Ansible Pilot

Meeting Greg Sutcliffe of Red Hat at Ansible Community Day Berlin 2023

A Glimpse into the Future of Ansible: Insights from Greg Sutcliffe at Ansible Community Day Berlin 2023

September 22, 2023
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At the Ansible Community Day in Berlin 2023, we had the honor of chatting with Greg Sutcliffe, a dedicated member of the Ansible community and one of the Community Architects at Red Hat. Greg is deeply committed to growing and supporting the Ansible community, and our conversation shed light on the exciting developments within the Ansible ecosystem.

Greg Sutcliffe

With his vibrant enthusiasm for the Ansible community, Greg Sutcliffe shared his role as a Community Architect at Red Hat, where he focuses on strengthening and expanding the community. His passion for the Ansible community was palpable as he described how essential it is for community members to unite to make it even better.

The Significance of Community Gatherings

Greg highlighted the rarity of events like Ansible Community Day Berlin, emphasizing the importance of in-person gatherings. While online connections are valuable, a unique bond forms when community members meet face-to-face. These events become crucial for fostering connections and collaboration in a world where people can only travel so much.

Unveiling the New Ansible Forum

One of the significant announcements made during our conversation was the launch of the new Ansible Forum, accessible at This forum serves as a central hub for the Ansible community, bringing together discussions, inquiries, and collaboration in one place. Within just the first week of its launch, over 500 community members had already signed up, highlighting the enthusiasm for this new platform. Greg emphasized the importance of this forum in building connections and fostering discussions. It provides a single place for the community to gather, share insights, and participate in conversations that were previously scattered across various channels. The Ansible Forum is built on open-source tech, Discourse, and is rapidly becoming a standard for open-source communities, ensuring transparency and accessibility.

The Future of Ansible

When asked about his vision for the future of Ansible, Greg expressed his confidence in the continued growth and relevance of Ansible. He emphasized that Ansible’s mission, centered around automation, remains a critical focus. While the mission statement is under review for a potential refresh, the core concept of automation is expected to remain central.

Greg believes that the scope for automation is vast and that Ansible is well-positioned to address a wide range of automation needs. However, to ensure Ansible remains aligned with the evolving requirements of the community, Greg encouraged community members to actively participate, share their use cases, and contribute their insights.

The Interview

Luca Berton: Hi friends, I’m here in the Ansible Community Day Berlin to just meet a lot of people and share some nice stories. I’m here with Greg, so please introduce yourself and share how you contribute to the community. Sure, so

Greg Sutcliffe: yeah, I’m Greg Sutcliffe, and I’m one of the community architects at Red Hat. So I work on the community team, and it’s our job to grow the community and support the community, make it better.

So yeah, that’s that’s the point. That’s what we’re here for, right? That’s why we’re here today. It’s why we’re all gathering together to figure out how we can do that. What can we do to make it better? And I’m really excited to be here actually because we don’t get to do this very often.

Luca Berton: Yeah, I heard that this is one of only three events worldwide.

So the first was in June, in February, the second in Boston in May, and this one in Berlin in September.

Greg Sutcliffe: There’s also FOSDEM as well. We do FOSDEM so we have a stand there. I’ve been to FOSDEM like 10 times, so, uh, I think excitement might not be the right word. But yeah, we, there’s not many, right?

It’s expensive, it’s difficult, people can only travel so many times and so far, and… It’s really, really, really important when you’re building a community to actually get together. You can’t build these bonds so easily online. You can do it, but it’s not as good. It’s nowhere near.

Luca Berton: as good. Yeah, I agree. So we are here in this venue, and I heard that there is a newest Ansible forum that was literally launched a few days ago.

And we are super excited.

Greg Sutcliffe: about this. Right, right. So you picked up on my very subtle hint there. Yeah, building connections isn’t easy on the internet, but it can be done. And one of the ways to do that is, is to have a place to go, right? So we have looked around the Ansible community and come to the conclusion that there are too many things in too many places, and we got 500 GitHub repos.

We got. 20 discussion boards. We’ve got 30 matrix chat rooms. This is great. And I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a bad thing, but it doesn’t give you a single place to go. So, we’ve launched a new forum. That’s forum.ansible. com Very straightforward. Yes, do subscribe. Please come along. Join everybody else.

It’s already going nuts. We’ve had 500 people sign up in the first week. Uh, so this is clearly something the community, uh, want and find valuable.

Luca Berton: The page view is quite remarkable. Oh,

Greg Sutcliffe: it’s, it’s 20,000. It’s, yeah, we’ve written. Um, yeah, probably about that. It’s um, it’s built on open-source tech.

It’s it’s discourse. You may well have come across discourse in other communities. It’s rapidly becoming the standard for open-source communities to build their form around discourse. And we’re no exception to that. It’s already there for Python. It’s already there for Fedora. It’s already there for Kubernetes.

It’s already there for Mozilla. So, you know, we’re just joining the crowd. But that gives us a lot of ability to connect with people better, to understand people better, to Get the discussion going in a single place to surface all of that activity that goes on in the community, but it’s so often beneath the surface that you often can’t see a lot of what’s going on unless you really dig into some of the GitHub repos.

And that isn’t great. How many of you have actually gone to a community and gone up? This is kind of dead, and actually, that might not be true, but you’re not seeing it, right? And so we want to do a better job of that. So come and join us, come and have your say, and introduce yourself. There’s an introductions thread, so you could post there and let us know how you use Ansible. Let us know what you do, and how we can make it better for you because that’s our job.

Luca Berton: That is great, so you’re connecting a lot of concepts, like people, a community, and also code, and so you have a very insightful, uh, How do you see the future of Ansible?

Greg Sutcliffe: Ansible is not going anywhere, I don’t think. Um, when I think about its mission, uh, which is automating things, in fact, actually, we have a topic on the forum talking about the mission statement because it hasn’t been updated in a while.

And we think that might be a time for a refresh as well. But certainly, the core of that mission, the word automation, isn’t going anywhere. It’s not going to. Decrease anytime soon. When I look at the list of things that could be automated, when I look at the questions that people are still asking, when I look at the ways in which we’re using it, that’s not going away.

So we need to make sure that Ansible, as a community, adapts to that and is solving the right problems. And we only get to do that if you come and tell us how you’re using it or what you want to use it for, right? And so again, for me, it’s all about how do we focus on communication, how do we… How do we rebuild some of what we lost during the pandemic?

Right? We couldn’t do any events for four years. That’s really painful in the community. And I want to get some of that back. So come and tell us.

Luca Berton: So guys, since that we have a mission, stay connected and share more about the community. Thank you, Greg. That was great. I can’t wait to share this fun with you again. Thank you, let’s automate more!

Conclusion: Embracing Change and Community

Greg Sutcliffe’s insights at Ansible Community Day Berlin provided a glimpse into the future of Ansible and the vital role of community engagement. The launch of the new Ansible forum signifies a commitment to strengthening connections within the community, facilitating discussions, and ensuring the continued success of Ansible. As Ansible continues to evolve and adapt to meet new automation challenges, Greg’s message to the community is clear: Your input matters. By actively participating and sharing how you use Ansible and what you envision for its future, you play a crucial role in shaping the direction of Ansible. In the spirit of automation, collaboration, and community, let’s embrace the changes ahead and look forward to a future where Ansible continues to empower automation enthusiasts worldwide.

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