Red Hat Insider: Automating IT with Ansible
Thu 12 Nov 2015
Earlier this month we announced the acquisition of Ansible, a well-known IT automation tool and very popular open source project. The most attractive aspect of Ansible is its simplicity: simple to deploy and blend into a complex enterprise IT environment; simple to master in terms of writing, reading, and maintaining automation workflows; simple to expand in capabilities, thanks to its modular architecture. Frictionless IT, for Red Hat, is about reducing the extreme complexity that plagues today’s enterprise IT. So it really was a great match, and we are very excited about this acquisition. The response we received from customers after the announcement was incredible, as was the feedback I received personally while traveling through Asia and North America.
Perhaps the best moment was in Tokyo, during the OpenStack Summit. My team presented a brand new, and accurate, total cost of ownership (TCO) model for OpenStack. We developed and used it internally to understand how to lower the cost of an OpenStack private cloud, and we discovered that implementing IT automation can save millions of dollars at a certain scale. When the team connected the discovery with the acquisition of Ansible, we got a great reaction around the room.
There’s a lot that automation can do for OpenStack: installing the nodes, provisioning software inside the instances, and obviously configuring the applications. All these tasks must be performed manually and, because of this, are subject to the human error, and can become too time-consuming in a large scale cloud. I believe that customers will leverage automation to unlock OpenStack’s huge potential in specific use cases (for example, think about classroom setup in the Education industry) where a very select set of operations must be repeated over and over, at scale.
In terms of Red Hat’s management strategy, a lot of pieces are coming together, and so customers are starting to see the big picture that we envisioned originally. For example, we just announced a partnership with Microsoft, which will support our joint customers managing System Center and Azure clouds under a single pane of glass, side by side with all other virtualization infrastructure managers and public cloud providers we already integrate with.
Part of the agreement also allows our customers to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux workloads inside Azure; a lot of customers asked for this for a very long time. But now that it’s done, they are also asking for ways to manage the two worlds in an efficient way. I heard “It would be awesome if we could automate Linux and Windows provisioning and configuration with a single tool!”, and that’s the moment when I remind them that Ansible supports both operating systems out of the box.