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Weekly and daily repetitive tasks that usually take several hours now take us about 5 minutes

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Ansible review by Eric M.
Principal System Architect
Telecommunications
Enterprise
(10,001+ employees)
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"Can't live without it now that I use it - Use it for Orchestration of deployments and new buildouts"

What do you like best?

The YAML syntax is so easy that anyone can use it. No more excuses from people that they are not a coder, they can now declaratively define their infrastructure via code just by knowing YAML. It allows me to version control my infrastructure now that it is defined by code.

What do you dislike?

Sometimes the data structures available seem limiting but once you really learn the tool, it all comes into focus. The documentation can be limited for the modules but you can always read the source code as its just python and really easy to read and understand.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Start with the community edition and see if its enough before purchasing Ansible Tower. Remember to always version control your playbooks.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Reduce the lead times when provisioning new complex multi-tier stacks from Linux VM's to load balancer VIP's and SSL certification installations.

I also rely on Ansible for deployments of multi-tier application from my CI/CD server (Bamboo). Ansible is available on the Bamboo server so the deployment playbook gets version controlled alongside the app's source code and is executed by Bamboo/Ansible at deploy time. I also rely on Liquibase for DB schema evolution which is also executed by Ansible.

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Ansible review by Kalyan M.
Sr. DevOps/Cloud Engineer
Computer Software
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"Very easy to use"

What do you like best?

It is very easy to use. All you to do is write in a bunch of commands and give it an inventory file and the ansible will execute those commands on all the servers that are in the inventory file.

What do you dislike?

Ansible is push based. It is not pull based like puppet. So we may not be able to have a fixed constant environment like we have with puppet. One may make changes on one server and we may not even know that.

Recommendations to others considering the product

I strongly recommend using this.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Ability to do multiple tasks on multiple servers at the same time by writing a small script.

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Ansible review by Sahil S.
Research Intern
Higher Education
Mid-Market
(51-200 employees)
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"Best tool to seamlessly manage everything in a Data center. "

What do you like best?

The best thing is that its a one stop solution to all of our needs to manage an entire data center. We can manage configurations, deploy applications and it lets multiple people to work together rather than the traditional one sysadmin to manage it all, which is also possible from the Ansible command line.

The other thing is that its open source, which lets me add feature which other can use too. The community is very active too.

What do you dislike?

There are some features which i would like to be implemented one of which is supporting Kubernetes by Google and rkt from CoreOS but I am sure that its certainly on their roadmap and they will be adding those in the near future.

Other than that I don't think there is anything which I don't like in particular. It has really reduced overhead of managing using different tools, writing scripts and managing configurations.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are managing a data center in a university which handles application deployment for research purposes.

Ansible is the only solution we need to do all of that, otherwise we had to use atleast a dozen of other softwares and it even would have been impossible. We don't need to write scripts anymore.

We are using SDN (Software Defined Networks) to automate network configurations on HP SDN enabled switches

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Ansible review by Internal Consultant in Information Technology and Services
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"Configuration Management without hassle"

What do you like best?

No Agents Required

Works on top of SSH

Can reverse the methodology to pull vs push, using Ansible Pull.

Pure Ansible,

Supports Dynamic inventory

What do you dislike?

If your playbook/role gets failed, the error at the very last step, the next re-run will do all the steps all over again.

Although the ansible will be idempotent but wastes lot of time in big environment.

Can tackle this using Tags, but that needs to added at the time of creating the playbook.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Ansible is great Config Management tool, I used the opensource version of it.

Its simply awesome, right your manifest in yml file and just deploy it.

Since there is no agent and master server concept. Your system will not have single point of failure or additional resource usage on client size. Just needs SSH thats it.

I used Ansible apart from deploying servers to collect and gather facts from remote machine and used as CMDB.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I have used Ansible to configure my application and used it to generate the CMDB by collecting the facts generated by Ansible.

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Ansible review by Arbi A.
Concepteur/Développeur
Telecommunications
Enterprise
(10,001+ employees)
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"Ansible is an easy to learn, extensible and has a module for everything"

What do you like best?

