Introducing Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform

September 24, 2019 by Richard Henshall

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We are excited to introduce Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, a new offering that combines the simple and powerful Ansible solutions with new capabilities for cross-team collaboration, governance and analytics, resulting in a platform for building and operating automation at scale. 

Over the past several years, we’ve listened closely to the community, customers and partners and their needs. We’ve also looked carefully at how the market is changing and where we see automation headed. One of the most common requests we’ve heard from customers is the need to bring together separate teams using automation. Today’s organizations are often automating different areas of their business (such as on-premises IT vs. cloud services vs. networks) each with their own set of Ansible Playbooks and little collaboration between the different domains. While this may still get the task accomplished, it can be a barrier to realizing the full value of automation. 

 

We’ve also found that even within a single organization, teams are often at different stages of automation maturity. Organizations are often recreating the wheel - automating processes that have already been done.

 

Organizations need a solution they can use across teams and domains, and a solution they can grow with as they progress on their automation journey. This is why we saw a need for Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. It’s a single automation solution designed to bring teams together, allow organizations to scale, and exponentially increase the value of automation. 

 

Smarter, Scalable, More Shareable Automation

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform brings together Red Hat Ansible Engine, Red Hat Ansible Tower and Red Hat Ansible Network Automation along with new capabilities including Certified Content Collections, Automation Hub, Automation Analytics, and more, all in a single subscription.

 

We combined support for our current product offerings and add-ons for a simplified, streamlined adoption process for our customers. Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform provides features to accelerate the time to realizing business value with automation. The new capabilities, including Ansible Content Collections, Automation Hub and Automation Analytics, help to drive a more consistent automation user experience and fuel better collaboration to solve more IT challenges.

 

The depth and breadth of content available for automation with Ansible can be a significant driver of success. That content comes from our vibrant community, customers, Red Hat, and from our partners, all helping to support and strengthen the Ansible community. However, as Ansible becomes more mature and used by more enterprise customers, the lifecycle of Ansible requires slowing down for stability. Even until fairly recently, we would cut a major release of Ansible every four months, but our most recent release cycle was eight months -- and that slower release cycle will now become the rule going forward. This means that it will take longer for new content to reach users. It also is especially constraining for our partners as they would only be able to update their modules and plug-ins on our schedule. This is why we knew we needed to make a change.

 

Ansible Content Collections is a new packaging format for managing and consuming Ansible Content. It provides quick benefits by lowering barriers to automation. Collections organizes Ansible content including, modules, plugins, roles, documentation and playbooks, making it easier for customers and contributors to distribute, share and consume content independent of Ansible release cycles. 

 

Ansible Content Collections also helps with user efficiency. It provides access to already packaged and certified Ansible content, making it easier for content creators to build focused, defined packages of content and for users to consume those fully formed solutions. Additionally, supported, pre-composed partner content will be made available via Collections, helping users to more quickly and easily get started with automation. 

 

We also are introducing Automation Hub. Automation Hub is a repository for users to discover certified, supported Ansible Content Collections. Often, we see our customers pulling content from the community, which may or may not comply with their internal standards. Using unsupported content may initially speed up a specific project, but for some this is not always an acceptable risk. Automation Hub provides a one-stop-shop for Ansible content that is backed by support from Red Hat and its partners to deliver additional reassurance for the most demanding environments. 

 

To provide users more insight around the health and performance of their automation, we are launching Automation Analytics. Accelerating automation across an organization requires powerful analytics. Automation Analytics provides customers with enhanced knowledge and detail around their automation initiatives, including statistics and data around modules and resources that are used most often, the health of automation and how an automation environment is performing. In the future, we plan to continue to add to these capabilities to provide organization an even more in-depth look at their automation across all domains.

 

Enabling an Automation Center of Excellence

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is more than just the Ansible products you know today. To do automation at scale, users need more than features, they need a breadth of capabilities that maintain the same ethos around simplicity and power that Ansible was built on. With the Platform, users have a common automation language that creates a standardized experience for solving problems, scaling and managing automation policies and governance -- which is why we believe that Forrester named Red Hat Ansible Automation a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Infrastructure Automation Platforms, Q3 2019.

 

We are excited for the Platform to be generally available and to see how our customers make use of the new capabilities to automate across their enterprise. Scheduled to be available in early November, customers with a current Red Hat Ansible Tower or Red Hat Ansible Engine subscription can upgrade to the latest versions of the product for access to Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. The features will be available to customers through cloud.redhat.com, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based portal.



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Richard Henshall

Richard Henshall, Red Hat Ansible Automation Lead for EMEA, recently joined the Red Hat Ansible team from HSBC. At HSBC, he was a Distinguished Engineer and Chief Architect for Cloud. Richard brings over 16 years of experience in middleware and infrastructure while driving technology change within I.T. organizations with a focus on DevOps.


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