Ansible automation

Raisa is a RHEL Sysadmin at Intel. She wants to improve her skills, and she wants to master Ansible automation. Please answer these questions for her:

  1. What is Ansible?
  2. What is the history Ansible?
  3. What are some of the best Ansible use cases?
  4. What are the strenths and weaknesses of Ansible?
  5. Please give examples of some tasks that can be autonated using Ansible?
  6. Pick one Ansible task, and generate all of the Anisible files and commands that would be needed to complete this task.

What is Ansible?

Ansible is a Free Software/open-source automation tool that allows system administrators and software engineers to automate the configuration, deployment, and orchestration of applications and systems. Ansible uses YAML (YAML Ain't Markup Language) to define automation tasks in a simple, human-readable format. Ansible communicates and manages nodes over SSH, without requiring agents on the remote systems.

What is the history of Ansible?

Ansible was created by Michael DeHaan and launched in February 2012. In 2015, Red Hat acquired Ansible, Inc., further integrating it into its suite of tools for simplifying and managing IT infrastructure. Ansible has grown in popularity due to its simplicity, ease of use, and robust community and module support.

What are some of the best Ansible use cases?

  1. Configuration Management: Managing and configuring system configurations across a wide range of systems, ensuring that they maintain a specific state.

  2. Provisioning: Automating the process of setting up servers, whether in cloud environments or on-premises.

  3. Application Deployment: Automating the deployment of applications, ensuring that they are correctly configured and ready to run.

  4. Continuous Delivery: Integrating with CI/CD pipelines to automate parts of the software delivery process.

  5. Security Automation: Managing security policies and enforcing security configurations automatically.

  6. Orchestration: Coordinating actions across multiple systems, ensuring that systems work together as expected.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of Ansible?


  • Simplicity and Ease of Use: Uses YAML for writing automation scripts, making it more accessible.

  • Agentless: Doesn’t require agents to be installed on the managed nodes.

  • Modular: Has a wide range of modules supporting various technologies and platforms.

  • Community and Support: A robust community and strong support from Red Hat.

  • Integration: Integrates well with other tools and technologies.


  • Performance: Being agentless and relying on SSH might not be as efficient as agent-based solutions in some scenarios.

  • Scalability: Might face challenges when managing an extremely large number of nodes.

  • Error Handling: Error messages and debugging information could be improved for better issue resolution.

Examples of tasks that can be automated using Ansible:

  • Installing and configuring web servers like Apache or Nginx.
  • Managing users and groups on Linux systems.
  • Applying security patches to systems.
  • Managing cloud resources in AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud.
  • Setting up databases like MySQL or PostgreSQL.

Example of an Ansible Task: Installing and configuring Nginx on a RHEL system

Step 1: Create an Inventory File inventory.ini

[webserver] ansible_ssh_user=raisa

Step 2: Create a Playbook nginx_install.yml

--- - name: Install and Configure Nginx
hosts: webserver
become: yes
- name: Ensure Nginx is installed
name: nginx
state: present
- name: Start and enable Nginx service
name: nginx
state: started
enabled: yes

Step 3: Run the Playbook

ansible-playbook -i inventory.ini nginx_install.yml

This example assumes that you have SSH access to the target RHEL system and appropriate privileges. The playbook will install Nginx and ensure that the service is started and enabled at boot.

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