There is a plenty of configuration management tools that helps you automate tasks and gain in productivity. Each one has its own specific way for configuration management, with many different pros and cons.

Among these tools Ansible stand a part as an automation tool that works very well while very easily to get started with. It's killer feature is that you don't need a specific infrastructure setup, no need to deploy agents all over to get an Ansible script working. In addition, Ansible is very extensible and has a plethora of modules that you can use to deploy any software stack (ruby on rails, django, etc.) as well as provisioning infrastructure resources from many providers whether it is cloud (e.g. Amazon cloud) or on premise (e.g. openstack, vargant).

What do you dislike?

Ansible is no more independent as it was purchased by RedHat in order to make it more Enterprise friendly. Furthermore, this change may impact the choice what modules will be maintained by the core team. For instance, it more likely that the Openstack module will be more prioritised than the vagrant module or AWS module.

Also, Ansible is mostly a CLI tool with no advanced support for a graphical interface (which is the case of most of the other configuration management tools), though it has the Ansible Tower but it is an enterprise product.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you have to manage a large number of servers hosting a much larger number of applications, then you must start looking for an automation tool. In this case Ansible is the choice to consider, it is the easiest tool out there to learn and has many modules and writing own modules if needed is not hard (python scripts).

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I started looking for automation systems since I wrote my first bash scripts because writing bash scripts is hard and maintaining them is even harder. Furthermore, I'm not a system administrator but rather a developer and I hate to do the same thing twice. I believe (and you should too) in DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself).

Tools like Ansible are powerful as they gave a boost in productivity when it comes to handle many machines and applications with a lot of moving parts.

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Ansible review by Mario C.
Army Of One
Computer Software
Mid-Market
(51-200 employees)
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"Continuous Delivery with Ansible, Jenkins and Docker"

What do you like best?

Ansible is really easy to use. Its default plugins covers most of the core needs that a DevOps could use. Unlike Chef, you don't need any client on the nodes you want to manage as everything is done through SSH. This reduction in complexity helps a lot in plugin development, bug fixing and debugging.

What do you dislike?

Most of the times documentation is nice or enough but, sometimes, it's a bit tricky to understand some of the characteristics or commands of some plugins, sometimes because you need deep understanding of the things you're going to do, sometimes because description isn't perfect. You'll manage to do everything at the end.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you are starting in DevOps world, start with Ansible. If you have spend some time in DevOps world or you're already an expert that haven't used it yet, give it a try, I'm sure that most of the users will enjoy its simplicity and ease of use.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Deployment of dozens of nodes at the same time. Our benefits are the development and testing of our playbooks, that are lot easier that with Chef (our previous solution) without the deployment of the Chef Server + an Chef Agent on each machine in our cluster.

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Ansible review by Edward L.
Linux System Administrator & Programmer
Internet
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"Effortless server configuration"

What do you like best?

I love that there is no agent to install on each server that you want to manage. Everything is done over SSH. I started writing playbooks and doing the same actions on multiple servers in minutes.

What do you dislike?

Sometimes, the documentation is a little vague. More concrete examples would be very helpful for new users. Luckily, there are some good guides online from other sources.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Read the documentation. Almost everything is covered very well, but because it is so flexible they can't put every situation in the documentation. Search online for how others user Ansible in their environments. Search GitHub for playbooks.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I manage ~400 servers and I needed a way to easily spin up a new VPS and install our application on it. What used to take about an hour now takes about a minute. I also use Ansible for continuous deployment. Application updates are scripted with Ansible and can be on each server almost instantly. Ansible also allowed us to keep a consistent server configuration across our business.

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Ansible review by Andrew S.
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer
Information Technology and Services
Small-Business
(2-10 employees)
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"Really Enjoy Ansible"

What do you like best?

The syntax is very easy, I typically use YAML for all of my application configuration so I'm happy Ansible uses YAML.

It's great that I can run playbooks against servers just over SSH, I don't have to install any agents on the remote servers.

