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Red Hat's Ansible 2.1 Offers Azure Support, Network Automation

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Red Hat, the Linux with support people, announced the release of Ansible 2.1 today.

Ansible, which was purchased in 2015 by Red Hat, is the company's automation framework, allowing for configuring and managing client computers, as well as deploying software and ad hoc task execution. Ansible is an agentless framework that works over JSON with locally installed scripting languages.

The big news for the 2.1 release is new support for Microsoft Windows environments and Microsoft Azure. Increased Azure support now allows full usage of Azure Resource Manager functionality.

"By extending Ansible's capabilities into Microsoft Windows and Azure environments and networking, our users can further expand their automation capabilities into their environment, helping to make their operations as hybrid as their IT," said Tim Cramer, Head of Ansible Engineering at Red Hat.

New features include a simple reboot using a new win_reboot action. This helps solve the issue of generating a remote, automated reboot for the many configuration changes or software installations that require a Windows reboot to fully implement. A new set of official Windows modules replace previously user written versions, allowing Windows files sharing, and Windows firewall setup and configuration.

In addition, Ansible 2.1 promises easier management of domain joined machines using NT LAN Manager, reducing the need for configuring and managing Kerberos. Where Kerberos is used, new delegation for multi-hop scenarios offers better credential flow.

Beyond the Microsoft enhancements, Ansible 2.1 also offers new expanded support for Docker containers, as well as improvements to existing Docker modules. Users can now embed Docker Compose into Ansible playbooks.

Finally, the Ansible 2.1 release marks the general availability of the network automation support that the company first showed in February. Ansible now allows actual network infrastructure to be managed in the same way as it manages clients and cloud services. Network infrastructure support comes from more than 40 new core modules supporting network equipment running Cisco, Cumulus Networks, Juniper Networks, OpenSwitch, and Arista EOS.

Ansible 2.1 is available now via GitHub, PyPi, and package manager for most major distributions of Linux.