What is Ansible? Ansible is an open-source IT automation engine, which can remove drudgery from your work life, and will also dramatically improve the scalability, consistency, and reliability of your IT environment. We’ll start to explore how to automate repetitive system administration tasks using Ansible, and if you want to learn more, you can go much deeper into how to use Ansible with Cloud Academy’s new Introduction to Ansible learning path.
What is Ansible and what can it automate?
You can use Ansible to automate three types of tasks:

Provisioning: Set up the various servers you need in your infrastructure.
Configuration management: Change the configuration of an application, OS, or device; start and stop services; install or update applications; implement a security policy; or perform a wide variety of other configuration tasks.
Application deployment: Make DevOps easier by automating the deployment of internally developed applications to your production systems.

Ansible can automate IT environments whether they are hosted on traditional bare metal servers, virtualization platforms, or in the cloud. It can also automate the configuration of a wide range of systems and devices such as databases, storage devices, networks, firewalls, and many others.
The best part is that you don’t even need to know the commands used to accomplish a particular task. You just need to specify what state you want the system to be in and Ansible will take care of it. For example, to ensure that your web servers are running the latest version of Apache, you could use a playbook similar to the following and Ansible would handle the details.

– hosts: webservers
 vars:
   http_port: 80
   max_clients: 200
 remote_user: root
 tasks:
 – name: ensure apache is at the latest version
   yum: name=httpd state=latest
 – name: write the apache config file
   template: src=/srv/httpd.j2 dest=/etc/httpd.conf
   notify:
   – restart apache
 – name: ensure apache is running (and enable it at

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