I like how everything just describes what the desired state is and it works idempotently.

We had previously worked with Chef and Puppet and Ansible by far has been the easiest for us to get up and running.

We started out with configuration generated by http://phansible.com/ which helped us get up and running quickly.

What do you dislike?

We had a developer running on Windows and we were unable to get it working. Had to jump through some hoops to get that developer onboard.

We tried using Cygwin which is what tutorials on the net suggested, but we were unable to get it to work. We were using it with Vagrant so it's possible it's an issue with Vagrant and Ansible on Windows. This developer was able to get Vagrant running with Puppet.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Ansible has been great for us. It can be tricky if you have developers using Windows. We are a PHP shop so we found the site http://phansible.com/ to be a great asset to get a starting set of configuration.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Initially, it was only for configuring vagrant development boxes. Recently we've started experimenting with using it to configure our VPSs. It's coming along very nicely.

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Ansible review by Bernardo V.
Database Administrator
Information Technology and Services
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"Simple and Powerful CM tool "

What do you like best?

Ansible it's the most simple and easy to use Configuration Management tool on market, it's just what we want. Playbooks are simple to write and to understand. It's soo easy to use that I could argue that an Ansible role it's like a documentation, once you read you know exactly how it operates/work.

Another top feature of Ansible it's that I don't need any agents to work, just add the public key and "boom" it's working, this is extremely useful for us since we don't need to modify anything on clients.

What do you dislike?

Ansible it's quite new so for very complicated automations you maybe find yourself building a lot of code to make it work as you need.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you need to automate a lot of Windows machines, don't use Ansible!

If you have a extremely heterogeneous environment, don't use Ansible!

If the two phrases above aren't true, use Ansible!

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are building kind of a "One server sees everything". This is a "piece of cake" for Ansible because you can use features like Bastion host of Openssh. For remote servers that my controller machine can't SSH it's possible to use another host as a Proxy. We are also using it to orchestrate automation on all machines we have.

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Ansible review by User in Internet
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"DevOps Engineer at Refinery29"

What do you like best?

It's simple. Modules exist for nearly every task you can think of, and if there isn't one, they're easy to write in python or any other language (so long as it supports file I/O and outputting to standard out). You can even control AWS services with it, just using built-in modules. And if you're too lazy to write a module, the command and shell modules allow direct execution of commands as if you had ssh'd into the target host. Ansible is basically just a wrapper for running commands over ssh anyway.

What do you dislike?

Coming from Chef, I miss the ability to use prewritten cookbooks, or in Ansible parlance, roles. The community is not as robust as Chef's, mostly because Ansible is so much younger a project.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Ease into it. Ansible is easy to write using just the command and shell modules, but checking to see if modules already exist will save a ton of time, and provide better reporting. Once you get the hang of writing your own modules, everything feels like it falls into place.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We need to rapidly, consistently provision systems for development, QA, and serving our site. At Refinery29, we have Ansible scripts for (just about) every system we have.

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Ansible review by Juuso S.
Data Engineer
Information Technology and Services
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"Ansible is so easy, it feels like cheating"

What do you like best?

The best thing about is that it's agentless, meaning it doesn't require anything running on your target instances, before provisioning them. Good old SSH is all you need.

Before switching to Ansible, I was using Puppet. When compared, Ansible just makes everything work like a breeze. No more do I have to figure out how to make the target instances communicate with my Puppetmaster *before* you can do any kind of provisioning. With Ansible your instances are provisionable from the get-go.

Other things I like about it:

- Ad-Hoc commands

- Ansible Galaxy, especially how you can retrieve roles either from the public repositories or from your private SCM repositories.

- Ansible core has a task for almost any kind of work

- Works well with CI tools and it is beneficial to add the playbooks to your deployment pipeline, so the environments are provisioned each time code is committed.

- The tasks are ideally idempotent, so it won't redo the changes if everything looks okay on the target instance. (The reason why I say 'ideally' is because it is possible for you to make tasks that are not idempotent. But it is something you should avoid.)

What do you dislike?

