Steampunk Spotter

Flexible Ansible Playbook scanning with Steampunk Spotter

October 16, 2023 - Words by  The Spotter team - 4 min read

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In the ever-evolving landscape of automation, the need for a versatile and adaptable tool is becoming increasingly vital. Enter Steampunk Spotter, the dynamic solution that empowers you to scan your Ansible content precisely and flexibly. Spotter is an Ansible Playbook Scanning platform that offers valuable insights into your playbooks to help you optimize and maximize your automation.

Let’s delve into the myriad of benefits Spotter brings for Ansible Playbook developers, quality assurance teams, operations teams, and security teams.

Tailored scanning for your Ansible Playbooks

The core functionality of flexible scanning revolves around the ability to scan Ansible content and cater the output to your specific requirements. Whether you’re dealing with Spotter CLI, the Spotter VS Code extension, GitLab, or GitHub Actions integrations, Spotter ensures that your automation processes align with your needs.

Imagine you have a playbook filled with tasks. Spotter’s scan command effortlessly dissects your content, providing valuable insights.

With Spotter, you gain:

  • Peace of mind: Detect errors, warnings, and hints in your playbooks, enabling you to take proactive steps for smoother automation.

  • Increased confidence: Spotter helps you pinpoint potential issues, allowing you to resolve them with precision, ultimately enhancing your automation’s reliability.

Display results at your preferred level

Spotter’s flexibility doesn’t stop at scanning; it extends to how you view results. You have the power to choose the level of detail that suits your objectives:

  • Error focus: If your goal is to tackle critical issues, use the display level option to filter results and concentrate solely on errors.
  • Comprehensive view: Alternatively, opt for a broader perspective by selecting “warning” to encompass errors and warnings.

Streamlined scanning

Spotter’s scan includes documentation URLs to help you understand and address issues better. However, sometimes, you may not need this additional information. In such cases, you can streamline your scan results and leave the documentation out. You receive only the essential check results without the links.

Enhance your playbook scanning with Scan Profiles

Spotter includes scan profiles, an invaluable feature for optimizing your playbooks:

  • Default Profile: Ideal for daily testing and playbook improvement, this profile includes best practices, validation, and basic security checks. This includes checks for the use of FQCN, module redirections, deprecation warnings, requirements collection version mismatches, best practice hints, and a lot more.
  • Full Profile: This profile covers a comprehensive range of checks, including security-related ones. It is convenient regarding Ansible upgrades; it helps you update your Ansible Playbook to work at a newer version. For example, you can see the default parameter value changes between module versions or check relevant for migration to the Ansible Automation Platform and execution environments.
  • Security Profile: When security is paramount, this profile focuses on identifying potential vulnerabilities when focusing only on secure execution.

Curious about the details? Read more about Spotter profiles here. Or check out the demo here.

Fine-tune your results: Skipping and Enforcing checks

Tailoring Spotter to your needs is easy, with refinements only executing checks that fit your use case. This empowers organizations to control check execution by providing a centralized approach to managing Ansible Playbook checks, determining which to skip and which to enforce across your automation workflows.  

  • Organization Level: Administrators can configure checks on the organization level using JSON or YAML files. Customize which checks to skip and enforce across the organization to ensure consistent standards.

  • Scan Level: Handy for solo projects, configure check refinements with a simple YAML file in your project, enabling you to ignore irrelevant checks.

  • Task Level: When working within playbooks, you can skip checks using YAML comments, allowing for a granular level of customization.

Spotter’s check refinements give you complete control over the checks that matter most to your organization and projects.

Interested in more? Check out our blog on Skipping and Enforcing checks here. You can also check out the demo here.

Custom Policies by Spotter: Shaping automation your way

Spotter’s Custom Policies put you in control by enabling the creation of custom Spotter checks. Whether it is aligning with your specific internal policies and regulatory standards or adhering to the Center for Internet Security (CIS), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Spotter’s flexibility knows no bounds.

Craft policies effortlessly, defining allowed modules, naming conventions, and value restrictions on various entities. Spotter supports Open Policy Agent (OPA) policies, written in the rule-based language Rego, to scrutinize Ansible tasks and playbooks, ensuring they meet your conditions.

Importing policies is a breeze, with a wealth of pre-written policies at your disposal. Spotter’s Custom Rules aren’t just a feature; they’re your key to automation that’s precise, secure, and uniquely tailored to your needs.

Want to know more about Custom Policies? Read our blog, or watch the demo to find out more.

Interested in Spotter, but don’t know how to start? Explore our Getting started guide.

Unlocking automation potential: The Spotter Advantage

Spotter is the ultimate companion for modernizing your approach to automation. With its flexibility, you can confidently adapt your Ansible content to meet your needs without compromising compliance or security. Embrace the future of automation with Spotter.

Experience the power of Spotter firsthand and try Spotter out. Elevate your automation game and unlock a world of possibilities with Spotter by your side.