Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Ansible is free IT automation software developed by Michael DeHaan and owned by Red Hat. Ansible is part of Red Hat's four-piece systems management tool set for enterprise IT, which also includes Satellite, CloudForms and the Red Hat Insights service. There is a free open source version of the software and a paid version, Ansible Tower.

IT automation products connect disparate systems and software in such a way that they can become self-acting or self-regulating. Ansible facilitates the automation of common IT tasks such as configuration management, deploying and updating applications on premises or in the cloud and creating development environments.

 The three major components of Ansible:

  • An automation language that describes application infrastructure in Ansible Playbooks.
  • An automation engine that runs Playbooks.
  • An enterprise framework, called Ansible Tower, that controls, secures and manages automation.

With Ansible, labor-intensive script writing can be avoided; automation is accomplished using near-natural language. Ansible provides configuration management with multi-node software deployment and ad-hoc task execution. When used on remote systems, Ansible does not require the installation of agents to run in the background, removing a potential point of failure and security vulnerability and simultaneously saving system resources.

Ansible is Windows-compatible, requiring SSH over PowerShell (3.0 or greater). The software is Linux-compatible with Python 2.4 or later and is packaged with the Fedora distro.

Red Hat acquired Ansible in 2015.

See a quick introduction to Ansible:

This was last updated in August 2016

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