When considering whether to use free, unsupported community Ansible or the subscription-based, supported enterprise product, Red Hat® Ansible® Automation Platform, it’s important to know the differences between the solutions—and the benefits each offers.
Many organizations start their automation journey with unsupported community Ansible. However, as needs evolve and the organization matures, they often require a supported enterprise solution and move to Ansible Automation Platform.
It's important to consider the benefits of a supported enterprise product if you:
Free, unsupported open source command line tool for automation.
Free, unsupported open source software. A GUI and API tool for wrapping around community Ansible.
Red Hat Ansible
Subscription enterprise product. Combines 20+ community projects into a fully supported automation platform for your enterprise.
Community command-line Ansible can be appropriate for individuals who need automation for individual workloads—or who want to run automation for home labs. For groups who want to collaborate on automation efforts, AWX or Ansible Automation Platform offer additional options.
Most organizations do not use AWX to manage production systems as it is an unsupported, upstream open source project. AWX does not include service-level agreement (SLA) guarantees on security vulnerabilities, independent software vendor (ISV) compatibility, or supported upgrade migrations between versions. And even though AWX is free, organizations should be aware of hidden costs that result from security breaches and time-consuming fixes. However, AWX can be useful for small lab use, for developers who contribute to the upstream code, or as a sandbox for developers to become comfortable with automation controller before moving to Ansible Automation Platform for enterprise use.
When teams want to scale automation objectives at an organizational level, Ansible Automation Platform is a better choice given its support for developer tooling, flexible deployment options across multiple datacenters and cloud and edge locations, and guaranteed SLA support for compatibility, upgrades, and security vulnerabilities. You can also scale automation spend more efficiently and transparently with an enterprise solution. Ansible Automation Platform provides a more comprehensive solution for larger organizations with more complex automation needs.Read more about Ansible vs. Ansible Automation Platform
When your business needs these capabilities, it’s time to consider Ansible Automation Platform.
Trusted chain-of-custody for certified and private content. Security hardened with support, performance testing, bug fixes, and other standardized practices—for a more consistent and less vulnerable enterprise environment.
Expert resources to help you build and run a successful automation practice, backed by robust training offerings and support. Hands-on migration assistance from AWX to Ansible Automation Platform is also available.
Separate upstream project that requires manual integration into your environment
Event-Driven Ansible is an integrated and tested product component of Ansible Automation Platform that reduces manual tasks, delivers more efficient IT operations, and frees your teams to focus on innovation.
Separate upstream project that requires manual integration into your environment
Private automation hub is an integrated and tested product component of Ansible Automation Platform.
A generative AI service for task creation available to all Ansible users
A full commercial version of Ansible Lightspeed with additional features and functionality is in development and will be available for Ansible Automation Platform subscribers.
Forrester Research named Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Infrastructure Automation, Q1, 2023—with the highest score in the strategy category.
What is your team’s main area of focus: automation initiatives or automation infrastructure?
Organizations often try to do more work with the same number of people. Automation is a way to solve this challenge. However, if you’re simultaneously trying to stand-up, test, and manage community infrastructure, your automation objectives may falter. When deciding between community Ansible and Ansible Automation Platform, start by evaluating your team’s ability to effectively manage disparate community tools—and their desire to contribute to and understand open source development models.
In addition, Ansible Automation Platform includes Event-Driven Ansible, which reduces manual efforts by connecting sources of events with corresponding actions via rules. You design rulebooks and Event-Driven Ansible recognizes the specified event, matches it with the appropriate action, and automatically executes it. It helps your teams stay focused on high-value work.
Does your team actively contribute to the Ansible project and understand how to incorporate changes upstream?
If your team wants to get involved with the community and shape the Ansible project or share ideas, visit www.ansible.com/community. You can learn more about becoming a contributor and explore the different personas that make up the vibrant Ansible community. Your input is what helps the community grow, and it is directly incorporated into the product.
Some people use Ansible Automation Platform and also contribute to community projects. They benefit from a fully supported platform while also staying current on the upstream projects.
Does your team consist of developers or IT operators? What is their expertise?
Determining your team’s area of focus is key to choosing the right automation tool—and adopting the tool successfully.
Are you focusing on multi-datacenter automation infrastructure (servers, applications, and network and security infrastructure), managing a cloud platform (public, private, and hybrid clouds), or creating complex automation objectives (such as automating IT operations, tiered deployments, and edge environments)? If yes, Ansible Automation Platform is the best choice for your organization.
Does your team have skills in programming Python and Go, understand development methods for Swagger/OpenAPI, and know how to perform GitHub pull requests? If yes, then you could use and contribute to Ansible’s many community projects, such as AWX.
Your team might want to use the platform while also contributing to community projects. Community contributions are included in product updates, and your continued contributions to upstream projects will impact your experience with the platform.
How do you test patching and upgrades so you don’t impact daily operations?
When considering automation solutions, most customers seek out a platform that will allow for in-place upgrades and the ability to test releases without affecting functionality.
Ansible Automation Platform provides these capabilities and more by including guaranteed upgrades, migration paths, and environments for isolated testing. In contrast, AWX users are responsible for upgrades and maintenance of AWX infrastructure.
Are you retaining the talent needed to execute your automation strategy? And are you prepared if key experts leave your company?
Many organizations using AWX have a limited number of employees—sometimes just a single person—with the skills to manage the software. If this institutional knowledge leaves your organization, it can put your business operations at risk.
With an enterprise solution, you gain support—reducing the risk of all of your automation knowledge being tied to a small team or individual. You also gain the possibility for career growth for your team. Training opportunities help employees boost their skills and gain certifications, furthering their development and career potential. For managers, this incentive can help retain top talent.
Due to complex and time-intensive processes, the community version did not work to our satisfaction. Automation is a critical component of our business operations, and enterprise support was a key reason we decided to use Red Hat’s solution.”
Schwarz Group, the 4th-largest retailer in the world based on revenue, operates more than 12,500 stores in 33 countries under the Lidl and Kaufland brands.See how Schwarz Group and other companies innovate with automation
Consider the proven enterprise solution. Ansible Automation Platform is trusted by more than 3,000 global customers across every industry to create, manage, and scale IT automation. It is a comprehensive, integrated solution that delivers open source innovation, hardened for your enterprise–so you can boost productivity and reduce time-to-completion for new projects.Are you ready to go from patchwork to platform?
Faster time-to-automation capabilities, reduced operational complexity, and lower organizational risk than with do-it-yourself (DIY) automation.
faster time to initial automation capabilities
more automation managed by 44% fewer resources
in additional savings and benefits