January 27, 2021 - Words by Gregor Berginc - 6 min read
Are you looking into creating an Ansible integration for your product? The integration will speed up the adoption of your product, attract new users, and ease its use. However, decide on an integration that doesn’t fit your product and it will have no real value for your business.
For example, Sensu - a solution for monitoring workflows, had a perfect fit with Ansible integration. It simplified their product onboarding, which cut back time to initial deployment and made the solution more attractive. Read on to find out which areas and products are best suited for IT automation.
Should you integrate your product with Ansible? Get in touch and let’s discuss the possibilities.
The most popular use cases for Ansible
First things first - if your product is in one of the following categories, it’s already a good sign that Ansible integration might be a good fit. With Ansible automation for the following categories, your users can get rid of daily repetitive tasks, and enjoy the perfect user experience.
Is your product a part of the essential IT infrastructure? Ansible integration brings simplicity with automated provisioning, deployment, management, and orchestration.
For example, with VMware infrastructure, automation with Ansible helps their end customers bring the most out of their infrastructure. One popular example is the scalability of problem-solving - one team member comes up with a solution, automates it with Ansible, and everyone now knows how to deal with the issue.
Another popular use is supporting operating systems. With Ansible Collections, end users can easily manage the installation of software, updates, system configuration, and features. For example, with Ansible integration for Windows, their users can gather facts on Windows hosts, install or uninstall MSI files, manage Windows features, create and manage local users and groups, install Windows updates, and fetch files from remote sites.
Let’s start with a bang - true automation of Network is virtually impossible without Ansible. It’s dependent on vendor-specific tooling, which means that network administrators need training, specific knowledge, and are isolated from the rest of the IT operation. However, with Ansible, there’s a way around those daunting tasks.
For example, Ansible integration with F5 Networks enables easier management of virtual servers, pools, monitors, there’s automated deployment of HTTP and HTTPS applications, and automation of initial configurations on the DNS and NTP.
Another example of a product with Ansible integration is Cisco. Ansible Collection for Cisco Nexus Platform enables automation of infrastructure at scale. From day one, Ansible integration automates device bring up, it pushes network configurations to maintain consistency across the infrastructure, and optimizes network compliance.
Ansible simplifies provisioning and orchestration of complete cloud infrastructure. By creating Ansible Content Collection for your cloud, your customers won’t have to spend time training their teams on how to work with the cloud in their environment.
Automation with Ansible answers several different questions your end-customers might have. Including the control of cloud deployments and their security, migration of existing apps to the cloud, and in the cloud DevOps work.
The most important reason for the integration is that it simplifies migration to the cloud. Without Ansible integration, businesses will continue to manage their cloud as a collection of servers, which diminishes the benefits your cloud provides.
DevOps tools integration
A typical organization using Ansible leverages it for automation across applications and services. This includes development, testing, deployment, and monitoring. If your solution falls short in one of these categories, creating an Ansible Collection will help organizations with managing and deploying the tool faster.
Remember Sensu? Well, their product fits under DevOps tools. We created an Ansible integration for easier deployment, centralized configuration, and streamlining the whole monitoring experience with Ansible.
Before the Ansible integration, Sensu observed a churn in customers because of their challenges during deployment. With Ansible, it’s now easier to onboard Sensu Go, to provision components, maintain and scale configurations, and automate triggering of self-healing workflows when detected errors.
Increasing productivity and efficiency is important. But not nearly as much as security. A security breach may cost legal fines, a bad reputation, and can even drive your business underwater. And one of the greatest threats to security is the lack of a common framework and language to share internal information.
Ansible provides a scalable way to automate the best security practices. Let’s examine Splunk’s Ansible integration to see how this automation works in real life. As stated on the Red Hat website, Ansible modules allow users to integrate Splunk ES in sophisticated security workflows through the automation of managing Splunk Data Inputs (Monitor, TCP, UDP), managing notable event adaptive responses, and retrieving information and managing correlation searches.
Another example is Check Point. They developed Ansible modules for faster application deployment, automation of responses and remediation practices. With their Ansible integration, customers are encouraged to embark on the journey of DevSecOps.
How does your product fit into these categories?
Is it easy to draw parallels between your product and those existing segments? If so, there’s a good chance that it’ll benefit from high-quality Ansible integration. However, an over-a-thumb assessment is not enough, you still need to determine the exact use cases, benefits, and extent of the integration. For example, some areas have common use cases that are easy to define (for example Cloud and Networking), while the others have use cases that need to be approached on an individual basis (DevOps).
Should you develop an Ansible Collection for your product?
As mentioned above, determining many dimensions of Ansible integration is not a simple task. There are several variables you need to consider. Here are the questions - answering “yes” to at least one of them will already make your product a great fit with Ansible.
- Do your competitors have Ansible integration?
- Is deployment of your product a multi-stage process?
- Can users configure your product with a config file or through an API?
- Are your customers already using Ansible?
Market research of existing Ansible content
Start with similar products to yours and your direct competitors. Do they already have an Ansible integration? If yes, the next thing is to check what does it automate, and how well it works. Try to find any online reviews in communities (like Reddit or HackerNews) or listen to what people have to say on IRC. Specifically, search for reasons why people like or dislike the existing content integration.
Product adoption through automation
With the increase of complexity in the IT industry, automation became the preferred method for adopting new technologies. Simplifying day 1 operations is especially important for products that are not entirely trivial to deploy. So, if your product falls into this category, preparing a dedicated Ansible Collection is almost a must.
Providing Ansible integration for your product will improve reliability of the onboarding process, eliminate barriers to adoption, reduce time to value, and help you grow your user base.
Reduce operation and maintenance burden
Because most of the products do not live in isolation, configuration needs to grow and adapt over time. Providing Ansible content for automated operation and configuration of your product will improve its reliability while simultaneously reducing the maintenance costs. And as a welcome side-effect, you will almost certainly see reduced demands on your customer support.
Existing and potential customers are Ansible users
Are your target accounts already using Ansible for IT automation? Then developing integration with Ansible not only improves the user experience, but it also does so with the tools they already use for IT automation. Creating high-quality Ansible content that has potential to get certified and added to Red Hat Ansible Automation Hub, will place your product right in front of the potential customers and show them extra value when they’re deciding between you and your competitors.
Let’s explore what Ansible can do for you
Would you like to discuss the option of creating Ansible integration for your product? Reach out to us, our team of experts will make sure you’ll get the most out of the call.