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A more enterprise-level version of Ansible is Ansible Tower. It is a web-based management tool with an intuitive user interface that gives you a dashboard with all the host state summaries. It permits speedy deployments while keeping and maintaining all configurations.
The tower logs every job manages inventories graphically and syncs them with a wide range of cloud providers. It also enables us to share SSH passwords without disclosing them.
Prerequisites to Install Ansible Tower
Installing the Ansible Tower requires the following prerequisites, for example:
- Supported Operating Systems
* RedHat Enterprise Linux 8
* Centos Linux 8 (Soon this will deprecate)
- Install stable release of Ansible (ansible 2.9)
- Minimum 4 GB free RAM required
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Challenges in Ansible
- SPOF (Single point of failure), as an ansible controller installed in one of the systems.
- Inventory format is text, it contains a lot of information like hostname, username, password|key|token. Keeping the password in a readable format is a big security challenge.
Why Ansible Tower?
Ansible tower is a platform that does a lot of management for us. Ex. Managing the inventory file. To store passwords, keys, and tokens provide separate credentials options where data remain in an encrypted format.
It also provides RBAC (role-based access control). It can also integrate with APM tools like AppDynamics, and Dynatrace (Red hat partner) to solve problems automatically. Remediation.
Steps to Deploy Ansible Tower on Centos 8
Step 1 – Launching Centos 8 VM on GCP.
Step 2 – The instance is launched and now we connect with the terminal.
Step 3 – Download the Ansible Tower tar file & untar the file
Index of /ansible-tower/setup – here, all the versions of ansible tower are available. I’ll be using the latest version.
tar -xvf ansible-tower-setup-latest.tar.gz
Step 4 – Install Ansible into the system
sudo yum install ansible
Check the ansible version: ansible –version
Step 5 – Configure the inventory file
Step 6 – Run the setup to configure ansible-tower
Step 7 – Copy the public IP and paste it into the browser
< This has been configured in the inventory file in step no.5 >
Step 8 – Request a Subscription. Ansible-tower is not a free product hence we required a subscription.
Select ‘I agree’ and then continue.
Step 9 – Welcome to Ansible Tower Dashboard
Steps to Deploy Suse-Rancher Using Ansible Tower
Step 1: Create Project for managing the playbook.
Step 2: Create Inventory to manage everything related to inventory
Step 3: Create Source that is part of the inventory. This helps us to manage the host’s file.
Step 4: Create Template that helps us to integrate all the above steps.
Using GitHub for playbook code and inventory management
This code helps you to launch the rancher on the target node as the rancher required Kubernetes (K3s distribution) and Kubernetes requires a container engine. Hence first we install docker and then suse rancher.
For more information follow the documentation of the official website – Getting Started with Kubernetes | Rancher Quick Start
- hosts: suse_rancher
- name: "Install Docker"
- name: "Start and Enable Docker Service"
- name: "install pip3"
- name: "docker library install"
- name: "setup suse rancher"
The host file contains information related to the target system like IP address, ansible_user, etc. Password, key, or token we can store on the credentials in ansible tower.
Playbook Execution Screenshot
Let’s check rancher – open the browser copy paste the public IP
The target system OS is openSUSE
Successfully deployed suse rancher using ansible tower
Ansible tower is a web UI based configuration tool. Provides all the facilities the same as ansible but in UI based on some extra features like Create Organization, Project, etc. This helps us to customize or manage the project easily. Features like a trigger and the pipeline are also included in Ansible Tower.
Ansible tower is helping us to do a lot of management related to the projects. As well as overcomes the challenges we normally face in an ansible controller or engine like SPOF.
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Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Ansible Tower and I will get back to you quickly.
1. Is Ansible Tower Free?
ANS: – Ansible Tower is free for usage for up to 10 nodes. More than this requires a paid license.
2. Is there any open source for Ansible Tower?
ANS: – AWX is an open-source web application with a user interface and its open-source version of the Ansible Tower.
3. What all Services are included in Ansible Tower?
- Graphical inventory
- Graphical Dashboard
- Remote command execution
- Job Scheduling
- Job history report
4. Is there any Global Certification in Ansible Tower to showcase my skills?
ANS: – Yes, there is an official Red Hat training and Certification i.e., Advanced Automation: Red Hat Ansible Best Practices (DO447 and EX447).
WRITTEN BY Vineet Negi
Vineet Negi is a Research Associate at CloudThat. He is part of the Kubernetes vertical and has worked on DevOps and many other Cloud Computing technologies. He is an enthusiastic individual who is passionate about exploring all the latest technologies from a learning perspective.