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75 Ratings
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Score 8.7 out of 101
31 Ratings
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Score 8.6 out of 101

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Likelihood to Recommend

Ansible

I would recommend Ansible to anyone, but I recognize it might not fit everyone's needs. I'm not as familiar with Chef, Puppet, or Salt, but they each have their strengths. For us, we needed to be able to manage a new server the moment it was created, so agent-based solutions were out. For our use, Ansible does everything we've asked it to.
John Grosjean profile photo

Chef

Chef is great for managing complex and interconnected ecosystems. The centralized server makes it easy to gather facts from all nodes and store all parameter in centralized repository. For example, consider a scenario where your shared, main database hostname is going to change. With Chef, you can change the data bag and it will update all applications that are using this parameter. For simpler, quick and dirty needs. Chef overhead may not always be necessary. In those cases, Chef solo can be used but I still see other tools are more appropriate for that case.
Aiman Najjar profile photo

Pros

  • Installing and configuring software on instances.
  • Lightweight footprint. No agent required.
  • Predictable execution. Generally, the playbooks are run top to bottom.
Chien Huey profile photo
  • Centralized Configuration Management; Chef really excels at that as it provides a wide range of features that are well thought of, such as data bags, encrypted data bags, roles, shared repositories, cookbooks versioning, environment locking..etc
  • Chef is based on Ruby and therefore it has all the capabilities of this powerful scripting language, unlike other tools that has its own DSL. This means greater flexibility to implement really custom logic.
  • Chef community has made an impressive progress with regards to automated testing of cookbooks.
Aiman Najjar profile photo

Cons

  • Scheduling is not included in the OSS product, requires a purchase of Ansible Tower.
  • Relies solely on a reliable SSH connection.
  • No protection against concurrent playbook runs.
Chien Huey profile photo
  • Chef complexity sometimes backfires when managing large clusters. Since a node can have different sources for variables, it can easily get messy and hard to troubleshoot.
Aiman Najjar profile photo

Performance

Ansible7.5
Based on 2 answers
Out of the box, Ansible can be slow over a bad connection, as it's establishing an SSH connection to the target server for each little task. There are some adjustments you can make to the defaults that greatly improve performance. And if you run Ansible on the same network as the target (i.e. by using a jump box or Jenkins server), then it can be crazy fast. I'd give it a 10 for speed except that it does require these adjustments first.
John Grosjean profile photo
No score
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No answers on this topic

Alternatives Considered

Ansible is sufficient for our purposes because our configurations are relatively simple. Chef and Puppet would work better for more complex configurations. Also, our applications are deployed using Docker which simplifies our configuration requirements. An organization with more complex configurations would find Chef or Puppet suits their needs better.
Chien Huey profile photo
I really found that Chef to be much friendlier and innovative than Puppet. There is an opinion in the DevOps community that says that Chef is friendlier to programmers whereas Puppet is friendlier to system administrators. This might be true, as I do come from development background and felt right at home with Chef.
Aiman Najjar profile photo

Return on Investment

  • Ansible has allowed us to automate the configuration of singleton services like InfluxDB. Previously, the time series database had to be configured by hand which was time-consuming and error-prone.
Chien Huey profile photo
  • Speed of deployment. If new environments are needed, Chef can speed that process up.
  • Reliability of environments. Since Chef keeps things consistent, you know you're repeating your setup properly.
  • Reduce long term devops effort. It may take an initial investment to setup, however long term it pays off in saving time once the scripts are written.
Kevin Van Heusen profile photo

Pricing Details

Ansible

General
Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No
Additional Pricing Details

Chef

General
Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No
Additional Pricing Details