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Ansible 2.2 Delivers New Automation Capabilities for Containers, Networks and Cloud Services

Red Hat announced the general availability of Ansible 2.2, the latest version of the leading simple, powerful, and agentless open source IT automation framework. Ansible 2.2 brings performance enhancements, expanded container and Windows automation capabilities, and several new modules, including those for networking, cloud provider platforms, and expanded vault support.

The upstream Ansible project is one of the most popular open source automation projects on GitHub with an active and highly engaged community. A wide range of organizations, including Fortune 100 companies, use Ansible automation to power large and complex private cloud environments. Ansible enables developers and IT operations teams to more easily and quickly deploy IT applications and environments, empowering them to remove barriers between IT teams by automating routine activities such as network configuration, cloud deployments, and creation of development environments.

Ansible 2.2 continues the upstream momentum for Ansible, introducing several new features, including:

Containers
New docker_network functionality enables users to manage docker machine environments and automate their network layers simultaneously. Combined with the ansible-container project, users can now control more aspects of their container development and deployment pipelines, including how containers communicate over a network.


Networking
Ansible has experienced growth in its networking modules as more users make network automation a priority. Since the Ansible 2.1 release in May 2016, Ansible’s supported networking platforms grew from ten to 20, and total network module count has more than doubled. These network modules now make up more than 20 percent of the modules available in Ansible, and and include numerous contributions by both the Ansible community and networking partners.

Ansible 2.2 expands this networking support with:

Additional network device support for several vendors, including Cisco (ASA); Dell; F5 Networks; Nokia SR-OS;Pluribus Networks (Open Netvisor) and VyOS.

Expanded and enhanced Cisco NX-OS support provides modules designed to make it easier for customers to operationalize Virtual Extensible LAN (VxLAN) programmable datacenter fabrics through automation.
Cloud Services

Ansible 2.2 brings performance enhancements for cloud services, spanning the Microsoft Azure platform, and VMware cloud infrastructures. New functionality for cloud providers has been added, including: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform and OpenStack providers. Finally, new capabilities for VMware and Amazon Web Services have been added. Ansible 2.2 features new VMware virtual machine management modules and supports new AWS capabilities, including Amazon Elastic File System (EFS), Amazon Redshift and AWS Lambda.

Other enhancements are included in the Ansible 2.2 release. Ansible Roles, the self-contained, portable and reusable Ansible Playbook format, have been updated to allow for more user flexibility. Future Ansible development roadmaps are available in the Ansible community GitHub project, and are now open for comment.

Tim Cramer, engineering director, Ansible, Red Hat said, “We are excited to see the results of the investments in our Ansible Core engineering team, as well as continued community momentum in our module development. Networking growth in Ansible has been exciting, covering more than twenty percent of all our modules. We are pleased to see continued momentum and commitment to building open source automation solutions for a wide variety of customers.”

Mary Johnston Turner, Research vice president, Enterprise System Management Software, IDC, said, “As enterprises seek to leverage open source-based management and automation solutions, this newest release of Ansible provides the updates and Docker functionality that development teams can use to incorporate multiple cloud platform capabilities and diversify their workloads. The networking module growth also shows Ansible’s commitment to bringing new network functionality in automation to users.”

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