Our favorite configuration management and deployment tool just received a major boost today, in the form of a new commercial company: AnsibleWorks. Started by Michael DeHaan, the Ansible project founder and lead, this new company will be providing support, products and services within the Ansible ecosystem.
If you’re doing anything with servers – anything at all – you would probably benefit from using Ansible. It’s so simple and flexible that you’ll find it makes an ideal replacement for Chef, Puppet, Fabric, Func, Make, shell scripting, and build tools. Anything that involves automation of a process on servers, could probably be done more easily using Ansible. At Four Kitchens, we use it in our Jenkins jobs to perform ad-hoc tasks, for building Vagrant virtual machines, and configuring our development environments. One tool, one language, no daemons, all over SSH, simple and human-readable.
We love it so much that we’ve been helping to make it better, too. We wrote and contributed the MySQL and MongoDB modules, which are part of the Ansible core, as well as some general improvements, bug fixes and documentation. The strength and support of the community is definitely a major feature of the ecosystem, and we really hope our contributions will help to build its reputation and adoption.
Just how big is it? Well, one measure is the number of stars and forks of the project’s Github repository. Compared to Puppet‘s 1197 stars, Ansible has 1211 – despite being much younger. Puppet has more forks – I’ll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions about that.
To get started using Ansible, check out the introductory blog post I wrote last year, then move to the community documentation, and some of the playbooks we’ve contributed that perform common LAMP setup tasks.