Whether you’re building an application, or you’re running complex infrastructure for a large corporation, you’ll eventually encounter repetitive tasks that need to be completed again and again. That’s where Ansible comes into play. Ansible is an open source tool that has been backed by Red Hat since 2015. It gives you the ability to control and configure multiple servers, from one location, instead of having to go into each server and manually configuring them. By doing so, you can automate all of your tasks!
For example, if you watched last weeks Weekly Update video, What is a Database, or you’ve tried configuring a database before, then you know that it involves a few different steps:
  1. Install the database management system.
  2. Set a username and password with the correct user permissions.
  3. Configure your application to connect to your newly created database.
Using Ansible, you can configure all of those steps once and then have them run countless times in exactly the same way.  This reduces the potential of human error while letting you quickly scale to handle demand, and automate application deployments.
There are a few alternatives to Ansible such as Puppet, Chef, and Salt, but Ansible is often regarded as the simplest tool to use, which is very attractive for beginners. 
Why is it considered to be the simplest? Because of how it is presented. Ansible uses YAML to describe your automation jobs, which is easy to learn in comparison to other languages because it looks very similar to plain English. It is also lightweight, which means it doesn’t require a lot of computer resources to run. For example, Ansible only requires SSH access to run commands on the servers that it manages, compared to the alternative tools which require that you install an agent on all of those servers to communicate with them.
Now what’s great is that Ansible has a free version available! But if you need access to more advanced features, there is a paid version of Ansible that provides you with features like:
  • An Ansible Dashboard with real-time monitoring
  • Multi-Playbook workflows
  • Scheduling jobs
  • and others
There’s even more to Ansible that we couldn’t possibly cover in this blog, such as Ansible playbooks, or even how to install and deploy Ansible. But you can do all of that and more in our free Ansible Quick Start course on Linux Academy, right now. You’ll also have access to all of the hands-on labs connected to that course so you can practice using Ansible in real-world environments.

New Releases

Along with our Ansible Quick Start course, we have multiple new courses and hands-on labs coming out this week along with an update on an upcoming study group, Understanding Burnout. Here is a list of our most recent hands-on labs and the courses they are connected to:
And, for our audiophiles, don’t forget about our weekly podcasts:
  • Choose LinuxZorin OS 15 + LineageOS: Zorin OS is described as “a powerful desktop you already know how to use.” It’s elegant, beginner-friendly, and looks beautiful. Should we be paying more attention to it? Then, in another first, Jason installs his first alternative mobile OS, and Joe gives advice on getting the most out of LineageOS. Unfortunately, we end the episode by saying goodbye to Jason as he moves on to pursue several independent projects, but the show will go on with the same spirit of discovery and newness!
  • Coder RadioZEEEE Shell!: Apple is shaking up the foundations of UI development with SwiftUI and raising developer eyebrows with a new default shell on MacOS. Plus feedback with a FOSS dilemma and an update on our 7 languages challenge.
  • Linux Action NewsLinux Action News 110: Veterans in the community show us how to build services properly, Huawei is reportedly working on a Sailfish OS fork, and Apple joins the Cloud Native club. Plus Facebook wants you to use their cryptocurrency, and CERN launches “The Microsoft Alternatives project”.
  • LINUX UnpluggedResilience Is Futile: Is Resilient Linux truly an indestructible distro? Or is this our toughest distro challenge yet? Plus why openSUSE is looking at a renaming, and if we’d pay for Firefox Premium.
  • Tech SnapUpdate Uncertainty: We explore the risky world of exposed RDP, from the brute force GoldBrute botnet to the dangerously worm-able BlueKeep vulnerability. Plus the importance of automatic updates, and Jim’s new backup box.
We’ll see you in next week’s Weekly Update! Don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel, and make sure to keep your eye on our blog for more updates throughout the week.

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