YAML-only syntax might not always be the most customizable. Also it has most of the *magic* running out of sight, so you have to read through the Ansible source code on purpose, if you want to know what it actually does.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Main problem I've solved is keeping the test, dev and production environments identical.

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Ansible review by Scott M.
DevOps Engineer
Defense & Space
Mid-Market
(51-200 employees)
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"Best Configuration Management software available"

What do you like best?

The fact that Ansible uses SSH for transport is incredibly convenient, and the fact that Playbooks are written as YAML datastructures makes them incredibly easy to read and maintain, even for managers, who may not be technical.

Ansible puts a high stress on idempotency, meaning that you can rest easy knowing that your servers are in exactly the sate you expect them to be in, and changes will only be made if you want them to be.

Ansible is also exceptional at provisioning, not just configuration management.

What do you dislike?

Ansible Tower needs a lot of work with concurrency and high availability. Ansible Tower is priced too high for an on-prem solution. Automated tests need to be improved to reduce the occurrences of things breaking with a new release.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Be sure to structure your roles in small, re-usable chunks and variablize everything. Explore Ansible Galaxy to find roles that may already exist for what you are trying to do.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Provisioning and Deploying a large and complex infrastructure of over a dozen microservices in a CI/CD environment using a combination of Docker, Ansible, and Jenkins in AWS.

Ansible is far easier to use and maintain than Chef or Puppet, and is completely agentless.

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Ansible review by G2 Crowd User in Information Technology and Services
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"Config Management for the Rest of Us"

What do you like best?

Ansible is simple:

It works with Python and uses SSH on Linux + UNIX systems. Write YAML "playbooks" and run them any platform you need. We use it on CentOS, FreeBSD, and Ubuntu - but Windows works as well.

What do we use Ansible for?

To deploy configuration to many systems, to stand up web applications we use, to backup files and data, to secure services on our servers, and much more.

Modules exist for every service or application you can think of. Would you like to manage KVM with Ansible? Can do! Want to manage your ssh keys across multiple employees? No problem!

The Ansible Galaxy site has many playbooks where you can learn by example. There are also hundreds of playbooks freely available to be forked on GitHub.

What do you dislike?

I think there's a bit of a learning curve with Ansible as far as writing the playbooks out. There's a large gap in my mind between a simple playbook that maybe configures one service or hardens a server, and a super complex playbook that can manage applications at a large scale. It takes time and planning and most importantly TESTING. We test our playbooks a lot because one variable can make a difference between a success or a disaster.

Recommendations to others considering the product

I would read the documentation and get completely buried in everything it can do.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We use it to stand up new servers, setup new applications, deploy a new service to more than one machine in your fleet. Can also use it to copy config files or other important things between the 'master' (even though Ansible is designed so you don't need one).

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Ansible review by G2 Crowd User in Computer Software
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"Linux Automation "

What do you like best?

I love, that Ansible is Python based and provide very flexible way to configure any part of host configuration and it is free. I've widely used Ansible to deploy and configure various application in Linux. The great benefit, that Ansible does not require any agent and use ssh (you have to sort SSL related query on PRD). One more great advantage is that playbooks has defined structure and there are tons of addons in galaxy source.

What do you dislike?

As Ansible is Python based, it is very much sensitive to code. So you should have exact number of spaces in each line or Ansible will fail.

Recommendations to others considering the product

test playbooks prior execution on using available feature

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Environment deployment Automation, preparing different changes on installed software, using templates for configures.

With Ansible we can follow Configuration as a Code conception and made our changes more predictable and easy to verify.

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Ansible review by Roman M.
Junior Rails Developer
Information Technology and Services
Small-Business
(2-10 employees)
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"Amazing provisioning tool!"

What do you like best?

