Review: Ansible beefs up IT automation

At a time when the configuration management market was dominated by Puppet and Chef, an open source project called Ansible emerged with a simpler approach to automating IT environments. An agentless system that was easy to learn, Ansible quickly earned a name for itself. Before long, the developers behind the project formed a company to offer commercial support. That company — first known as AnsibleWorks, then Ansible — was acquired by open source leader Red Hat in October 2015.

Docker. Ansible offers modules for building and running Docker containers, orchestrating containers across a Swarm cluster, and managing Docker images. There are advantages to building Docker images from Ansible playbooks instead of Dockerfiles. When you build an image from a Dockerfile, the application or environment can only be deployed in a  Docker container. But when you build an image using Ansible playbooks, the environments can easily be replicated on any infrastructure — bare metal, cloud instance, virtual machine, or Vagrant.

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