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What is Ansible?

Ansible is a configuration management platform that automates storage, servers, and networking. When you use Ansible to configure these components, difficult manual tasks become repeatable and less vulnerable to error.

How does Ansible work?

Ansible simplifies IT automation by capturing an array of IT resources and supporting multitier deployments from day 1. Ansible consolidates resources across multiple systems to manage them from a single platform rather than requiring management from one system at a time. Code, lifecycle, and changes can be managed through inventory, playbooks, and roles.

A configuration management system like Ansible is made up of several components. The systems that are managed can include servers, storage, networking, and software. These are the targets of the configuration management system. The goal is to maintain these systems in known, determined states. Another aspect of a configuration management system is the description of the desired state for the system. The third major aspect of a configuration management system is automation software, which is responsible for making sure that the target systems and software are maintained in the desired state.

Using Ansible significantly reduces configuration time and day 0 deployments. Ansible’s agentless and easy-to-learn approach to configuration management makes it a favorite of IT admins.

Ansible modules for NetApp® ONTAP® software and Element® OS take infrastructure automation a step further. By leveraging Ansible modules, NetApp customers can simplify complex day 0 infrastructure and application deployments and automate simple volume creation.

Benefits of Ansible

Simplified Automation 

Ansible is a simple-to-use platform, easy to install and configure, with a very fast learning rate. In less than 30 minutes, it’s possible to install and configure the system and execute ad hoc commands for servers to solve a specific problem: daylight saving time adjustments, time synchronization, root password change, updating servers, restarting services, and so on. 

Low Learning Curve 

Ansible is easy to deploy because it uses no agents or additional custom security infrastructure. It also leverages YAML, a simple language to describe your automation job via playbooks. Playbooks push the desired settings on the hosts defined in the inventory and can even be run ad hoc (via the command line, not requiring definitions in files). 

Automate Now 

From the moment you can ping the hosts through Ansible, you can start automating your environment. Begin with small tasks, following best practices, prioritizing tasks that add value to the business, solve major problems, and gain time and improving productivity.

Why the NetApp Ansible partnership is important

Keeping up with the pace of business can bring several challenges; delivering infrastructure resources should not be one of them. When using Ansible on any NetApp platform, the provisioning of resources becomes simple, automated, and repeatable from day 1. You can automate time-consuming IT tasks and drive a collaborative culture to support DevOps initiatives.

With the addition of more than 60 new modules to the Ansible library, NetApp delivers the most robust integration with Ansible of any storage vendor on the market. With this extensive library of modules, Ansible users can easily develop and deploy playbooks to automate storage tasks without needing to learn the nuances of the specific NetApp product.

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