I really like speed of writing: simple yaml script and my machine up and ready to work in matter of 10-15 minutes. I also recommend ansible to my colleagues for their own software configuration

What do you dislike?

python 2 <<< sometimes causes unexpected errors

Recommendations to others considering the product

Sometime you do the right thing: it is the first time when you start learning ansible. Then you change the way you work and start enhance the way your team work. Everything will change for the better and that's great you can do more in less time.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Ansible help me prepare my machine and machine of other devs to work in matter of minutes, so we can start working on the our customers problems. Currently I work in Syndicode LLC. We offer Ruby on Rails solutions for various online business, but primary E-commerce and GPS-monitoring

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Ansible review by Russ T.
Software Engineer
Internet
Mid-Market
(501-1000 employees)
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"Good for Configuration Management"

What do you like best?

Ansible provides a simple way to perform distributed server management, and it's quite easy to maintain configuration for a group of servers. Overall, my favorite portions are the simplicity and efficiency, especially that it does not require a dedicated server to act as the host for configuration.

What do you dislike?

I've only used it for a few servers, and I'm not entirely sure how it would perform in larger-scale implementations, with hundreds or thousands of servers with widely varying roles.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Gather requirements beforehand.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Configuration of multiple servers and keeping all configuration inside a git repo. The fact that it allows me to easily and quickly set up new servers is extremely valuable, as well.

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Ansible review by Stefano Z.
Software Developer
Food & Beverages
Mid-Market
(51-200 employees)
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"Very nice tool, still missing some basics"

What do you like best?

It's ease of use is hardly questionable, the fact that it doesn't require any agent installed on the machine it manages it's great, the documentation is pretty well written and suitable also as an entry-level guide.

What do you dislike?

The design of some features is not the best one in my opinion, for example ssh keys management for users lacks some very basics (for example, it's tricky to make uninstalling a key work while it should be one of the most basic features). YAML is not the most exciting format to write, even though after a while it gets better. I don't particularly like the fact that it tries to solve every IT operations need; for me it'd be more helpful if it focused only on solving configuration management. I'm also not a big fan of the lack of strictness when it comes to a same role run twice on the same machine.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Try it first. Depending on your scale it might not be the best choice. Don't try to use every feature it provides at once, or your code organization might suffer.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Trying to enable configuration management in our organization by including developers in the maintenance of the code base. The benefit we realized so far is that people find the bar to be much lower when it comes to approach it the first time with respect to tools like Chef or Puppet.

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Ansible review by Jianyu T.
Technical Architect
Information Technology and Services
Enterprise
(10,001+ employees)
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"The best server maintainence tool"

What do you like best?

No central server needed, everything can be done locally.

Easily execute simple commands on remote servers simultaneously

The play book can be managed together with any VCS, no special system required

The best tool to work with Vagrant, dev team can use both to build the same dev environment

What do you dislike?

Seems like it's a little difficult to setup and work with cygwin / windows, trie some cygwin options but doesn't work.

Recommendations to others considering the product

The most valuable feature is that no additional service need to be installed on remote servers.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Management company owned cloud servers

Easy to learn, execute same commands on the remote, transfer files

No tool validation required (for medical device project, FDA require extra validation for tools using)

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Ansible review by User in Information Technology and Services
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"Agentless Server Configuration and Management Tool with plays written in plain yamls."

What do you like best?

- Agentless: No need to install anything, only dependency: python2 comes by default on all system.

- Impotency: No worress how many time on how many machines you run the play, the result is same.

- Easy Learning Curve: high productivity with less knowledge, easy to learn

- Secure: SSH, secure shell is what ansible leverage to do everything on remote.

What do you dislike?

- No support yet for python3 yet :( #whyyounotyetonbleedingedge

- We need more improvement on Ansible Galaxy

Recommendations to others considering the product

There are lots of tools and hack available on www. Problem now is what to choose to solve the prolem on is facing. Server Configuration and Managements with Ansible is one of my favourite. I personally had a delima, how my tiny-tiny-shell scripts going to manage 1000+ proudction servers with total confidence. I am a guy like, "go away I will replace you with a small shell script". One day Ansible happened to me. The day I started fiddling with yaml for ansible, the day I started understand the business needs; How important is it to have confidence over the things my scripts does. The only savoiur for newbie like me, offcourse with zero knowledge of what CMS is ansile. And from that day, I have not turn back. And my team is happy now.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

- Autoscaling Cloud Instances

- Servers Configuration-

- Deployments

- Github Inventory and User Managemnts

- Easy Developer Onboarding

- Efficeint Data Managements

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Ansible review by Eric M.
Tekton
Computer & Network Security
Small-Business
(2-10 employees)
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"Dynamic server provisioning, both remote and local"

What do you like best?

