The platform was created by Michael DeHaan, who developed Cobbler system intended for the software deployment, as well as Func framework for the remote administration. Ansible is included in the majority of Linux distributives. There are special packages for Solaris, FreeBSD, and MacOS. Ansible Inc. was providing support and updates of Ansible until the day of October 16, 2015, when Red Hat Inc. announced the acquisition of Ansible Inc.
‘Ansible’ word is used to define an imaginary system of the immediate hyperspace connection. This system was described in ‘Ender’s Game’ by Orson Scott Card, while the name of the system was created by Ursula Kroeber Le Guin in her ‘Rocannon's World’ written in 1966.
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Such solutions as Ansible, Chef, Puppet, and SaltStack are considered the most popular configuration management systems for Linux. The key difference of Ansible in comparison with other solutions is the fact the one doesn't have to install a client module or an agent to the target systems.
The user of Ansible has to create so-called playbooks in YAML format, thus describing required states of the managed system. A playbook is a thorough description of the state of the system resources required at the given moment in time. It includes the list of installed packages, running services, created files and many other parameters. Ansible checks if a specific resource has the required state, and tries to change it if it doesn't correspond with the requirements.
There's a special system of modules used to perform the tasks. Each task contains the name, the module, and the list of the parameters, which define the task. Ansible supports variables, variable processing filters (by using Jinja2 library), predicted execution of the tasks, parallelizing, and the file templates. Addresses and the settings of the target systems can be found in the inventory files. The system supports grouping of the parameters. There's a system of roles, which can be used to perform a set of similar tasks.
Ansible Tower is a graphical interface that was developed to control and monitor Ansible. It was offered on the commercial basis, but the source code was published in 2017 after the acquisition of Ansible Inc. by RedHat. The new project was called AWX Project, and it's used as the foundation for the commercial version of Ansible Tower.
It offers the following functionality:
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Here's the list of module categories and performed tasks:
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