Red Hat Delivers Cloud Control and Insight With Ansible Integration

On the second day of Red Hat Summit, CloudForms 4.5 and an update for Red Hat Insights debut, both benefiting from new integrations with Ansible's IT automation capabilities.

Red Hat

Red Hat announced new IT automation capabilities on May 3, including CloudForms 4.5 and an update for Red Hat Insights. The new releases debuted on the second day of the Red Hat Summit event in Boston.

While the first day of Red Hat Summit was largely about containers, the second day's focus is on automation. For Red Hat, automation comes in many forms, though in recent years the open-source Ansible IT automation platform has been the foundation. Red Hat acquired Ansible in October 2015 and has been working to integrate Ansible across its product portfolio ever since.

The new CloudForms 4.5 release is one such integration point for Ansible. CloudForms is Red Hat's hybrid cloud management platform and is largely based on the open-source ManageIQ project. Though there was a prior integration with Ansible in CloudForms, the new release provides more capabilities.

"Starting with CloudForms 4.5, native Ansible Automation integration enables you to directly connect CloudForms to your Ansible Playbook source control repository," Joe Fitzgerald, vice president, cloud management at Red Hat, told eWEEK. "This makes it easy to create a new catalog service from a single Playbook or create a CloudForms service item that orchestrates a series of Playbooks using infrastructure data and business logic, like approval thresholds in a workflow." 

Fitzgerald explained that Ansible Playbooks can now be directly executed as a result of CloudForms policies and/or events. For example, he said that a policy that checks for a system configuration at start time and finds that it is missing could automatically invoke a playbook to remediate the issue and then allow the system to start.

"The use cases for CloudForms and Ansible Tower are very different and highly complementary," Fitzgerald said. "We see many customers adopting both of them and think that will be the trend."

Looking forward for CloudForms and the ManageIQ open-source project, Fitzgerald said additional innovation is planned, including a fully containerized version and more multitenancy features.

Red Hat Insights

The Red Hat Insights software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering is also being updated to benefit from Ansible. Red Hat Insights is an intelligence platform that helps organizations to understand and remediate security and configuration issues.

"Insights proactively pinpoints infrastructure risks and prioritizes issues, enabling customers to focus on immediate threats and fix things faster," Fitzgerald said.  

Red Hat also has a configuration and deployment technology called Satellite that allows organizations to define their standard operating environment, provision and patch at scale. Fitzgerald explained that what Ansible Tower enables is the control of Ansible automation at enterprise-wide scale, and adds a stable API to programmatically tie Ansible automation into other tools within IT environments. Red Hat Insights can be used with or without Ansible Tower. 

"Ansible Tower integration enhances Insights playbook generation by providing integration into Tower’s enterprise-scale automation platform so that Insights findings can be automatically remediated as part of application and system automation processes," Fitzgerald said.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.