The flexible structure of Ansible makes it easy to configure, deploy, and provision new machines in just about every environment.

What do you dislike?

Lack of Windows support as a provisioning host - to use a Windows host, you have to SSH in to the target machine and effectively use the target machine to provision itself.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Keep your development/local environment in mind. While you can use Ansible to provision any _guest_ operating system, you can only use it from a Mac or Linux host. If you're on Windows provisioning Windows, you're out of luck.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We needed to shore up our devops practices and make system provisioning reproducible and move beyond mere checklists for the team to follow.

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Ansible review by Administrator in Information Services
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"Ansible - Best We've Used"

What do you like best?

The thing that first stands out is that it uses native Linux SSH to communicate, no client to deploy and run on each server - yes, it does require a user but to be honest this is a good thing, it means that anything done with the tool is logged under that user.

I personally love the fact that it uses Python and the configurations (playbooks) are really easy to pick up. This tool has made it really simple to integrate all our servers into it and start doing things like updates and config management.

Looking forward to Ansible 2 :)

What do you dislike?

The price of Ansible Tower has put us off that - especially for what it does. Yes, it's a fantastic product and it does what it is meant to do very well but it is costly.

There is a bug at the moment which means you can't restart a server in a script - for some reason this got broken but it's expected to be fixed in 2.0 - it's a manageable issue.

There isn't much more that I don't like and that's just being honest. We've not found much we can't achieve with this tool.

Recommendations to others considering the product

I would definitely consider moving to Ansible. I've seen so many people using Puppet that move to Ansible because it's less complex to manage and if you haven't used a Config Management application before then this is definitely the one to choose, in my opinion, because of the fact that it's so simple to deploy and maintain.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We currently use it for Linux updates and configuration management.

We're also starting to manage things like our Active Directory integration so managing what groups can access each group of boxes is simple.

We are now going to start using it for build automation to AWS which is quite exciting.

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Ansible review by Leandro B.
Software Engineer
Information Technology and Services
Small-Business
(2-10 employees)
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"Awesome provisioning tool"

What do you like best?

Quite simple and easy with a fast learning curve.

Everything is yaml.

No need for a agent in the target machines, although you can do that if you wish.

Works the same if with 1 or 100 machines to provision

What do you dislike?

The - as of now - lack of support for Windows. Although I don't use it myself, it is a deal breaker when working on a team where someone does use Windows.

There are work arounds, but not as simple as the initial ansible setup in unix based systems.

Recommendations to others considering the product

There are many blog posts comparing the Ansible to Chef and Puppet a Google search away.

Having not using either of the competitors, I chose Ansible due to the fast learning curve and the no need for a server agent.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Servers' infrastructure setup and product deployment.

Having a reliable tool to do the whole server setup rather than rely on poorly maintained shell scripts.

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Ansible review by Dhanish M.
Research Assistant
Research
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"The best IT automation tool"

What do you like best?

The agentless architecture, making the remote host not requiring special configuration on the remote host

What do you dislike?

Only Python API and bad at describing errors

Recommendations to others considering the product

Go for it.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Automating management of our infrastructure

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Ansible review by Piyush J.
Core Network Engineer
Telecommunications
Mid-Market
(501-1000 employees)
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"Have worked on Ansible"

What do you like best?

Ansible is an IT automation tool. We used it in our Openstack environment to deploy VMs and configure the system. It is written in python so makes it easier to work with. It is also easy to install on the workstation or laptop or even on another VM.

What do you dislike?

