Ansible Pilot

Ansible News - Ansible project zeitgeist 2022 and forecast for 2023

A time travel on the 2022 main event for the Ansible project made me create some predictions for 2023 for the Ansible Automation technology.

January 9, 2023
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Hello everybody. Welcome to Ansible Pilot from Luca Berton. This is the first video of the year, so it’s pretty special.

I would like to touch base with you about the status of the Ansible project, a zeitgeist of the year 2022, and what to expect for the upcoming 2023.

The year 2022 was a very interesting year transitioning from a pandemic to being free from restriction worldwide thanks to vaccination campaigns. The economy reached a rebound bus some unforeseen circumstances, the war in Ukraine, and consequently, the rise of inflation and utility costs slowed down. Many IT enterprises, especially the FANG, the four prominent American technology companies (Meta - formerly Facebook - Amazon, Netflix, and Alphabet/Google), put on hold the hiring processes or started some layoffs. The year 2023 begins with persistently high inflation pushed by high energy prices, a looming recession, leading central banks with high-interest rates, and a general risk-averse environment for businesses. This is the economic outlook that all organizations worldwide navigate nowadays. We all need to optimize our resources in order to be more productive. Every IT department faces the challenge of operating more services in less time. Automation is booming. Ansible is becoming prominent in the IT industry, so many job descriptions require the Ansible skill.

We can see clearly on the Red Hat website homepage that Ansible is becoming the third prominent product of the company besides Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. Ansible competitors were historically technologies like Progress Chef and Puppet Enterprise. Nowadays, Ansible sometimes joins forces or competes with other technologies such as HashiCorp Terraform, AWS CloudFormation, Microsoft System Center, JetBrains TeamCity, VMware Aria Automation, Salt Open Source, and Octopus Deploy. The primary strength of Ansible is the plugin platform. The Ansible plugin allows us to add more modules and functionalities packed in a standard format called collections. At the moment, 107 Ansible collections expand the basic functionality provided by the “ansible.builtin” namespace shipped with Ansible Core. The additional collections allow us to connect to the primary cloud providers, databases, network devices, storage, log systems, and community contents. Ansible open source in 2022 and 2023 continues to be delivered in two packages: Core and Community. The Community is a superseded version of Core with some selected additional collections from the whole list. The first release of 2022 of Ansible Core version 2.11.8 rc1 was on 24th January 2022, while the 2.12 was already released on 8th November 2021, and the latest was 2.14.1 on 6th December 2022, following the common release lifecycle. The Ansible Engineering team deploys a pre-release nearly one week before any minor or patch release, as it was in 2021. Significant events were the release of Ansible Core 2.13 and Ansible Core 2.14. Ansible Core 2.13 was released on 16h May 2022, preceded by two betas and one release candidate. Ansible Core 2.14 was released on 31st October 2022, preceded by three betas and two pre-releases. It’s good that the developer team shared more pre-release versions so we can test our code in advance for changes. The newest “ansible-sign” command line tool was introduced for project signature and verification, which adds the ability to GPG sign the SHA256 checksum for our projects. The previous command line tools were “ansible-builder”, “ansible-runner”, and “ansible-navigator” to simplify the transition to Ansible Execution Environment from Python Virtual Environment.

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The open-source Ansible AWX project, the Web UI for Ansible, anticipates some features of the Ansible Controller in the Ansible Automation Platform. The AWX Operator is the preferred way to deploy in a Kubernetes cluster. The latest release is 1.1.3, with AWX version 21.10.2 on December 21st, 2022. The User interface adopted the common Patternfly with the look and feel of many Red Hat products. Ansible Receptor is a push forward from the traditional jump host models used to connect to some bastion host in a network environment.

The May and November release lifecycle is established for the Red Hat Enterprise contents of the Ansible Automation Platform. The container pattern was introduced with the major release 2.0. The latest minor versions were refined and did a push forward for the enterprise users. The major features of the latest release of the Ansible Automation Platform on the 29th of November 2022 were the ability to Validate project signatures in Ansible Controller, Ansible-validated content in Automation Hub, and a preview of Event-Driven Ansible capabilities via Rulebook. The previous release was Ansible Automation Platform version 2.2 on the 26th of May 2022 with Automation topology viewer backed by the Ansible Mesh technology (similar to Ansible Receptor), the inclusion of the Ansible linter tool to validate our contents, Automation Services Catalog, and the support of Red Hat Enterprise Linux released on 17th of May 2022. It was a great accomplishment for the release team to be able to release Ansible certified with RHEL 9 just one 9 days after the official general availability date. Ansible Automation Platform confirmed the enterprise focus and delivered more than ever features and resources for the organization of tomorrow.

The event side was also vibrant because Red Hat was able to plan some in-person meetings after two years of the pandemic: the Red Hat Summit on the 10th and 11th of May 2022 and the Ansible Fest 2022 on the 18th and 19th of October 2022 on Chicago, Illinois.

Red Hat Summit is a comprehensive event of all the Red Hat portfolio, whereas the Ansible Fest is focused on the Ansible product. The biggest announcement in the Ansible Fest was the partnership between Ansible and Amazon Web Services, Automation at the Edge, Event-Driven Ansible, Project Wisdom, Ansible Automation Platform 2, and an update about the Community. All the sessions are available on demand for one year.

The Ansible Community is the real strength of the project. It is as vibrant as ever. It expresses itself in 32 chat rooms, with 4200+ members and nearly 80k messages sent in the past 6 months. The Matrix technology boosted and bridged the previous IRC chat systems.

I look forward to a great and vibrant 2023 for the Ansible project.

Recap

We review the year 2022 with many significant events in the open source and the enterprise side; the need for automation and a vibrant community predicts the magnificent year 2023.

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