3 Tips for Managers Rolling Out Ansible

“Just fell in love with @Rundeck to let non-ops people run @ansible playbooks.”-CTO, Digital Agency


That about sums it up. One of the things we’ve learned over the years at Rundeck is that our users employ a mixed bag of tools to keep all the operations balls in the air. One of the more popular is Ansible. Many Rundeck users implement Ansible to automate app deployment and systems management tasks. Would you like to hand off some repeatable tasks to non-Ops people? How can you be like the CTO quoted above and make your Ansible operations run smoother? Here are three things that you need to keep in mind when running an Ops automation tool like Ansible.

1.     Integrate the Legacy and the New

Enterprises are heterogeneous environments, with multiple generations of tools, technologies, platforms, and skills. Ops teams are challenged with servicing disparate constituents that may or may not have Ansible knowledge. Sometimes teams might even rebel against learning new technologies. But to keep Ops running, you need to perform tasks that span multiple silos of different tools and technologies. Rundeck makes it easy to create procedures that orchestrate and schedule actions across any silo — legacy or new — that you may encounter. Rundeck makes it easy to integrate your Ansible automation with the rest of your world..

2.     Embrace Self-Service

Operations is under increased pressure to safely provide self-service access to operations procedures. Whether it be for improving organizational capacity or implementing new DevOps-inspired lifecycles, Operations needs to empower people who sit beyond the boundaries of a traditional Operations team.

People often think that self-service is an all or nothing proposition where either you hand over full access or deny all access. Don’t think of automated operations procedures as a monolith. Instead, think about your break automated operations procedures as three distinct elements: the ability to define a procedure, the ability to execute that procedure, and the governance around that procedure.

Once separated, you can start to see how each element can be distributed to the teams and roles in your organization where it most improves the flow of work or utilization of labor. This enables you to safely delegate repeatable tasks to people outside of traditional ops roles.

Like the above-mentioned software company CTO, you can use Rundeck to make Ansible playbooks accessible to teams outside of Ops. Ansible users can leverage Rundeck's fine-grained access controls and easy-to-use UI to both setup and keep tight control over self-service capabilities.

3.     Lower the Learning Curve

One of the main reasons users balk at new tools is the learning curve involved. We get it. Everyone is busy and the thought of another change can be daunting. In today’s fast-paced, environment, Ops is hard pressed to convince other teams to rally around new software, even if you can make the case that it is for their benefit. The key is to make the new tool fit as seamlessly as possible in the existing way that those other teams like to work.

What makes a transition smoother? Start with an intuitive user experience that works the way they want to work (GUI, API, or CLI). Offering them pre-built integration for their Ansible automation and other tools or systems is the next step. Lastly, give them a way to easily tie all of this together. By lowering the learning curve, you’ll encourage more experimentation and sharing within your organization. At Rundeck, we’ve found that by lowering the learning curve the viral adoption of Rundeck has spread both within our customers and across the industry.

Want to learn more about Rundeck +  Ansible? Check out this blog and video.

Ready to dive in and try it yourself? Start a free Rundeck Pro trial today.

Want to talk about how to enable Self-Service Operations in your company? Contact us.

Damon Edwards

Damon Edwards is a co-founder of Rundeck, Inc. and cares a lot about improving IT operations and how enterprises operate.

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