What users are saying about

Ansible

66 Ratings

Terraform

24 Ratings

Ansible

66 Ratings
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Score 8.9 out of 101

Terraform

24 Ratings
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Score 9.1 out of 101

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Likelihood to Recommend

Ansible

I would recommend Ansible to any business of small to medium size that is looking for an automation tool. For any company looking for something lightweight that could be run on a personal computer rather than a server, I would recommend Ansible. I feel like it is well suited for smaller environments as the task load tends to be lighter and Ansible does usually have slower run times than larger scale tools like Chef and Puppet. Small scale cloud environments do very well as Ansible has a plethora of modules to support many different IaaS structures. Processes that have an extensive amount of tasks to perform are also not well-suited for Ansible in my opinion and should probably be avoided. Large scale implementations may also want to avoid Ansible as I feel that it scales poorly compared to some other competitors.
James McCoy profile photo

Terraform

Terraform is a great tool for building virtual infrastructures in clouds like Amazon and Google. If you are building a heterogenous infrastructure spanning multiple vendors, I don't know of any other single tool that can do that. Even in the case where you're just building AWS infrastructure, I prefer the HCL syntax of Terraform, and I dislike getting roped into using some of the Amazon tools.
Charles Anderson profile photo

Pros

  • Decentralized configuration management - Ansible supports "desired state" syntax and is a great alternative to centralized configuration management solutions. If you think that maintaining an infrastructure is an overkill for your needs, then you should consider Ansible. Ansible is "agentless" and all you need is version control, SSH access, and proper organization skills!
  • Great for writing clean and readable automation scripts. In my opinion, Ansible Playbooks are the new Shell scripts. It enforces readable structure yet maintains a great flexibility. Add to that, the ability to write playbooks in reusable "roles" as well as the large repository of built-in Ansible modules, Ansible becomes a very awesome alternative to writing complex Shell/Bash scripts.
  • Very powerful tool for system administrators to reliably and quickly interact with nodes of large clusters. With proper organization of your host inventory in versioned-control files, Ansible becomes an indispensable tool for Sys Admins to investigate issues and perform routine tasks across large clusters.
Aiman Najjar profile photo
  • I find the HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL) superior to raw JSON used by Cloud Formation.
  • Being open-source is a plus not just for "philosophical" reasons, but it also provide rapid support when new products are announced from vendors like Amazon.
  • The fact that it's free and open-source means that it's easy to start evaluating Terraform (and most of the other tools from HashiCorp) without being pressured by sales people.
Charles Anderson profile photo

Cons

  • There is no "official" Windows support for a host machine. Some of our team is on Windows, so this is a major drawback.
  • Some of the community-maintained packages break dependencies, requiring us to toggle a "verbose" flag in Ansible to dive into the details of what failed.
  • A recent update to Ansible itself broke on the LTS version of Ubuntu we were using. As older versions of Ansible had been purged from the package manager, we had to switch to a different installation routine entirely (using Python and pip) to restore to an active, reliable state.
Eric Mann profile photo
  • It's a command-line tool and as such, some users in our organization are not comfortable with that. We ended up wrapping the tool with a UI to give the less skilled users access as well as layering on top a templating system to abstract away best practices and make things far simpler to configure.
Kyle Rockman profile photo

Alternatives Considered

  • Ansible is much simpler to get up and running with than Chef, as it requires no infrastructure or agent process or any configuration on the target machine. All you need is SSH access! However, you lose the capabilities that Chef server offers such as data bags (centralized data store with support for encryption), authorization rules, inventory status, periodic configuration pulls, version locking etc.
  • Ansible combines both infrastructure orchestration and configuration capabilities, therefore it can be used as a single tool to both create and configure your VMs on the cloud. However, it lacks the comprehensive support of various cloud resource types that Terraform offers. Terraform can be integrated with Ansible instead to implement an end-to-end process.
  • Ansible is a great replacement for Bash scripts. It natively supports many modules that will save you so many lines of codes, enforces readable YAML structure and is still very flexible and powerful.
Aiman Najjar profile photo
Terraform has made better choices in how their product works, is used over time, and can be integrated with.
Kyle Rockman profile photo

Return on Investment

  • Ansible is a great investment if used for its well-suited scenarios. It has had a positive impact on my clients who used it to modernize their application deployment process. Ansible has 1) increased the reliability of the deployment process and 2) reduced scripts maintenance overhead.
  • Since Ansible is simpler and faster to get started with - compared to centralized configuration management solutions - it can be tempting to use it initially for simpler applications/infrastructure that are anticipated to evolve to complex ecosystems, you may find yourself having to rewrite in another tool in such cases.
Aiman Najjar profile photo
  • Provisioning SLA times was reduced.
  • Standard Terraform scripts helped standardize the configuration.
  • Clustering applications was easier.
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Pricing Details

Ansible

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

Terraform

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