Havent worked deeply on Ansible to figure out the downfall of the tool.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We use ansible in conjunction with Vagrant to deploy Openstack environment and also VMs in that environment using a software instead of manually deploying it. It is a very powerful tool which helps in automating the task and hence helps in reducing the human errors.

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Ansible review by Md Safiyat R.
Member of Technical Staff
Information Technology and Services
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"A very powerful tool, to implement almost every deployment use case."

What do you like best?

The extensive repository of modules that come with the tool.

If I want to do something, I almost always find a module to do that for me.

What do you dislike?

Lack of straightforward programmability.

There were a few situations where I had to use complex conditionals to do (or not to do) a few tasks, where I found Ansible failing to do as per my requirement.

I also faced issues in the key management area. These keys are not the ones that are used by Ansible, but separate keys that the application I am deploying uses.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Great product. A must try for anyone looking for automation.

I can almost guarantee the product will completely satisfy your usage.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are deploying a private cloud on top of OpenStack in our datacenter.

We have been able to completely automate the deployment on our infrastructure.

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Ansible review by Abhinav b.
Associate Software Developer
Information Technology and Services
Mid-Market
(501-1000 employees)
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"A automation deployment tool."

What do you like best?

Anisble is automation deployment tool.

Anisble provide easy deployment tool because it does not use any agent.

Ansible uses configuration files called playbooks for a series of tasks. The playbooks are written in YAML syntax.

What do you dislike?

Its required training before use.

Its is expensive to buy.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Yes.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Its automation tool used for deployment process.

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Ansible review by Duncan H.
Software Engineer / Consultant
Internet
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"Easy provisioning"

What do you like best?

It is easy to get started(especially with ansible galaxy) but still powerful enough for the most complex setup.

The newer Amazon web service features made my life easier!

What do you dislike?

Larger setups can have a very large folder tree with multiple groups and roles (hardly a negative but couldn't think of anything else)

Recommendations to others considering the product

Really easy to get started with. Simple yml syntax and great documentation.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Project environments provisioned at the click of a button.

Spawning test environments during deployment

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Ansible review by G2 Crowd User in Semiconductors
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"Automate orchestration, deployment, configuration and more as a code"

What do you like best?

Ansible helps treat Infrastructure as code. Easy to setup, Ansible does not require agents to be installed, relies on SSH. This makes it easier to be used for a variety of hosts in a dynamic environment. In case of agents, their versions and configuration also needs to be managed.

Playbooks are human readable (YAML format). They can easily be version controlled and thus ease collaboration and usage by other teams.

Although written in Python, modules can be added in many other languages.

Good community and ecosystem

What do you dislike?

It is slower than other options. The downside of using ssh is that you have to debug and resolve SSH issues yourself. From adding/updating keys, resolving conflicts to configuring sshd. Any errors arising from this needs to be taken care. Also you need to take care of outdated OSes with older Python versions.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Design for your environment, decide on Roles early on. Spend time to ensure Playbooks remain modular.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Ansible is great for orchestration, deployment and managing in enterprise environments.

Playbooks

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Ansible review by Jason W.
Sr. Systems Engineer
Computer Software
Mid-Market
(201-500 employees)
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"I'll never go back"

What do you like best?

The simplicity, the low learning curve, the ability to read code as you would language.

What do you dislike?

- lack of an open source web management system (Think Ansible Tower)

- lacks a bit of documentation but that is quickly being fixed

Recommendations to others considering the product

Just dive in and start using it. The IRC channel #ansible on freenode is a huge help.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I have automated our entire infrastructure using ansible with everything from spinning up additional nodes to our openstack cluster, spinning up VMs on said cluster, automating software deploys and system configurations, and bringing in-line all environments within the org.

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Ansible review by Toby A.
Developer
Small-Business
(11-50 employees)
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"A usable solution - however not the best"

What do you like best?

Having config files you can version control is a brilliant plus. It lets teams collaborate and keep track of their playbooks.

What do you dislike?

The tooling is built in python and in my experience very flakey. Running playbooks is very unintuitive and there's a fairly large barrier to entry.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Provisioning applications and machines. Ansible allowed us to automate this.