Nuno Martins

Author Archives: Nuno Martins

Walking on Clouds with Ansible

Today is a good day, and when it's a day like this we often feel like we are walking on clouds. With this latest announcement for the newest Red Hat Ansible Certified Collections available to our customers on the 28th of November, I am sure many cloud practitioners will be anticipating what the future will bring for their cloud automation. 

Over the last few months, there has been a fair amount of activity in the Ansible team showing how Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform can extend and connect different technologies. This has been a crucial component of Ansible’s success in cloud automation for many customers.

 

Cloud automation requires the ability to perform many different complicated tasks and cover just as many domains. Often, organizations have different technologies to meet specific requirements and needs. One of the technologies widely used is Terraform.  

We have done a number of blogs recently on the topic, ranging from a simple example of using Terraform with Ansible Automation Platform - Terraforming Clouds with Ansible, to in-depth looks at the differences between the tools - Ansible vs Terraform Demystified and Ansible vs Terraform, clarified. AnsibleFest 2022 even featured a lab where we Continue reading

Getting Started with Event-Driven Ansible

 As one technology advances, it expands the possibilities for other technologies and offers the solutions of tomorrow for the challenges we face today. AnsibleFest 2022 brings us new advances in Ansible automation that are as bright as they are innovative. I am talking about the Event-Driven Ansible developer preview.

Automation allows us to give our systems and technology speed and agility while minimizing human error. However, when it comes to trouble tickets and issues, we are often left to traditional and manual methods of troubleshooting and information gathering. We inherently slow things down and interrupt our businesses. We have to gather information, try our common troubleshooting steps, confirm with different teams, and eventually, we need to sleep. 

Support lifecycle diagram with many manual steps and hand-offs.

 

One application of Event-Driven Ansible is to remediate technology issues before near real-time, or at least trigger troubleshooting and information collection in an attempt to find the root cause of an outage while your support teams handle other issues. 

Event driven automation used in the support lifecycle: fewer steps, faster Mean-Time-To-Resolution.  

 

Event-Driven Ansible has the potential to change the way we respond to issues and illuminates many new automation Continue reading

Why Event-Driven Matters

why event driven matters blog

Life comes down to moments. These events are often how we define our achievements, successes, and failures throughout life. Just like our daily lives, IT organizations and teams can also have these defining moments, where you will often hear phrases like the "great database crash of '98." Many of these memorable IT  moments occur from limiting ourselves to a reactive approach when it comes to managing our IT assets. This is where event-driven automation can help us move from reactive to proactive IT management – well before we have the next great issue or moment in our IT teams. 

In an IT context, events come from monitoring or other tools to tell us when something needs attention.  With this event data, we are able respond faster with automated tasks, resolving issues or enhancing observation where needed, often so we can identify and address festering issues before they are full blown problems. A byproduct of this means teams are now able to spend more time innovating, and are able to realize greater work-life balance because  troubleshooting patterns and remediation approaches are automatically initiated based on an initial event in your environments. 

 

Events on the Infrastructure

Consider Continue reading

Terraforming clouds with Ansible

 

The wheel was invented in the 4th millennium BC. Now, in the 4th millennium, I am sure the wheel was the hottest thing on the block, and only the most popular Neolithic cool cats had wheels. Fast forward to the present day, and we can all agree that the wheel is nothing really to write home about. It is part of our daily lives. The wheel is not sexy. If we want the wheel to become sexy again we just need to slap a sports car together with all the latest gadgets and flux capacitors in a nice Ansible red, and voilà! We have something we want to talk about. 

Like the sports car, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform has the same ability to turn existing resources into something a bit more intriguing. It can enhance toolsets and extend them further into an automation workflow. 

Let's take Terraform. Terraform is a tool used often for infrastructure-as-code. It is a great tool to use when provisioning infrastructure in a repeatable way across multiple large public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Many organizations use Terraform for quick infrastructure provisioning every Continue reading

Event-driven remediation with systemd and Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform

Over the many years of working as an engineer and architect with a particular interest in storage, I have learned that donuts and energy drinks can really bring you some joy in trying situations. When it seems that your infrastructure is on fire and you need an exorcist to help you find the ghost in the machine, a humble box of glazed donuts can give you and your team a much-needed break and allow you to refocus. 

