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1h 17m

Getting Started With Ansible

Cloud platforms, on-prem servers, dozens of operating systems, more language and frameworks than you can count, and you have to manage it all!

These days even the "simple" application infrastructures have a lot of moving parts. Managing all of this stuff effectively takes some effort, and configuration management tools such as Ansible can help.

Ansible is an automation engine that can help with provisioning infrastructure, configuring operating systems, deploying applications, and much more.

The goal of this course is to teach you how to get started using Ansible for automation. By then end of this course you should be able to create playbooks to automate basic tasks. You won't know everything there is to know about Ansible, however you'll know enough of the basics to start using Ansible. You'll understand how Ansible manages inventory, how to create simple modules, how to create playbooks, how to deal with errors and more.

Understanding a tool such as Ansible has a lot of value to developers and operations engineers. Especially since it's agentless, because that means you can start managing hosts without needing to install an agent on them first. Well, assuming Python is installed. Developers can use Ansible to automate the creation of development environments that mirror production. And operations can use the same playbooks to automate the creation of staging and production environments. This level of consistency between environments tends to reduce bugs; especially those caused from environmental differences.

One of the features of Ansible that makes it so appealing is that it allows you to create modules with whatever language you want. Another appealing feature is the YAML based playbooks. The reason this is so appealing is that YAML tends to be a very simple format for expressing tasks. And that makes it easier to get started using it.

What You'll Learn

Lecture What you'll learn
Intro What will be covered in this course
What is Ansible? An introduction to Ansible
Concepts An overview of the Ansible concepts
Installation How to install Ansible
Inventory How Ansible knows which servers to manage
Windows How Ansible connects to Windows servers
Modules What modules are and how to create one
Playbook What playbooks are and how to create them
Handlers, Facts, Variables, and Templates Handlers, Facts, Variables, and Templates
Roles How to bundle functionality in a role
Errors and Debugging How to deal with errors and how to use the debug module
Next Steps How to keep learning

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Welcome back. In this lesson, I'll talk about helpful next steps for continuing your Ansible learning.

Throughout the course, I've covered some of the basics of Ansible to get you started creating playbooks. Ansible is a great tool to know and this course was designed to help you get started. However, you're not going to learn everything from just one course. So, what's next? The best way to learn Ansible is to start creating playbooks and start using these different modules.

I also recommend reading playbooks that other people have created. Ansible has a repo of example playbooks. I recommend reading through them and if you see something that you're not sure of, look it up in your favorite search engine. Look up any new settings, look up any new modules, and if you see any unfamiliar syntax, look that up too.

When you read the code that other people have created, compare it to how you might have solved that same problem and consider the pros and cons of each approach. I find that useful to better understand why things were built the way they were.

I also recommend that you read through the Ansible documentation. It's gonna help to fill in any gaps as well as to solidify any concepts that you've learned so far.

Okay, that's gonna wrap up this course. I hope it's helped you to get a better feel for the basics of Ansible. If you have any questions, you can ask them on the community forums and myself and the other instructors will be happy to help. Thank you for watching and good luck with your configuration management.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Ben Lambert is a software engineer and was previously the lead author for DevOps and Microsoft Azure training content at Cloud Academy. His courses and learning paths covered Cloud Ecosystem technologies such as DC/OS, configuration management tools, and containers. As a software engineer, Ben’s experience includes building highly available web and mobile apps. When he’s not building software, he’s hiking, camping, or creating video games.