Red Hat is updating its Ansible Engine technology with the new 2.6 release that became generally available on July 17.
New features in Ansible Engine 2.6 support automation across multicloud application deployments. Enhanced networking features in Ansible now make it easier for organizations to support different types of software-defined networking (SDN). In addition, Red Hat has boosted support for Microsoft Windows environments in the new Ansible update.
"There are a few all-new capabilities in Ansible that are focused on hybrid and multicloud environments," Justin Nemmers, general manager of Ansible at Red Hat, told eWEEK. "One of the highlights is the ability to pull native facts from additional AWS and Azure cloud services."
Red Hat acquired Ansible, DevOps automation and configuration management technology, in October 2015 and has continued to evolve the technology capabilities ever since.
While Ansible has provided orchestration capabilities for AWS and Azure in the past, Nemmers said using AWS RDS instances or Azure generic resource facts was possible previously but required additional legwork from Ansible users to collect this information. With Ansible Engine 2.6, Nemmers said it's much easier.
Ansible Engine 2.6 also extends support to VMware hypervisor and cloud environments. An increasing number of Ansible customers have hybrid environments and want to be able to manage and automate infrastructure that's both on-premises and in the cloud in the same way, he said.
"For those with VMware Cloud on AWS, users can automate both on-prem and cloud infrastructure seamlessly," Nemmers said. "Between Ansible Engine 2.5 and 2.6, we’ve added 26 modules to help streamline automation of their VMware infrastructure."
Among the improved components is support for things like tags and fact gathering, as well as deployment and management of VMware infrastructure and the virtual machines, networks and configurations that are deployed into VMware-based infrastructures.
A core element of Red Hat's Ansible platform is the network automation component, which now includes supported integrations with Arista (EOS), Cisco (IOS, IOS XR, NX-OS), Juniper (JunOS), Open vSwitch and VyOS. The networking support is being delivered with vendor-agnostic modules that use a common language for controlling networks.
Nemmers said Red Hat has enabled a Role-based approach that will enable Ansible to distribute Roles that solve specific customer use cases in an agnostic manner. An Ansible Role is essentially a specialized Playbook that’s been formatted to make it portable, he said.
"The Ansible Network Automation offering includes Ansible Tower and Ansible Engine, providing customers everything they need to automate their network environments at scale," Nemmers said.
Ansible Tower is a manager for Ansible automation activities. For customers to gain value from Ansible, they need to automate with Engine, which does the heavy lifting of automation in their environments; then they use Ansible Tower to scale that automation across the IT organization, he said.
Alongside the Ansible Engine 2.6 update, Red Hat is also releasing Ansible Galaxy 3.0.
"Galaxy is a public-facing repository for community and partner-generated Ansible Roles, which are the preferred way to share Ansible content among teams because of their portability," Nemmers said. "This latest version of Ansible Galaxy features an improved user interface, modernized code base, and new containerized infrastructure provided by Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated."
In addition, Nemmers said Ansible Galaxy 3.0 adds support for OpenShift Ansible Broker content to define and distribute multi-container services on Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated using the power of Ansible Automation.
Nemmers said that the Ansible development teams are working on many different things and are continuing to seek ways to lower the barrier of entry to enterprise automation.
"For us, Ansible is more than just a really great automation platform. It's a killer IT productivity tool—and one that can help IT orgs drive their organizational culture in open, collaborative and otherwise positive ways, which really is a must in order to succeed with their digital transformation initiatives," he said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.