Now, the issue with this habit is that it might help you in the moment, but over time this can become a real health issue. Configuration drift, technical issues, and technical debt can all have similar effects on your health, increasing your heart rate and causing sleepless nights. Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform can assist you here with not only keeping your infrastructure in check, but also giving your teams the peace of mind that systems are running as they should. 

Being able to schedule compliance checks on your systems with Ansible Automation Platform enables you to preserve configuration and system states, and keep them running the way you prefer. But sometimes this is not proactive enough. What if you have Continue reading

Configuring an AWS dynamic inventory with Automation controller

One of the core components of Ansible is inventories. In its most basic form, an inventory provides host information to Ansible so it can trigger the tasks on the right host or system. In most environments, the static inventory is sufficient for the Ansible control node to work from, however as we expand our use of automation, we need to transition to more effective methods of gathering ever-changing environment details.

This is where the use of a dynamic inventory is beneficial. This allows the platform to gather information for the inventory from environments that are not static sources. A prime example of this is using a dynamic inventory plugin to gather inventory information from a cloud provider or hypervisor, enabling you to keep an inventory up to date with instance details.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the biggest public cloud providers used around the world. Organizations use their Elastic Compute Cloud services (EC2) for their workflows, however managing an inventory for your instances running on AWS would typically have to be done manually, which is problematic and time consuming. Using the AWS Identity and Access Management interface (IAM), we are able to get programmatic access to the AWS Continue reading

The Ansible cookie: Magic in the middle

If Ansible Automation Platform was compared to the crunchy goodness of a cookie, private automation hub would be the sweet center bringing it all together and making your mouth water!

Private automation hub provides organizations with a central location for their automation resources. Ansible automation hub is part of the hosted services from console.redhat.com. This hosted offering provides automation adepts access to Red Hat Ansible Certified Content Collections for several industry-leading technologies and partners.

Private automation hub brings this functionality on-premises and allows for users to curate their custom automation content with not only Red Hat Ansible Certified Content but with community content from Ansible Galaxy. Private automation hub also acts as a container registry where we can store and distribute the automation execution environments needed for Ansible Automation Platform 2. 

How do we get started with building our own private automation hub and use it in our enterprise? How do automation controller and private automation hub interact?

Let’s get cooking and build our mouthwatering automating platform! 

To deploy the “magic in the middle,” we are going to use the Ansible Automation Platform installer from our automation controller node. Since we are installing a private automation Continue reading

Forecasting and tracking the ROI of automation

Great ideas start with coffee, but business innovation starts with automation. Just like that morning jolt of warm friendly caffeine, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform has the ability to enhance, optimize and make your technology stack flow like the beloved beverage most of the world consumes on a daily basis.

It is easy to discuss all the technical benefits that Ansible Automation Platform can bring to organizations, but what about the business benefits? How can you observe the state of your automation and return on investment (ROI)? How can you explain the financial impact of automation to key stakeholders? The answer to all of these questions is Red Hat Insights for Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform.

Red Hat Insights is an analytics platform to help you understand your automation efforts. It lets your data work for you by proactively identifying and correcting issues. Included as a hosted service offering with Ansible Automation Platform, Insights provides a visual dashboard to indicate automation performance, health notifications, organizational statistics, and more.

The most relevant features within Insights for IT business leaders and decision makers  who want to validate their automation strategy are Reports, Savings Planner and Automation Calculator

Tracking how automation Continue reading

How to Activate Red Hat Insights for Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform

Note: This blog refers to Red Hat Insights using Ansible Automation Platform 2.1. Automation controller is the control plane for Ansible Automation Platform, formerly known as Red Hat Ansible Tower.

An indispensable but sometimes overlooked tool included with an Ansible Automation Platform subscription is the cloud-based service, Red Hat Insights for Ansible Automation Platform.

Insights is a suite of reporting and analytics tools to help you identify, troubleshoot, and resolve operational, business, and security issues across your entire ecosystem. You can also use Insights to track the ROI of your automation investment and plan future automation projects to prioritize your efforts where they will have the biggest impact on your business.

Before you can start using Insights to better understand your automation estate and make data-driven decisions, you need to set up the flow of information from your enterprise into the Red Hat Hybrid Cloud Console.

What you’ll need to activate Insights for Ansible Automation Platform

In order to turn on Insights data collection, you’ll need: