June 2, 2022

What we learned about IT automation at Red Hat Summit 2022

WORDS BY   Lucija Korbar, Jasna Simončič


How often do you get the chance to hear firsthand from the people behind the code? Red Hat Summit, the premier open source technology event, brings a valuable opportunity to listen to open source leaders and the community, hear the latest news and announcements, and learn more about IT automation and Ansible.

Whether you are just learning about automation or want to catch up on the latest Ansible trends, everyone can find something at the Summit. The event took place on May 10 and 11, but don’t worry if you missed it – most of the sessions are still available on-demand, so you can watch them whenever you want (while we all impatiently wait for AnsibleFest, where all IT automation enthusiasts really get our kicks off). We have prepared a brief summary of our favourites, so keep reading.

First of all: how to start?

Are you ready to start automating, but you don’t know where to start? Dive into this session, a primer and one of the best resources for incorporating automation into your IT environment. In just 30 minutes, Andrius Benokraitis and Courtney Cydylo will take you through the initial steps on your automation journey.

You’ll learn how to build an automation strategy, what are the best practices for successful automation transformation and what to look for in an IT automation solution. You’ll see how to get started with automation and the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform using various resources Red Hat offers to help you out.

What’s the deal with Ansible Collections?

Do you often hear about Ansible Collections but are still not sure what they’re all about? Massimo Ferrari will show you what they are and how certified Ansible Collections help you simplify, trust, and accelerate your automation.

You’ll learn more about what Ansible Content is and how it’s delivered to users (spoiler no. 1: through certified Ansible Collections), and also the most popular areas where automation is applied (spoiler no. 2: data center automation, cloud automation, network automation, security).

And he also gives a sneak peek of what’s to come, including the upcoming release of the SAP HANA collection that we are working on with Red Hat (spoiler no. 3: it will support the entire SAP HANA lifecycle, from migration, configuration, deployment, and Day-2 operations).

What’s happening with Ansible Automation Platform and what comes next?

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform 2 has been around for a while now, but it seems that many users have not yet noticed or managed to tackle the transition from the previous version. However, if you are still using Ansible Automation Platform 1.2, it’s time to start planning and working on your upgrade (end of life for version 1. 2 is planned for September 2023, in case you didn’t know 😉).

We know that migration can be challenging, but you shouldn’t hesitate to get started since AAP 2 brings a lot of advantages: an updated architecture designed for operations across modern cloud environments, new components and tools such as automation mesh and automation execution environments, that provide a better and more consistent automation experience for users, support for DevOps automation workflows, and performance improvements over the previous version.

And not just that: Ansible Automation Platform 2 has just been majorly enhanced with a new release. The latest version 2.2 focuses mainly on an enhanced automation user experience based on direct customer feedback and brings several new features (many of them in Technology preview), including mesh UI visualization, self-hosted on prem automation service catalog, operator for OpenShift, updated developer tooling such as ansible-lint and automation content signing.

Interested to know more and hear what’s coming next? Richard Henshall and Matthew Jones will walk you through the Ansible Automation Platform roadmap - from the evolution of AAP 2, an overview of latest version 2.2 to the future plans and Ansible in the cloud.

What are execution environments?

Among other upgrades, Ansible Automation Platform 2 brought a change to the development workflow by introducing Execution environments to simplify working on your Ansible automation content with different people and environments in your business.

In the past, when writing Ansible Playbooks, you downloaded the needed collection to your computer, created your playbook, and used the ansible-playbook command to run and test it. But when someone on your team wanted to use your playbook and extend it, their playbook runs failed because they didn’t know what collection was needed and didn’t install it on their machine.

Now, after downloading the needed collection, and before writing your playbook, you build the execution environment (using ansible-builder) and test the playbook using ansible-navigator. So, when your colleagues want to use your playbook, they know that they need to download the execution environment and then use ansible-navigator to run the playbooks and modify them in the correct execution environment.

Don’t miss this session where Eric Lavarde, Götz Rieger, and Christian Jung give you a concrete walkthrough of this new way of developing Ansible Playbooks, using the new ansible-navigator and ansible-builder tools, and using your playbooks in Automation Controller.

Put it into practice!

If you have watched all of these sessions (and you should), you have gotten tons of useful information that can help you either start your automation journey or take it to an even higher level. And remember, if you get stuck, Red Hat or partners like us are here there to help you with consulting and support. Don’t hesitate to reach out!