UPDATED 14:49 EDT / JUNE 23 2020

INFRA

Red Hat upgrades Ansible Automation Platform to streamline IT tasks

Red Hat today released a new version of the Ansible Automation Platform, its suite of software products for automating information technology management tasks.

The suite is based on Ansible, a popular open-source tool maintained by Red Hat that lets administrators create scripts called playbooks to handle repetitive IT chores automatically. The Ansible Automation Platform also includes other tools such as analytics features.

The main highlight of today’s update is a collection of 17 pre-packaged playbooks developed by Red Hat. They help automate management tasks on Amazon Web Services, as well as workflows involving certain products from Red Hat parent IBM Corp., Cisco Networks Inc., Splunk Inc. and others.

The new Red Hat-developed playbooks mark something of a turning point in Ansible Automation Platform’s development. Previously, such pre-packaged automation content was released only every six to eight months when a new Ansible software version rolled out. Red Hat has decoupled these two release cycles with today’s update, allowing playbooks to be released more often.

“This also allows for the underlying Ansible execution engine to track for much longer release cadences in order to maintain stability, while content can be released at its own cadence,” Red Hat producer manager Andrius Benokraitis added in a blog post.

The new playbooks are available in the Ansible Content Collections component of the suite alongside 30 partner-developed entries.

Red Hat also used the opportunity to improve upon several other parts of the Ansible Automation Platform. Customers now have access to an automation services catalog, a kind of app store through which employees can ask the IT department to provision resources such as Linux servers. Additionally, Red Hat made performance improvements to increase the speed at which Ansible workflows such as server provisioning tasks are carried out.

Rounding out the update is a feature Red Hat has dubbed “automation calculator.” It’s an analytics tool that helps customers measure the return on investment from their Ansible automation initiatives, both past and present, as well as forecast the potential future benefits from a new project in the pipeline.

Automation tools such as Ansible have a big role in enterprise cloud projects because public and hybrid cloud environments can be difficult to manage manually. Other players, among them HashiCorp. Inc., are also targeting this opportunity. The revenue opportunities in the public cloud were a big part of the reason IBM acquired Red Hat for $34 billion last year.

Photo: Red Hat

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