Author Archives: Nuno Martins
Author Archives: Nuno Martins
The use of Event-Driven Ansible to enable fact gathering from events is considered a “Getting Started” type of use case, but it can be extremely powerful. This use case is simple and it is what we consider a “Read Only” type of action, meaning that we are not making any changes, but we are using the event to trigger a fact gathering process which we can later publish to the IT Service Management system.
The benefit with this is we are able to provide consistent automated troubleshooting and fact gathering which is used to enrich the ticketing systems, so when our engineers have a look at the incident, they have all the information they need to decide on the next steps to resolve the issue or situation. This can potentially save many hours of toil and ultimately save an organization money from reduced down time and faster resolutions. But, we are assuming that our technical teams will know what to do with this event data.
What if we could assist with filling the gap when an incident takes place, and we could receive information or even options on how to resolve the issues? This is where we could use Continue reading
Like any well-rounded individual, in times of intense concentration, you will find me talking to myself in search of some hidden knowledge that I might have received in a dream, or perhaps quoting something from a fantasy novel about wizards and creatures in an attempt to fix a problem. Unfortunately, wearing a robe and shouting “Repairo Network!” while pointing my pen toward the device has yet to help in any situation.
At the 2023 AnsibleFest, as part of the main stage demonstration, I used the magic of Event-Driven Ansible to integrate ChatOps in our fictional infrastructure drama. ChatOps is not new, but I think it's a pretty cool way to make changes or interact with your infrastructure.
We know that Event-Driven Ansible requires a source for events, a list of conditions which we call rulesets, and ultimately an action to match those conditions, which makes it perfect to use as a chatbot-type system.
For me to have a heart-to-heart with my beloved network, I will need to configure my chat as a source of events for Event-Driven Ansible, and to do this, I will use the webhook source plugin, which is part of the ansible.eda collection. Continue reading
Late last year, we introduced a Red Hat Ansible Certified Collection Collection for Terraform. This was an important step in automation, as these two tools really are great together and leveraging Ansible's ability to orchestrate other tools in the enterprise made this a no-brainer. Terraform with its infrastructure as code (IaC) provisioning and Ansible’s strength in configuration as code are a synergy that cannot be ignored - we are better together! Organizations are now in the position to utilize their existing infrastructure as code manifests and extend their automation with Terraform and Ansible together.
Now, we are back with help from our partners at Kyndryl and XLAB and adding more value and magic to infrastructure as code - This time we have some extra muscle with an addition to the Red Hat Ansible Certified Content Collection: The Ansible provider for Terraform.
So what does the provider help us with?
Without a provider, we would need to rely on inventory plugins for the different cloud platforms and use filters to grab instance information from our freshly "Terraformed" infrastructure. This allows us to update our inventory so we can run automated tasks against these hosts. This is pretty smooth in Continue reading
A simple example - No Shut, No Problem
Since the announcement of Event-Driven Ansible, I cannot stop thinking about potential use cases. Can I get events to automate scaling? Could I use a filesystem event to trigger filesystem integrity checks? Could I get a slackbot to trigger my choice of heavy metal playlist based on a “mood” event? It's all possible! But let’s not go too crazy, not yet.
I started having a look at the fantastic work that one of our engineers, Nilashish Chakraborty has been doing around network telemetry and Ansible. This led me down the path to explore network events and what I could potentially do with something like Event-Driven Ansible. So let’s start with a super simple interface example.
Reaching out to the team at Arista, we started discussing and looking at the mechanisms they are using to get telemetry data. With Arista we are able to use gNMI, gNMI is an open source protocol specification created by the OpenConfig working group that is used to stream data to and from network devices. The OpenConfig working group operates as an open source project with contributions from network operators, equipment vendors in providing vendor-neutral Continue reading
“Dear Aunt Automation,
At Suncavanaugh Corp., we just got this super cool automation platform. It's called Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. Now, I'm really excited about all this and I have used Ansible before, but I'm worried about getting it working in our environments. How do I even get started with automation that needs to be production ready? What if I need help building what we need? How do I know what I build is good enough for production? This is pretty scary…
~ Chagrining in Chapel Hill “
We can understand these concerns, as this is something that many customers experience when they start their journey into automation. Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform has many tools to assist organizations from savings planner to Red Hat Insights, however, actually getting started still requires you to jump into some YAML and build your first production-ready playbook. You want to start automating, but you don’t know where to start. At AnsibleFest 2022, we announced a new addition to the content ecosystem offered through the platform. Drumroll please….. this is Ansible validated content.
Ansible validated content is expert-built automation content packaged as Collections that contain Ansible Continue reading
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
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
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.
Consider Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
In order to turn on Insights data collection, you’ll need: