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Network Automation with Ansible by Jason Edelman

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Chapter 2. What Is Ansible?

Ansible is one of the newer IT automation and configuration management platforms that exists in the open source world. It’s often compared to other tools such as Puppet, Chef, and SaltStack. Ansible emerged on the scene in 2012 as an open source project created by Michael DeHaan, who also created Cobbler and cocreated Func, both of which are very popular in the open source community. Less than 18 months after the Ansible open source project started, Ansible Inc. was formed and received $6 million in Series A funding. It became and is still the number one contributor to and supporter of the Ansible open source project. In October 2015, Red Hat acquired Ansible Inc.

But, what exactly is Ansible?

Ansible is a super-simple automation platform that is agentless and extensible.

Let’s dive into this statement in a bit more detail and look at the attributes of Ansible that have helped it gain a significant amount of traction within the industry.

Simple

One of the most attractive attributes of Ansible is that you DO NOT need any special coding skills in order to get started. All instructions, or tasks to be automated, are documented in a standard, human-readable data format that anyone can understand. It is not uncommon to have Ansible installed and automating tasks in under 30 minutes!

For example, the following task from an Ansible playbook is used to ensure a VLAN exists on a Cisco Nexus switch:

- nxos_vlan: vlan_id=100 name=web_vlan

You can tell by looking ...

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