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The Business Value of Automation with Ansible and IBM i

IBM Pre-Sales Architect for Power Systems and Cloud Benoit Marolleau explains the business value of automation with Red Hat Ansible for IBM i environments.

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Ansible is a fantastic agentless, free and open source technology that allows you to automate various tasks like cloud provisioning, configuration management and application deployment. It is easy to use, reliable and secure. “Agentless” means that you don’t have to install anything on managed nodes. Simply declare what you want to be running in your IT environment and Ansible will do the rest without having to explicitly describe how. The most common use cases for Ansible are:
 
  • Automation of repeatable operations tasks like system administration, code build, deployment and QA tests in your DevOps CI/CD pipeline
  • Cloud infrastructure and application provisioning, complementing other “Infrastructure as Code” technologies like Terraform
  • Configuration and security compliance reinforcement by checking and fixing systems settings versus policies in place 
 
This Python-based technology is driven by a vibrant community and available at no charge with the community version. Just install the Ansible engine on your control node and you are ready to go! All that is needed is to install Ansible on the control host and Python and SSH access on the targets. 
 
Users that require enterprise-level support can take advantage of supported Ansible solutions provided by Red Hat with additional functionalities for more control, automation and visibility. 
 

Ansible and IBM i

Cloud and DevOps on IBM i is more than ever at your fingertips! IBM i can be seen by Ansible like any other platform and act as an Ansible-managed node endpoint, leveraging both the existing Ansible core modules and specific IBM i modules continuously developed and shared by the open source community. For more traditional environments that don’t require frequent changes, configuration management brought by Ansible is a way to control what’s going on and help operations teams in their daily tasks, using the same abstraction layer and “infrastructure as code” technology for every platform. Write your first “playbook” in YAML format to describe what you want on your managed node “inventory” and Ansible will:

 

  •  Save or restore objects, manage servers or jobs and check and install PTFs
  • ·Control your security settings, like managing user profiles and authorities, or check IFS rights. Ansible gathers facts and can remediate any security deviations
  • Install a new Licensed Program Product or application version containing libraries, database and integrated file system artifacts
  • Deploy or clone a new environment on an IBM i virtual machine on either a private or public cloud
  • Orchestrate all of the above or a subset of these tasks 

 

The Business Value of Automation with Ansible and IBM i

Now’s the time to get started with Ansible and unleash its potential for IBM i! Ansible is free, and it’s available right now for IBM i automation, control and rationalization. It’s even easier to use than executing manual procedures and is particularly efficient for new hires onboarding. 

You can find many useful resources and examples in the open source community and in the Ansible for IBM i GitHub repository.

 Thank you to Joe Cropper and Wang Yun for their help and support with writing this blog.

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