It's like the diet version of Chef
James McCoy profile photo
October 06, 2015

It's like the diet version of Chef

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

1.6.3

Modules Used

  • ec2, s3, ec2_elb, route53, mysql_db, mysql_user

Overall Satisfaction with Ansible

Ansible is a fantastic tool that addresses our need for automated system deployments. Using Ansible, we can easily scale environments as well as create new environments in a short amount of time. Currently, Ansible is only being used by our system administrator for system level tasks as most of our development tasks are handled by other software. Since we are a fairly small operation, Ansible is a much more lightweight option than other automation alternatives, like Chef and Puppet. The extensive amount of AWS modules also allowed for easy implementation.
  • It is very lightweight so it is great for running simple repetitive tasks such as restarting services, copying files, or running simple shell commands.
  • Ansible is fantastic for deploying servers in a cloud environment. The modules are very simple and easy to understand and deploying server images is surprisingly fast.
  • Ansible provides phenomenal documentation and has a very supportive community that works diligently to make modules as lightweight as possible without removing functionality.
  • Ansible is still in it's infancy as an open source automation tool compared to some of the more well-known competitors. This does lead to needing to create custom modules or utilizing some modules outside of their normal intended use to perform tasks.
  • Since Ansible runs each task individually over SSH, if you have a playbook with a large number of tasks to perform it can be a lengthier process due to some significant wait time between tasks. A simple solution is obviously to eliminate as many of these tasks as possible or break them up into separate play books.
  • We have been able to deploy solutions to client issues without impacting uptime.
  • Most system administration tasks have been automated so I am now free to work on architectural improvements or customer support.
  • Our customer support has improved thanks to Ansible as it has allowed me more time away from repetitive system activities so I may assist with customer questions and application testing.
  • Chef
We selected Ansible over Chef as our current company size does not have a need for an extensive product like Chef. I do feel like Chef does a lot of things better than Ansible, but I also believe this is due to Ansible being a newer technology. Ansible also offers much lower overhead and the learning curve is much lower.
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.

Ansible Feature Ratings